California Spaghetti Salad

California Spaghetti Salad is a vibrant and flavorful pasta dish that epitomizes the essence of California’s fresh and diverse culinary influences. This salad features al dente spaghetti noodles as its base, providing a hearty and satisfying texture to each bite. The pasta is then generously mixed with an assortment of colorful and crisp vegetables, capturing the essence of California’s bountiful produce.

Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onions are commonly found in this salad, contributing to its appealing medley of flavors and textures. The vegetables provide a refreshing crunch that complements the softness of the pasta, creating a harmonious balance in each forkful.

A zesty and herbaceous dressing is the soul of California Spaghetti Salad, infusing the dish with bright and lively notes. Olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a medley of herbs like oregano and basil come together to create a flavorful dressing that coats every ingredient with a burst of freshness. The dressing not only enhances the overall taste but also ties the diverse elements of the salad into a cohesive and delicious ensemble.

Optional additions to this salad may include black olives for a briny kick, feta cheese for a creamy and tangy contrast, and grilled chicken or shrimp for those seeking a protein boost. These customizable elements make California Spaghetti Salad a versatile and satisfying dish suitable for various occasions, from picnics and potlucks to family dinners and barbecue gatherings.

Whether served as a side dish or a standalone meal, California Spaghetti Salad embodies the essence of the Golden State’s culinary spirit. Its vibrant colors, diverse textures, and refreshing flavors make it a go-to recipe that celebrates the abundance of fresh, local ingredients synonymous with California’s agricultural richness.

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Here’s a recipe for California Spaghetti Salad:


  • 8 ounces (about 225g) spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pint (about 2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow the noodles to cool completely.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled spaghetti noodles with the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, black olives (if using), and feta cheese (if using).
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, dried oregano, salt, and pepper to create the dressing.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetable mixture. Toss everything together until well coated in the dressing.
  5. Refrigerate the salad for at least 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the salad to chill.
  6. Before serving, sprinkle fresh basil over the top for a burst of herbaceous flavor.
  7. Optionally, add grilled chicken or shrimp for a protein boost.
  8. Serve chilled and enjoy the refreshing and vibrant flavors of California Spaghetti Salad!
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