California Spaghetti Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing

On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, my youngest sister invited us over for a day of relaxing, a quite visit and a little barbecue (hot dogs and burgers). Great! I offered to bring a pasta salad. The more I mulled it over; the more I realized the salad I had originally planned – A California Spaghetti Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing might not be the best choice with hot dogs and hamburgers. Burgers and dogs needed a supporting cast that was more in keeping with traditional salad such as Mema’s Macaroni Salad. Still, I wanted to do something different while keeping with that overall flavor of a traditional Macaroni Salad. At the very last-minute (as in while standing in the grocery store) I scrapped the idea of making the California Salad and went with my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with Spam instead. It’s one I’ve made many times before; but never for my extended family. What tipped the scale? The Hawaiian salad is made with mayonnaise. It was that simple.

Scrapping the California Salad also meant scrapping the post. But wait – I was short a recipe for May, having posted only 28 recipes in 29 days. This beautiful, colorful salad comes from the pages of The Recipe Critic. It would make the perfect side salad for grilled dishes such as Grilled Italian Marinated Chicken Skewers or Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish.

California Spaghetti Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
Spaghetti Salad
1 lb thin spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large red onion, diced
2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Drain and rinse in cold water.

Place pasta into a large bowl. Add cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and red bell pepper, red onion and olives. Set aside and make dressing.

Once the dressing is ready, transfer pasta to a large freezer bag. Pour dressing over pasta and lay bag flat in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

To serve, empty salad into a nice wooden bowl or glass bowl, toss to bring all the colors to the surface. Taste and adjust with a little salt and pepper if desired.

Italian Dressing
1 bottle (16 ounces) Italian salad dressing
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together Italian salad dressing, Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder. Pour over salad and toss until coated.

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