This spaghetti salad is packed with big, bold flavors—and it’s oh-so-easy to make! It’s perfect for picnics, backyard barbecues, and potlucks, but also great for work and school lunches!
If you’re in the mood for Italian food but feel like something different than the standard Alfredo, baked spaghetti, or chicken parmesan, spaghetti salad is a great option. It’s a filling salad that is still light enough to enjoy during the warm summer months, and it has all the flavors of a classic antipasto tray, with salami, olives, cheese, and veggies.
Plus, it’s easy to make and can be tailored to your liking. Win!
Easy Spaghetti Salad Recipe
As you might guess from the name, spaghetti salad is a pasta salad made with cooked spaghetti noodles and a variety of veggies and add-ins. There are endless variations of this salad—read on and I share some of my favorite ingredient swaps!
There are so many things to love about spaghetti salad—the tangy Italian dressing, the pasta (carbs!), and all of the delicious ingredients—but I think what I love most of all is how easy it is to throw this together for a party or weeknight meal.
Once you cook the spaghetti, it’s just a matter of tossing everything in a bowl!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Spaghetti – Of course, you can use another pasta shape, but then this wouldn’t be spaghetti salad anymore!
- Grape tomatoes – Chopped tomatoes are fine, too.
- Cucumbers – I like English or Persian cucumbers for this recipe because they release less liquid.
- Salami slices
- Red onion
- Bell pepper – Any color will work!
- Ripe black olives
- Parmesan cheese
- Italian parsley
- Fresh basil
- Italian salad dressing
- Salt and pepper
Variations and Substitutes
Feel free to add or swap in any of these ingredients, too:
- Fresh oregano
- Kalamata or green olives
- Pepperoncini peppers
- Roasted eggplant
- Diced cubes of fresh mozzarella (or small balls of mozzarella)
How to Make Spaghetti Salad
1. Make the Pasta
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. When it’s done, drain it and rinse it under cold water. Drain until the pasta is as dry as possible; this keeps your salad from getting soggy!
Combine the prepared vegetables, herbs, and Parmesan in a large bowl. Add the cooked pasta and dressing; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to Store Spaghetti Salad
Store this salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days; this is one of those salads that tastes even better after the flavors mingle for a day or two in the fridge! I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
What is spaghetti salad made of?
Everyone has their own version of spaghetti salad, but they all involve spaghetti, a dressing, fresh veggies, and flavorful add-ins like Italian lunch meats and olives.
What goes well with spaghetti salad?
Can I make spaghetti salad ahead of time?
Absolutely! Although it does keep in the fridge for 5 days, for maximum freshness, I recommend making it a day in advance for dinner or a party. This gives the salad enough time for the flavors to develop, but the veggies will still be at their peak.
More Classic Salad Recipes
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 2 large cucumbers halved and sliced
- 1 cup salami slices quartered
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- 2 cans ripe olives 2-¼ ounces each sliced, drained
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese grated
- 3 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 1 ½ cups Italian salad dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain and cool under cold water. Continue to drain to ensure the pasta is as dry as possible.
- Combine all the prepared vegetables, herbs, and parmesan in a large mixing bowl. Add the drained and dried cooked pasta followed by the dressing. Toss several times to combine. Season to taste.