Spaghetti salad is an incredibly flexible, fast pasta salad recipe that is such a crowd pleaser! Tossed in a savory homemade Italian dressing, this cold spaghetti salad recipe is a keeper.

It’s a recipe your friends and family will ask you to bring again and again. Filling, wholesome and delicious, it’s sure to be a hit!

Spaghetti salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons for serving.

Every home cook should have a classic pasta salad (or five!) in their line-up. We love pasta salad in our house all year long, but especially in the summer.

It’s cold, refreshing, holds so well in the fridge, and feeds a crowd! What’s not to love? I’ve brought you a variety of pasta salad recipes over the years – which ones have you tried?

Don’t skip these this collection of Pasta Salad Recipes if you’re a lover of allllll the pasta salads like we are! 

A white bowl full of cold spaghetti salad.

Spaghetti Salad

This cold spaghetti salad is the ultimate crowd pleaser. It’s perfect for summertime picnics and potlucks because it feeds a crowd and carries so well.

  • Make Ahead – The best news of all? It’s a perfect recipe to make ahead! As it marinates in the refrigerator, the flavors meld together and this recipe is even better on the second day!
  • Feeds a Crowd – Perfect for picnics, potlucks and family gatherings of all kinds!
  • Fresh, Vibrant Flavor – It’s full of zesty Italian herbs and seasonings and bursting with fresh veggies. It’s wholesome, filling, and beautifully colorful to serve – what’s not to love?
Spaghetti salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons for serving.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients for spaghetti salad.
  1. Spaghetti
  2. Cherry Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes diced also work well.
  3. Zucchini
  4. Cucumber
  5. Red Bell Pepper – You can use fresh red peppers, or switch it up with diced green bell peppers or roasted red peppers! 
  6. Red Onion
  7. Olives
  8. Salami – Use sliced or cubed. You can ask your deli for thick slices to cube.
Ingredients for spaghetti salad in a white bowl on a marble countertop.

Pasta Salad Dressing

  • Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is my favorite, but you can use what you have on hand. Canola oil makes a great substitute.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – White wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well.
  • Minced Garlic – Fresh or minced in a jar.
  • Basil – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Oregano – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Sugar
  • Salt – Thick flakes of salt from a grinder is my go to, but kosher salt works as well.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of coarse black pepper from a grinder offer the best flavor and texture, but you can use what you have on hand.
A marble surface filled with herbs and seasonings to make a homemade Italian dressing.

Variations

  • Add Cheese – Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese work well
  • Add Pepperoncini
  • Make it a Vegetarian/Vegan Pasta SaladOmit salami.
A variety of gold cake pans, loaf pans and muffin baking pan sizes laid out on a marble surface.

How to Make Spaghetti Salad

  1. Prepare Spaghetti – Bring a large pot of water salty like the sea to a boil. Cook spaghetti al dente (so it doesn’t get mushy).A bowl of boiling water on a stove top, spaghetti noodles halfway in the water and half out. A silver pot of boiling water with spaghetti noodles inside.
  2. Shock Pasta – Drain and rinse pasta in cold water. This stops the noodle from cooking, preventing it from becoming mushy.
  3. Make Dressing – In a jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined. Ingredients for spaghetti salad in a white bowl on a marble countertop.
  4. Toss – Toss spaghetti, dressing and toppings until thoroughly combined. Spaghetti salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons for serving. A hand holds a jar of pasta salad dressing in the foreground.

Tips

  • Cook your noodles al dente. Don’t overcook your spaghetti! Especially when the cooked pasta will spend extra time soaking in a dressing, you don’t need to cook it too long.
  • Rinse pasta in cold water before combining the salad with other ingredients.
  • Use a high quality olive oil. When you’re making such a simple dressing, the individual ingredients will shine!
  • Reserve a little dressing to refresh this pasta salad prior to serving.
  • Shorten the strands – You can break your spaghetti noodles in half if you’re using a boxed pasta for shorter strands.
  • Chop – I like to chop my veggies pretty coarsely for this recipe, but you can go as small or as large as you’d like.
A close up of spaghetti salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pasta salad served hot or cold?

It is almost always served chilled, as it generally includes salad dressing and ingredients that aren’t meant to be warmed.

Should you rinse pasta when making pasta salad?

When you’re serving a warm pasta dish, you never want to rinse the pasta. The starch that is in the water from cooking the pasta will help your sauce cling to the noodles!
However, when it comes to a cold pasta salad, you should rinse it to help stop the pasta from cooking after it’s removed from the water. This is called “shocking” the pasta.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – This spaghetti salad should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Refrigerator – Wrap your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap, or choose a storage bowl with a tight fitting lid. Most pasta salads can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • Freezer – I do not recommend freezing this tortellini pasta salad.
Spaghetti salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons for serving.

Serving Suggestions

This spaghetti salad serves beautifully with all types of grilled and baked proteins and summertime barbeque entrees! 

Serve it alongside any of the following for a wholesome, healthy dinner! 

A white bowl full of cold spaghetti salad.

Pasta salad is one of my favorite BBQ Sides and Pulled Pork Sides – don’t skip this complete guide to help you plan your next cookout!

More Pasta Salad Inspiration

Pasta Salad Recipe Guide
Spaghetti salad in a white bowl with wooden spoons for serving.

Spaghetti Salad

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Spaghetti salad is an incredibly flexible, fast pasta salad recipe that is such a crowd pleaser! Tossed in a savory homemade Italian dressing, this cold spaghetti salad recipe is a keeper.

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Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta.

  • While spaghetti cooks, chop your remaining ingredients.

  • Drain and rinse pasta in cold water. Return to serving bowl.

  • In a jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined.

  • Add chopped ingredients and dressing. Toss.

Tips

Substitutions

  • Cherry Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes diced also work well.
  • Red Bell Pepper – You can use fresh red peppers, or switch it up with diced green bell peppers or roasted red peppers! 
  • Salami – Use sliced or cubed. You can ask your deli for thick slices to cube.
  • Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is my favorite, but you can use what you have on hand. Canola oil makes a great substitute.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – White wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well.
  • Minced Garlic – Fresh or minced in a jar.
  • Basil – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Oregano – Fresh or dried, your choice! Use 3 times more if fresh.
  • Salt – Thick flakes of salt from a grinder is my go to, but kosher salt works as well.
  • Pepper – Thick flakes of coarse black pepper from a grinder offer the best flavor and texture, but you can use what you have on hand.

Variations

  • Add Cheese – Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese work well
  • Add Pepperoncini
  • Make it a Vegetarian/Vegan Pasta SaladOmit salami.

Tips

  • You can break your spaghetti noodles in half if you’re using a boxed pasta for shorter strands.
  • Cut veggies course or chunky – it’s completely up to you.

To Store

Refrigerate – Wrap your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap, or choose a storage bowl with a tight fitting lid. Most pasta salads can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 249kcal (12%), Carbohydrates: 39g (13%), Protein: 9g (18%), Fat: 6g (9%), Saturated Fat: 1g (5%), Cholesterol: 7mg (2%), Sodium: 200mg (8%), Potassium: 314mg (9%), Fiber: 3g (12%), Sugar: 5g (6%), Vitamin A: 513IU (10%), Vitamin C: 24mg (29%), Calcium: 34mg (3%), Iron: 1mg (6%)

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