California Spaghetti Salad

California Spaghetti Salad Recipe

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Summer is the perfect time to enjoy vibrant, refreshing salads, and this California Spaghetti Salad is a family favorite that’s always a hit at our gatherings. I remember the first time I tried this salad at a neighborhood potluck. The combination of crisp vegetables and savory dressing over tender spaghetti was a revelation! It’s become a staple in our household, especially during those warm months when a light and satisfying meal is just what we need.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, allowing you to make it your own with a few simple tweaks. Sometimes, I like to add a bit of crumbled feta cheese for an extra tangy kick or throw in some chopped fresh basil for a touch of herbaceous freshness. If you’re looking to make it a bit heartier, diced grilled chicken or shrimp can be a fantastic addition.

One of the best things about this California Spaghetti Salad is how easy it is to prepare. With minimal cooking and a straightforward assembly, it’s perfect for busy weeknights or as a make-ahead dish for picnics and barbecues. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to use up any veggies you have on hand, reducing waste and creating a delicious, healthy meal.

The dressing, a blend of Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, and spices, ties everything together beautifully. Allowing the salad to marinate in the fridge for a few hours really enhances the flavors, making each bite a delightful mix of textures and tastes. Trust me, this salad is worth the wait!

Whether you’re serving it as a side dish or the main event, this California Spaghetti Salad is sure to become a beloved part of your recipe repertoire. It’s a delightful way to bring a taste of California sunshine to your table, no matter where you are.

Preparing California Spaghetti Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti, (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 pint halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 can black olives, (sliced and drained)

For the Dressing

  • 1 bottle Italian dressing (16 oz)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Prepare the spaghetti as per the instructions on the package. Once cooked, drain thoroughly and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cucumber, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and black olives.
  3. In another bowl, combine the Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, smoked paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss to ensure everything is evenly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight to enhance the flavors.

Serving California Spaghetti Salad

FAQs:

Can I use a different type of pasta instead of spaghetti for the California Spaghetti Salad?

Yes, you can use different types of pasta such as rotini, penne, or fusilli. However, make sure to cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions, as this helps it hold up better in the salad.

How long can I store the California Spaghetti Salad in the refrigerator?

The California Spaghetti Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The flavors might even improve as the salad sits, but the vegetables could lose some of their crunch.

Is it possible to make the salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! Making the salad a day ahead allows the flavors to meld together better. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated and give it a good stir before serving.

What can I substitute for Italian dressing if I don’t have any on hand?

If you don’t have Italian dressing, you can make a quick homemade version using olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Adjust the ingredients to taste and mix well.

Can I add any protein to the California Spaghetti Salad?

Yes, you can add proteins like grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas to make the salad more filling. This can turn the salad into a complete meal rather than just a side dish.

How can I make this salad gluten-free?

To make the California Spaghetti Salad gluten-free, simply use a gluten-free pasta. Ensure all other ingredients, including the Italian dressing, are also certified gluten-free.

California Spaghetti Salad Recipe

California Spaghetti Salad

Make your gatherings special with our easy and delicious California Spaghetti Salad recipe, featuring crisp vegetables and a zesty dressing.
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Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound spaghetti (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  • 1 can black olives (sliced and drained)
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing 16 ounces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Cook the spaghetti following the package directions. Drain well and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the grape tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, and black olives.
  • For the dressing, whisk together the Italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, smoked paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to coat all ingredients. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight for best flavor.

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