Best Italian Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad is a simple twist on the classic pasta salad. Made with just a few ingredients like pasta and veggies and a simple but zesty dressing, this will become your new go to summer side dish!

a tan napkin, parsley, a bowl of parmesan cheese, a wooden bowl with wooden spoons, spaghetti, cucumbers, olives and tomatoes.

This delicious spaghetti salad is so simple! Just tomatoes, cucumbers, linguine and dressing. I have always loved pasta salad, so even as a kid, I would eat plates and plates of this simple pasta salad. It’s fresh and easy, and pairs perfectly with Bacon Wrapped Shrimp or Grilled Chicken Kabobs and can just as easily be a meal for lunch with some Garlic Cheese Toast on the side.

Table of Contents
  1. Spaghetti Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make the Best Spaghetti Salad
  3. Expert Tips
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. More Pasta Salad Recipes
  6. Summer Spaghetti Salad Recipe

Spaghetti Salad Ingredients

  • Spaghetti noodles – it’s kind of in the name, right? But you really can use any type of long pasta for this recipe. Even rotini would be ok.
  • Cucumbers – 1 whole cucumber is good, unless you want to add more. I recommend using an English cucumber because you don’t have to remove the seeds or peel.
  • Cherry tomatoes – or grape tomatoes
  • Black olives – canned, drained
  • Red onion – white is fine if that’s what you have. Dice is pretty fine because no one like biting into big chunks of raw onion.
  • Zesty Italian dressing – my favorite brand is Kraft.
  • Parmesan cheese – freshly grated, or from the can will work. Fresh definitely tastes best though.
  • Fresh minced parsley – optional, but adds a nice flavor.
  • salt and pepper to taste
a wood cutting board, a gray background, a bowl of cooked spaghetti noodles, small bowls of Italian dressing, parmesan cheese and olives, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, parsley and salt and pepper shakers.

How to Make the Best Spaghetti Salad

This Summer Spaghetti Salad recipe is so easy and uses minimal ingredients. It is the perfect salad to whip together when you are short on time.

Cook the pasta and toss all the ingredients together. Thats it! Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Spaghetti – Like the name says, this is a spaghetti salad, so of course that’s the first ingredient. You can use a small cut noodle instead if that’s what you have on hand, like rotini or penne.
  2. Veggies – cut up some cucumbers, tomatoes and onion. Open a can of salty sliced olive and drain them.
  3. Zesty Italian Dressing – I use Kraft brand that I linked or you can use a homemade dressing. The Olive Garden Salad copycat dressing would be a great Italian dressing to use for this salad.
  4. Parmesan cheese – Every good salad needs cheese. Freshly shredded or grated Parmesan is pretty much a requirement.
  5. Garnishes – Finish your salad off with some fresh chopped parsley and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Expert Tips

Expert Cooking Tips

I have a couple pasta salad tips that will ensure you are always asked to bring the pasta salad to the party too!

  • No matter the recipe, make sure you add a lot of salt to the boiling water and also slightly undercook your pasta. The salt helps add a lot of flavor to your spaghetti salad and by undercooking your pasta, you help the noodles stand up to the dressing.
  • Most pasta salads taste better when they get to sit for a while, but after all that sitting, sometimes the noodles get mushy if you overcooked them.
  • Cut all the veggies bite-sized so its easy to grab with your fork and eat everything together.
  • Feel free to swap out veggies for ones you’d prefer.
  • Add some protein to your salad with salami or chicken.
  • Make ahead up to 24 hours.
  • Storage: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If it seems dry, add a little more dressing or drizzle on some olive oil.

Serving Suggestions

So, what goes best with this spaghetti salad? As a perfect summer potluck salad, this salad will go great with your favorite backyard grilled favorites like juicy Grilled HamburgersCajun Grilled Pork Chops and Chicken Kabobs.

Spaghetti Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and cheese

More Pasta Salad Recipes

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A bowl of spaghetti, olives, and tomatoes.

Summer Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad is a simple twist on the classic pasta salad. Made with just a few simple ingredients, this will become your new go to summer side dish!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 413kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 2 medium sized cucumbers seeded and diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quarted
  • 12 ounce can black olives drained and sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Zesty Italian dressing more or less, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. *Note, normally we say don't rinse, but for pasta salad it's necessary to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta.
  • Add cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, parsley and onions to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then toss with spaghetti.
  • Pour 1 cup of Italian dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Toss to combine, taste, and add more dressing as desired.
  • Refrigerate, covered for at least four hours. Serve cold, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and minced parsley.

Notes

  • Make ahead up to 24 hours.
  • Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days for optimal freshness. If it seems dry, add a little more dressing or drizzle on some olive oil.
  • Feel free to swap out veggies for ones you’d prefer.
  • Add some protein to your salad with salami or chicken.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 413kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 10gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 1159mgPotassium: 425mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 637IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 2mg
Keyword spaghetti salad

Amanda

Amanda blogs at Old House to New Home where she shares easy ways to eat, create, and decorate, all while raising two young girls! Amanda is a Spanish teacher, wife to a great husband, and mommy to the two most beautiful little girls! Amanda loves food, traveling, and transforming their 115 year old house into their home.

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Comments

  1. One of my favorite go to meals. I don’t use the same kind of dressing or parsley. I use Ken’s Italian with garlic and asiago cheese. I also top it with feta cheese. I’m always requested to bring to all pot lucks…

  2. I made this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous! I used angel hair pasta because it’s my preferred pasta, and I used the store bought Olive Garden dressing. I also had pepperoni as an optional add in for protein.

  3. With store-bought spaghetti salad, it always seems too oily. It’s definitely a side dish I prefer homemade. Nonetheless, the salami is a great addition. Its also so quick!

    1. There is no wine in this recipe. It calls for red wine vinegar which is where a lot of the flavor in the dressing comes from. But it’s a vinegar, not alcohol.