Italian Spaghetti Salad is made with spaghetti, fresh summer veggies, salami and tossed in a homemade zesty Italian dressing. This is a summer potluck must!
I have this California Spaghetti Salad on the the blog that is my most popular summer recipe. It is a must to take to a potluck and it is the first thing that I can’t wait to dive into. Something about the spaghetti and fresh summer veggies tossed in a zesty dressing is awesome.
Italian Spaghetti Salad
Summer is coming quick, and I am not to sure how I feel about it. Even though I am ready for the warm air and sunshine, there are so many things I will miss about the cooler weather. Like coming inside to warm soups and chili. However, I am looking forward to swimming at the pool almost every day and summer BBQ’s and potlucks!
I get comments all of the time wondering if this can be made with a homemade italian dressing. So, today I present to you the delicious Italian Spaghetti Salad with homemade dressing. I absolutely love all of the fresh summer veggies in this salad and the vibrant color that it adds. I added some salami to this salad and it was such a delicious addition! If you haven’t made this salad yet, you need to! It is perfect for any gathering and sure to be a huge hit!
Spaghetti Salad Ingredients:
The California Spaghetti Salad is perfect for throwing together in no time at all and using a store bought dressing. But if you have a few extra minutes to make this homemade dressing, it is amazing!
- Spaghetti: Use thin linguine and break into 1-inch pieces to make it easier to eat.
- Cherry tomatoes: Chopped in half to be bite sized.
- Zucchinis: Diced a medium sized zucchini. Try to make everything into similar sized pieces for consistency.
- Cucumber: I love the fresh taste the cucumber brings to this spaghetti salad.
- Red and Green bell pepper: The red peppers are ripe and sweet, while their companion the green peppers are less ripe so they are slightly bitter. Together they are the perfect balance.
- Red onion: The red onion adds color and great onion flavor!
- Sliced ripe olives: Smooth, savory flavor.
- Italian salami: This meat has great seasoning that adds texture and flavor.
Homemade Italian Dressing Ingredients:
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive or OR neutral vegetable oil, such as sunflower or safflower work best.
- Red wine vinegar: White wine vinegar also works well or a combination of the two.
- Italian Seasoning: Use a pre-made packet or make your own by adding in basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
- Sugar: The sugar adds just a slight hit of sweetness to add balance.
- Parmesan cheese: Fruity and nutty taste that is heaven drizzled in the dressing!
- Sesame seeds: Just the nutty taste and crunch this dressing needs.
- Paprika: Paprika adds great color an a very mild chili pepper spice.
- Celery seed: Warm, slightly bitter flavor similar to celery.
- Garlic powder: Garlic makes everything better!
- Salt and pepper: To taste!
How to Make Cold Italian Spaghetti Salad:
- Cook the pasta: Follow package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Combine ingredients in large bowl: In a large bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and red bell pepper, red onions, olives, and salami.
- To make the dressing: Whisk together in a medium sized bowl olive oil, red wine vinegar, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle and toss over the salad. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
- Salt the water! The key to good pasta is to cook it in water that has been heavily seasoned with salt. That’s where the flavor starts.
- Make the dressing in a jar: Using a jar to make salad dressing cuts down on dishes and time.
- Double the recipe. Just because you are eating at home on a regular basis in the summer, doesn’t mean you need to cook every night! The extra is ready to be stored for use on another delicious recipe when you are done using it. (especially if you made it in a jar! wink)
- Protein: If you’re having a hard time finding mini pepperoni, you can always use the larger pieces and simply chop in half. Or use salami or chunks of chicken instead.
- Variations: If you’re feeling like switching things up even more, feel free to use green, yellow or orange bell peppers or add marinated artichoke hearts to the mix. This is one of those cold pasta salads that totally works with what you have on hand. Or for pleasing those picky little eaters.
Storing Cold Salad:
- Can you make this ahead of time? Yes! In fact the flavors get even better as they sit. In fact, I love to make a batch of this for my weeks worth of lunches.
- Refrigerating: Pasta salad with the dressing on it can be stored for later with no problems. Put it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days, but I highly recommend that you do not freeze this salad
More Pasta Salad Ideas:
- Easy Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Tuscan Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad
- Greek Broccoli Pasta Salad
- Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Italian Spaghetti Salad
- 1 pound thin spaghetti broken into 1 inch pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes chopped in half
- 2 medium zucchinis diced
- 1 large cucumber diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 large red onion diced
- 2 ¼ ounce cans sliced ripe olives drained
- 1 cup italian salami cut in half
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.