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California Spaghetti Salad: A Vibrant and Flavorful Pasta Dish

Looking for a crowd-pleasing side dish for your next gathering? Look no further than California Spaghetti Salad! Packed with fresh veggies and coated in a zesty Italian dressing, this colorful pasta salad is sure to steal the show. Let’s dive into how to make this delicious and nutritious dish that both adults and kids will love.


  • 400-500 grams of spaghetti
  • 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can sliced black olives, drained

For the Dressing:

  • 1 bottle Italian dressing
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


Step 1: Cooking the Spaghetti

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Step 2: Preparing the Vegetables

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, zucchinis, green and red peppers, red onion, and drained black olives.

Step 3: Making the Dressing

  1. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, grated Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seeds, and garlic powder to make the dressing.

Step 4: Assembling the Salad

  1. Add the cooked and cooled spaghetti to the bowl of mixed vegetables and olives. Toss everything together until well combined.

Step 5: Adding the Dressing

  1. Pour the prepared dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Toss everything together until the pasta and vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
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Step 6: Chilling and Serving

  1. Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.
  2. Once chilled, give the salad a final toss and serve it as a refreshing and nutritious side dish.


Q: Can I make this salad ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can prepare the salad a few hours in advance and refrigerate it until ready to serve. Just be sure to give it a good toss before serving.

Q: Can I customize the vegetables in this salad?
A: Absolutely! Feel free to add or omit any vegetables according to your preference. You can also add other ingredients like diced avocado or shredded carrots for extra flavor and texture.

Q: Is there a substitute for Italian dressing?
A: If you prefer, you can make your own dressing using olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Tips for Success:

  1. Cook the spaghetti al dente to prevent it from becoming mushy in the salad.
  2. Feel free to add protein such as grilled chicken or shrimp to make this salad a complete meal.
  3. For extra flavor, toast the sesame seeds before adding them to the dressing.
  4. This salad tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together.