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A Rainbow in Every Bite: California Spaghetti Salad

Calling all salad lovers! This California Spaghetti Salad is a vibrant and flavorful dish that's perfect for picnics, potlucks, or a light summer meal. Packed with colorful vegetables, tender spaghetti, and a tangy Italian dressing, it offers a delightful combination of textures and tastes that will please everyone, including the kids!


  • The Base:

    • 400-500 grams spaghetti (about 14-16 ounces)
  • A Garden of Chopped Veggies:

    • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 diced cucumber
    • 2 zucchini cubes, diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 red onion, diced
    • ½ cup sliced black olives, drained
  • The Flavorful Dressing:

    • 1 bottle (around 16 oz) Italian salad dressing
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Cooking the Spaghetti: Start by preparing the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Cook it until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). Once cooked, drain the pasta thoroughly and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. This step also helps prevent the pasta from sticking together in the salad.

  2. Chopping Up the Rainbow: While the spaghetti cooks, gather your colorful vegetables. Dice the cherry tomatoes in half, the cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, and red onion.

  3. The Dressing Symphony: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the Italian salad dressing, grated Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seeds, and garlic powder. This creates a flavorful and slightly tangy dressing that will bind the salad together.

  4. Combining the Ingredients: In a large bowl, toss together the cooked and rinsed spaghetti, the chopped vegetables, and the drained black olives.

  5. Dressing it Up: Pour the prepared Italian dressing over the pasta and vegetable mixture. Use tongs or large spoons to gently toss everything together until the dressing is evenly distributed and coats all the ingredients.

  6. A Chill Time for Maximum Flavor: Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or even overnight. This allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive salad.

  7. Time to Serve! Once chilled, take the California Spaghetti Salad out of the refrigerator and give it a quick toss to refresh the ingredients. Serve it chilled and enjoy the burst of colors, textures, and flavors in every bite!


  • For a heartier salad, you can add cooked and shredded chicken breast or chickpeas.
  • If you prefer a creamier dressing, you can add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise to the Italian dressing.
  • Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.