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Italian Spaghetti Salad

Our Italian Spaghetti Salad recipe (sometimes called California spaghetti salad or just spaghetti pasta salad) is full of delicious flavor! This is a must-have recipe for summer potlucks, cookouts, or even a great side dish to make and serve to your family at home.

Italian Spaghetti Salad

How to Make Spaghetti Salad

This recipe could not be easier to make, and leaves so much room for changes. Get a head start by prepping the fresh vegetables ahead of time. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to have on hand to get started.


  • 1 lb. Thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick’s Salad Supreme Seasoning
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (10 oz. package) juicy cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 2 (2.5-ounce) cans sliced black olives
  • 1 cup mini pepperoni


1.Start by cooking the spaghetti. Follow the directions on the box and cook it to al dente. This means the pasta should be tender but still firm to the bite. I always add a bit of salt to the water whenever making a pasta dish.

2.Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and rinse it in cool water. This stops the cooking process and cools the pasta down, which is essential for a cold pasta salad.

3.After the spaghetti has completely cooled, transfer it to a large bowl. This is where you’ll mix everything together.

4.To the spaghetti, add the Italian dressing, Salad Supreme Seasoning, and grated parmesan cheese. Stir everything until the spaghetti is evenly coated.

5.Now, add the fresh ingredients: cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, English cucumber, black olives, and mini pepperoni. Toss everything together until all the ingredients are well combined and coated with the dressing.

6.Before serving, chill the salad in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. This allows the flavors to meld together and makes the salad more refreshing.

Substitutions and Variations

Spaghetti salad is flexible when it comes to ingredients, making it easy to adjust to your preferences or what you have on hand.

Veggies: Feel free to add or substitute other crunchy vegetables like green pepper, small pieces of broccoli, or even some cheddar cheese for a different flavor.

Dressing: If you’re not a fan of store-bought Italian dressing, you can make a homemade Italian dressing. A simple dressing made with olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, and a little bit of black pepper can work great.

Protein: Instead of mini pepperoni, you could use diced ham, salami, or even chopped grilled chicken. These can add a different texture and flavor to the salad.

Cheese: If parmesan cheese isn’t your favorite, try using fresh mozzarella or even a sprinkle of feta cheese for a twist.

Salad Supreme Seasoning: Can’t find this seasoning, or just want to make your own version.


Cooling the Pasta: Make sure to rinse the pasta in cold water after cooking. This not only stops the cooking process but also prevents the pasta from sticking together.

Chilling the Salad: Don’t skip the chilling step. Allowing the salad to sit in the fridge for at least an hour lets the flavors develop and makes the salad taste its best.

Serving: Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled (though I definitely prefer it cold). It’s a great side dish on hot summer days or as a refreshing addition to a meal.

How to Store

Refrigeration: Store leftover spaghetti salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It usually stays good for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: It’s not recommended to freeze this easy spaghetti salad as the fresh veggies and pasta may not hold up well when thawed.

Spaghetti salad is a simple, delicious pasta salad that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s an easy recipe that’s a great way to enjoy a mix of tender spaghetti noodles, fresh veggies, and zesty Italian dressing. Whether you’re making it for a summer picnic, a family dinner, or just as a tasty side dish, this salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser.