California Spaghetti Salad

Usually when it comes to pasta salad, the star of the show is, well, the pasta, but that’s not quite the case with this colorful dish. This California Spaghetti Salad is loaded with so many garden fresh veggies, and bursting with so many delicious flavors and vibrant colors, it’s nearly impossible for them to not steal the show! It’s a vibrant and crunchy summery salad that we just can’t get enough of.

This side dish is full of so many crisp veggies: zucchini, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes… and a few olives too. It’s all tossed with tender spaghetti and a zesty Italian-style dressing. You don’t frequently see spaghetti in a chilled pasta salad, but it’s time that we all give it more of a chance. It works so well in this recipe; it still provides that comforting chewiness but the bulk of the flavor and texture of the salad comes from all of those fresh veggies. It’s more of a supporting character than a fusilli or a penne might be, but in the end, it creates the perfect balance.

This is one of those versatile, “use-it-up” recipes that you can always depend on when you need to clear out the fridge. If you don’t have all of these particular veggies on hand, you can really switch it up as needed and still end up with a great result. Have some yellow squash? Throw it in. A little green onion? That’ll do nicely. No cucumber? Swap in some celery. We promise… it pretty much all works!

1 lb spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 can sliced black olives, drained
For the dressing:
1 bottle Italian dressing
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on package, and drain and rinse in cold water.
In a large bowl, combine zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, and black olives.
In a small bowl, whisk together Italian dressing, sesame seeds, parmesan cheese, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder.
Add cooked spaghetti to vegetables and olives, then add dressing and toss together thoroughly. Cover and set in refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. Serve chilled and enjoy!

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