Spaghetti salad is an easy, delicious, and colorful dish with fresh veggies, cooked spaghetti, a tangy Italian dressing, and your favorite add-ins.
It's excellent for a healthy lunch or your next picnic, potluck, and family dinner.
Check out our Easy Pasta Recipes
Spaghetti in a pasta salad is a little unconventional, but it's definitely something to try if you are looking for a meal that is easy to make, fresh, healthy, and kid-friendly.
This recipe is a crowd-pleaser because it combines chewy spaghetti with crunchy veggies, fresh herbs, and a tasty Italian dressing.
It's excellent for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues but also perfect for meal prep, to bring to work, and for family dinners.
Take our spaghetti salad recipe as a guideline and customize it with your favorite veggies, herbs, and add-ins. To boost its flavor, you can add diced feta or shaved parmesan cheese or keep it vegan using non-dairy cheese.
For gluten-free, you have to swap wheat pasta with your favorite gluten-free pasta brand.
We'll give you plenty of options to choose from so you can make this recipe yours.
Since this is a spaghetti salad, we are going to use spaghetti noodles.
However, you can make this recipe with any other pasta type, long or short. For example, linguine or bavette would be a suitable replacement for spaghetti.
- Tomatoes: you can use any ripe tomatoes such as vine, Roma, cherry, grape tomatoes, etc.
- Cucumber: substitute with radishes or thinly sliced zucchini.
- Bell pepper: red bell pepper, yellow, or green bell pepper.
- Olives: go for pitted green or black olives. Use Kalamata olives or Gaeta olives for an upgrade. Substitute chopped sun-dried tomatoes or marinated artichoke hearts for the olives.
- Shallot: substitute green onion or red onion for shallot.
We like to use fresh flat-leaf parsley. Substitute basil, dill, mint, chives, and coriander, for parsley.
We make a quick and tasty Italian salad dressing with:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed. Substitute apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- Grated lemon zest: best if from an organic lemon.
- Maple syrup: substitute honey or agave syrup.
- Dried oregano: substitute dried thyme.
- Dried basil: substitute dried mint.
- Garlic powder: substitute a fresh garlic clove, grated.
- Salt: sea salt or kosher salt is best.
- Black pepper: substitute red pepper flakes.
Substitute honey mustard dressing or tahini sauce for Italian dressing.
You can add pretty much anything to this salad, but our favorite add-ins are:
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Feta or non-dairy feta
- Shaved parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella balls
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per package instructions. When cooked, drain it, and cool it under cold water so that it stays al dente.
Transfer it to a large bowl, and if you don't use it immediately, toss it with two teaspoons of olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, grated lemon zest, maple syrup, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
Chop bell pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber into small dice; cut the olives in half, and finely chop parsley and shallot, then add them to the bowl with the pasta.
Pour the dressing, then toss to combine. Taste and adjust for salt.
Optionally, you can add some feta cubes and a pinch of dried oregano.
Serve with different dressings, toppings, and a vegetable side dish, such as:
- Vegan basil pesto (pine nuts, walnuts, nutritional yeast, basil leaves, olive oil, etc.)
- Tahini sauce (tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, etc.)
- Air fryer zucchini (zucchini olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, etc.)
- Roasted eggplant (eggplant, olive oil, garlic, parsley, vinegar, etc.)
- Grilled asparagus (asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper)
Make ahead: you can make spaghetti salad up to 3 days ahead. However, the pasta absorbs the dressing, so you might want to add more if your salad dries.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
More pasta salad recipes
Get more healthy and easy lunch ideas with these veggie-packed pasta salads:
- Pesto pasta salad (cherry tomatoes, olives, green beans, arugula, pasta, pesto, etc.)
- Vegan pasta salad (corn, white beans, basil, tomatoes, olives, pasta, lemon, olive oil, etc.)
- Chickpea pasta salad (chickpeas, pasta, cucumber, olives, parsley, tomatoes, corn, etc.)
- Eggplant salad (roasted eggplant, pasta, parsley, olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, etc.)
- Pesto pasta (green beans, basil pesto, potatoes, basil, bowtie pasta, etc.)
For many more pasta ideas, check out our pasta category page.
- 12 ounces spaghetti
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup cucumber diced
- 1 cup yellow bell pepper diced
- ⅓ cup pitted olives halved
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 ounces feta cubed or crumbled
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a large pot with salted boiling water per package instructions.When cooked, drain it, and cool it under cold water to prevent it from overcooking.Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl, and if you don't use it immediately, toss it with two teaspoons of olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
- In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Chop 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 1 cup cucumber, and 1 cup yellow bell pepper into small dice; cut ⅓ cup pitted olives in half, and finely chop 1 small shallot and 2 tablespoons parsley then add them to the bowl with the pasta.
- Drizzle with the dressing, then toss to combine.
- Optionally, you can add 2 ounces feta in cubes or crumbled, and a pinch of dried oregano.
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