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California Pasta Salad Recipe

California Pasta Salad Recipe

Not only does this salad travel well to get-togethers such as picnics or tailgate parties, but people absolutely love it when it gets there. —Jeanette Krembas, Laguna Niguel, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + chilling YIELD:10-15 servings


  • 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  • 1. Cook pasta according to package directions; Drain and rinse in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the vegetables and olives.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over spaghetti mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 10-15 servings.

Nutritional Facts

3/4 cup: 257 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 1mg cholesterol, 567mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.

Reviews for California Pasta Salad

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ScottsGrace User ID: 2739134 268170
Reviewed Jun. 20, 2017

"I made this without the olives and added more fresh grated parm. This is a really tasty spaghetti salad. Has a little more flavor than the standard. Also, I found the poppy seeds unnecessary. They didn't add any flavor. I'm going to make this again for the next potluck. easy to double or cut in half."

Queenlalisa User ID: 15400 254584
Reviewed Sep. 24, 2016

"This pasta salad was so fresh tasting. I love make ahead recipes. I made grilled chicken to go with it. Everyone loved it."

chsmoak User ID: 8272977 252906
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2016

"Made this exactly as written and took it to a potluck luncheon. It was disappointing to say the least! It was soggy and tasteless. It didn't look particularly appetizing, people took small portions and I sadly noticed a fair amount left on plates to be dumped in the garbage. My usual offerings have always been popular at potlucks. Can't say I was impressed."

GirishKatta User ID: 7329112 250612
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2016

"Nice recipe"

nonapcook User ID: 6311763 250401
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2016

"I LOVE this pasta salad! and so do all my friends! Someone always asks me for the recipe. I add an extra zucchini because I love it, and used 3 peppers in stead of two (no green ones). I followed the suggestion to use Ken's Italian dressing with Romano cheese and it was delish! Be sure to make it the day before like it says and you will enjoy every bite! I added chicken once and it was excellent!"

1Heart4Jesus User ID: 2171354 249912
Reviewed Jun. 29, 2016

"Perfect as it, however I may add a few sliced pepperocinis the next time I make this to add just a bit of zing! Awesome meatless meal too!!"

my4sweetys User ID: 3051527 249658
Reviewed Jun. 21, 2016

"really good! you can adjust the salad ingredients to your families tastes. very very versatile!!"

[email protected] User ID: 193450 243843
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2016

"Great flavor and so easy to make. I didn't have zucchini, so substituted celery in its place. I also upped the garlic just a bit. Perfect salad with our sloppy joes. I could see adding cooked, diced chicken for a main dish salad."

Elaine24girl User ID: 7160734 229305
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2015

"I wonder how this would taste if you added baby shrimp?"

dverzic User ID: 762717 228685
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2015 Edited Jul. 13, 2015

"This is really good. beware, it makes a lot!"

ClydeWoman User ID: 7322761 226806
Reviewed May. 23, 2015

"We've been making this for years only we don't add the seeds or the bell pepper. I like it best while the noodles are still warm. This dish reminds me of summer for sure."

ktype User ID: 4188985 226731
Reviewed May. 22, 2015

"Family was not a big fan, but I thought it was pretty good."

wlsmiths User ID: 4616152 36928
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2014

"I made for a mom's meeting this morning and had a taste test after it was done and I really loved it. It was light and fresh tasting. Great recipe!"

micheldiane User ID: 6125280 15991
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2014

"Made this salad for Father's Day Just delicious and so colorful. I add some feta cheese to it.

A keeper"

swinny User ID: 1858482 38258
Reviewed Jun. 22, 2014

"We like this a lot during the summer. We will have this all week long and just make a meat or fish on the grill to go along with this salad. This makes for an easy week of dinners :)"

Bonito User ID: 1630276 40327
Reviewed Jun. 8, 2014

"I love this but also use salad Supreme - about 1 Tablespoon - and I leave the noodles a bit longer like I just break the spaghetti in half - so delicious and colorful"

beanpat User ID: 2074260 9721
Reviewed Sep. 4, 2013

"Some of you have suggested using the salad Supreme bottle spice instead of the individual spices listed. How much do you add? This really sounds like it is right up my alley for good salads."

[email protected] User ID: 863545 42062
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2013

"I've been making this for years, always a hit, and everyone wants the recipe."

Grammy Debbie User ID: 30612 9719
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"This salad is tailor-made for our garden right now--I have zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes in abundance! I had made it before and forgot about it--sure am glad I got the reminder from TOH in this fashion. I'm going to make it for our Labor Day picnic! My family doesn't care for olives, so I leave those out. I'm going to try it with other dressings next time, hadn't thought about the cool cucumber or ranch dressings, but bet those will be good!"

justjanie User ID: 183110 9718
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"Love trying new pasta salad ideas. This one was great. Easily adaptable to suit your own tastes. I decreased the dressing amount only because I am not a dressing eater except on pasta salads. Added corn for little more color and crunch. Great recipe"

rdell User ID: 3627456 40031
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"To make it easier,instead of using all the individual things like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seeds & garlic, I use salad Supreme, it is in the spice aisle at the store it has all those ingredients in one bottle and tastes great."

kedi User ID: 1105509 69673
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"just a suggestion - rather than all the spices you can use McCormack's salad Supreme spices. It contains much the same."

carolanne1210 User ID: 3617870 40030
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"So good! I make it exactly according to the recipe, but occasionally I add a package of pre-sliced pepperoni, with the slices halved. Always a big hit!"

cherrylady User ID: 1073547 201669
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"We've made this recipe for years, with the addition of mini turkey pepperoni. My original recipe called for creamy cucumber dressing -- which is becoming harder and harder to find. My kids love ranch dressing on it too. Yummy!"

jacliff User ID: 5333182 69672
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"I make this salad often however if find a whole bottle of dressing is too much. It pools in the bottom of the bowl. 1/2 the bottle works well and stays up on the salad. Great recipe!"

hash User ID: 3631069 16291
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2013

"Tip... Barilla makes pasta already cut in one inch pieces, makes the pasta part of the recipe easy. Find it in the pasta aisle."

tiger976 User ID: 5773271 36926
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2011

"I made this around 7 hours ago, couldn't wait until tomorrow to give it the taste test. Very good and will make this again, even though I forgot to add the tomatoes. I only used 1/2 of a huge red onion and 1 can of olives, major blunder. Should have followed the recipe. At this time the only thing that lacks is salt. Next time I make this I might try garlic salt instead of garlic powder. Thanks for sharing."

Jinker1 User ID: 5472039 16721
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2010

"This is the only pasta salad I make because it is always a hit wherever I take it. I always use Ken's Italian dressing with romano cheese and I think that is why it is so good. I sprinkle additional shredded parmesan cheese over the top before serving."

daisey5 User ID: 146806 40029
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2010

"The only change I made was to use fat free dressing to make it a little healthier. It was super good!!"

cwbuff User ID: 441425 42061
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2009

"This is a great salad! After cooking and draining the pasta, toss it with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. I added leftover ham for a great main dish salad, although I think it looks and tastes better if you serve it right away, not the next day. Served right away, it looks really appetizing!"

lisa53202 User ID: 1079567 15563
Reviewed Aug. 18, 2008

"I made this for a gathering this past weekend, and a lot of people commented on how good it was."

FriedaG User ID: 1671534 16720
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2008

"This is my family's favorite pasta salad. No matter how many times I make it, it always goes fast and soon someone asks me: "When are you going to fix that California pasta salad again?""

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