Cold Spaghetti Salad is an easy pasta meal to prepare in advance and serve to your family. This super simple and satisfying pasta meal is great to cook for a crowd. You can easily prepare pasta salad in advance for your family, as personal meal preparation, or as a great addition to bring to a potluck!
Our family absolutely loves this pasta salad dish! It’s the perfect comfort food for spring and summer, when you may not want a more traditionally warm spaghetti dish. Whatever the occasion, cold spaghetti salad is a delicious and filling meal or side. And it’s easy for everyone to serve themselves a bowl of this nutritious dish!
Watch Video to Make Cold Spaghetti Salad
Origins of Spaghetti Salad
Pasta Salad is found in Italian, American, and even Greek cuisines! This particular dish evolved from the American invention of macaroni salad that appeared in the early 60s.
Cold spaghetti salad seems to be an American spin-off of Italian cuisine. And people can add diverse toppings and dressings onto the mixture to produce the flavors of different cuisines.
Today we’ll make a more Italian-oriented pasta salad. (But people have also added feta to create a Grecian flair and even sesame oil for more of an Asian take on it.)
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Ingredients for Cold Spaghetti Salad
- 12 Ounces of Spaghetti Pasta
- 2 Bell Peppers, any colors
- 1 Red Onion
- 8 Ounces Italian Dressing
- 1/4 Cup McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Salad Supreme Seasoning
- 4 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Six Steps to Make Cold Spaghetti Salad
Step 1: Bring water in a large cooking pot to boil.
Step 2: Cook your spaghetti pasta according to the package instructions.
Spaghetti Pasta: You can use almost any type of noodles that you want. But for this recipe, spaghetti noodles are perfect. You only need 12 ounces of spaghetti noodles for this cold spaghetti salad recipe. To make ours extra nutritious, I use Barilla Veggie Spaghetti, which includes half a serving of pureed vegetables per 2 ounce serving.
The common consensus is that spaghetti ends up tasting the best when cooked in heavily salted water. But there are also a few more essential tricks to be aware of with these noodles:
- Make sure the pasta cools off slightly before adding the veggies. (Otherwise, it could lightly cook some the vegetables, and you may want that for a cold-serve salad.)
- To avoid the noodles getting too starchy or sticky, you can try rinsing them after cooking before you mix in the other ingredients. Or you could add some olive oil into the spaghetti water, when you boil the noodles, to keep them satiny smooth.
Step 3: While the pasta is cooking, chop your green peppers, onion, and any other vegetables of your choice in small cubes.
Green bell peppers are the best type for savory dishes, which is why they’re perfect for this recipe. If you want to go a sweeter route with your flavor, you could always try out some red, yellow, or orange ones. You’ll want to grab 2 bell peppers and chop them into small cubes. This will give your dish lovely bursts of freshness throughout.
Red onion is the best type of onion to eat raw because they have a more mild flavor than their more pungent counterparts. Recipes tend to call for raw red onion because cooking them removes a lot of their natural flavor. (Also, other raw onions can have a stronger taste that pickier eaters may not enjoy as much.) To add an exciting flavour to your pasta salad, cut 1 red onion into small cubes to stir in.
Step 4: In a large serving bowl, add your warm pasta, vegetables, dressing, seasoning, vinegar, and black pepper.
Your pasta doesn’t need to cool off completely. Keep things moving and immediately mix in your ingredients while the noodles are still hot. This also allows the veggies to cook and soften slightly.
Everyone loves Italian dressing! It’s easy to find it at your local grocery store. But if you don’t have time to run to the supermarket, you can actually make your own Italian dressing at home! All you need to do is mix some olive oil with red or white wine vinegar. Add herbs and spices of your choice, and finish off with some parmesan.
Once you’ve prepared or purchased your dressing, set aside eight ounces of it to add onto your salad later. It’s going to add a tasty kick to your final pasta salad dish that everyone will adore.
McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Salad Supreme Seasoning: This seasoning is the secret ingredient to the savory success of your cold spaghetti salad! (And no, you don’t have to tell anyone else the secret if you want to maintain the mystery!) You can pick it up at your local grocery store in the seasoning aisle and it’s an affordable way to easily add a touch of zing.
With just ¼ cup of this delicious seasoning, you’re going to upgrade your salad to a whole new level of deliciousness! The paprika, poppy seed, celery seed, black pepper, and red pepper in this seasoning mixture will give your pasta salad a zesty flavour. And the best part? It’s not too spicy, so everyone can enjoy your cold spaghetti salad without worrying about it being too hot! Additionally, the romano cheese and salt in the spice mixture round out the final flavour for a savoury zing.
Red Wine Vinegar: To make the salad dish even more savoury and delicious, we’re going to add in 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. This is going to give your salad a sophisticated and delightful flavour boost!
Black pepper is a must to finish off your cold spaghetti salad. It’s a great way to bring out and tie together all of the delicious flavors in your dish for a final touch that everyone will enjoy! Fresh ground pepper is always a delicious option if you have a pepper grinder with whole peppercorns. But otherwise, regular pre-ground pepper is absolutely fine!
Step 5: Refrigerate your pasta salad for 2 or more hours.
Step 6: Serve cold for a delicious spring and summer meal!
- 12 ounces Spaghetti Pasta
- 2 Green Peppers
- 1 Red Onion
- 8 ounces Italian Dressing
- 1/4 cup McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Salad Supreme Seasoning
- 4 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring water to boil and cook spaghetti pasta as instructed on your package.
- While pasta is cooking, chop all vegetables into cubes.
- In a large serving bowl, add pasta, vegetables, dressing, seasoning, vinegar, and black pepper while warm.
- Refrigerate for 2 or more hours and serve cold.
Feel free to add additional vegetables of your choice.
For your pasta, lightly cooked al dente is recommended.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 229mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 2g