California Spaghetti Salad is a vibrant and flavorful dish that combines the heartiness of pasta with the freshness of vegetables, all tied together with a zesty Italian dressing. This dish is perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a refreshing side dish for any meal. Its colorful presentation and delightful flavors are sure to impress your guests and make this salad a memorable part of your gathering.
For the Salad:
- 400-500 grams of spaghetti
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 2 zucchinis, cubed
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 can of sliced black olives, drained
For the Dressing:
- 1 bottle of Italian dressing
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Step 1: Cook the Spaghetti
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta. Drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber, cube the zucchinis, and dice both the green and red bell peppers and the red onion. Drain the can of sliced black olives.
Step 3: Combine Salad Ingredients
Add the prepared vegetables and drained black olives to the bowl with the cooled spaghetti. Toss gently to combine.
Step 4: Prepare the Dressing
In a separate bowl or jar, combine the Italian dressing with the grated Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seeds, and garlic powder. Whisk or shake well to thoroughly mix all the dressing ingredients.
Step 5: Dress the Salad
Pour the dressing over the spaghetti and vegetable mixture. Toss well to ensure the salad is evenly coated with the dressing. For the best flavor, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.
Step 6: Serve
Before serving, give the salad a good toss to redistribute the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve chilled as a side dish.
- Customization: Feel free to add or substitute vegetables based on preference or availability. Artichoke hearts, sliced carrots, or broccoli florets make great additions.
- Serving: For a decorative touch, garnish the salad with additional Parmesan cheese or a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley or basil before serving.
- Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This salad tastes great the next day as the flavors continue to develop.
California Spaghetti Salad is a versatile side that pairs well with grilled meats, seafood, or as part of a buffet-style meal. It’s also perfect for serving at summer barbecues or as a nutritious and satisfying lunch option.
- Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- Chill Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
California Spaghetti Salad is a delightful dish that combines the best of pasta salads with the fresh flavors of California-style cuisine. Its ease of preparation and ability to feed a crowd makes it an ideal choice for any occasion. Enjoy the vibrant colors and refreshing taste of this beloved salad at your next gathering.