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California Spaghetti Salad Recipe

This California spaghetti salad recipe is a bright, fresh, and flavorful take on pasta salad – it’s quick and simple to make and loaded with tasty ingredients! An easy party appetizer or side dish that’s ready in 30 minutes.

We love serving this fun pasta salad recipe to potluck and party guests – it’s always a big hit! It’s one of my favorite appetizer recipes, and also great as a light lunch or dinner side dish too.

california spaghetti salad recipe with avocado tomatoes spinach and a tangy italian dressing

This California spaghetti salad is a the perfect tasty appetizer or side dish for your next gathering! It’s loaded with fresh veggies, tender cooked pasta, and a bright dressing you can make in minutes.

I lived in California for 3 years, and absolutely lived off of pasta salads – they are tasty, loaded with veggies, and inexpensive to make. And always light and refreshing.

They are great for warmer weather, but also such a treat during the winter months (because they feel like summer to me).

This pasta salad is loaded with fresh produce: avocados, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, and spinach. An easy vegetarian appetizer that everyone will love!

This California Spaghetti Salad Recipe Is

  • Bright
  • Fresh
  • Tasty
  • Easy to Make
  • Made with Whole Ingredients
  • Fantastic for Entertaining
  • A Great Vegetarian/Plant-Based Recipe
california pasta salad recipe with avocado spinach tomatoes and a balsamic vinegar dressing

Ingredients In This West Coast Pasta Salad

Inspired by my years of living in California, this spaghetti pasta salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and simple ingredients. 

I get fresh produce from my garden and from Misfits Market– they sell fantastic fruit, vegetables, & pantry staples at a discounted price. We get Misfit boxes every other week and love picking out favorite produce for delivery. Get $10 off your first box here!

  • Spaghetti Noodles– I used a whole wheat spaghetti to keep it a bit higher in protein & fiber, but you can use a regular spaghetti or a gluten free spaghetti if desired.
  • Avocado – creamy, ripe, delicious avocado gives a fantastic depth of flavor in each bite.
  • Red Onion – for a bright, spicy flavor.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – or any tomato that is in season, diced to chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • Baby Spinach
  • Red Bell Pepper – the chopped red pepper gives a nice sweetness and depth of flavor. You can also use a yellow or green bell pepper too.
  • Black Olives
  • Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese – you can use a regular or vegan parmesan cheese, depending on your dietary needs.
  • For the dressing: extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, and oregano. 

Substitutions

Instead of homemade dressing, you can use a zesty Italian dressing from the store if you are short on time.

If you don’t want to use red onion, you can leave it out or use a sweet Vidalia onion for a milder flavor.

Instead of garlic you can use garlic powder for a milder flavor.

Instead of balsamic vinegar you can use red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or a spicy Italian vinaigrette.

​Swap out parmesan for Romano or feta cheese instead.

easy spaghetti salad with avocado and olives vegetarian recipes easy vegan pasta salad alternatives healthy pasta salad with American and Californian ingredients

How To Make This Spaghetti Salad with Italian Dressing

  1. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Prep your veggies: chop the avocado, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, olives, and baby spinach. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make the dressing: to a medium mixing bowl or a pint sized mason jar. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix well to combine. 
  4. Assemble the salad: in the mixing bowl, add the cooked spaghetti and pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine.
  5. Serve at room temperature, store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

What Equipment Do I Need?

Large Bowl – you can use a mixing bow, or a serving bowl. Just be sure it is large, as this pasta salad feeds about 8 people.

A Large Pot – for cooking the spaghetti. It’ll need to be large enough to fit a whole pound of spaghetti at a time.

Dietary Modifications

  • This recipe is vegetarian, and meat free – if using a vegetarian parmesan cheese.
  • To make vegan or dairy free, use a plant-based parmesan cheese. And if using a bottled dressing, ensure the dressing is vegan.
  • To make gluten free, use gluten free spaghetti, and ensure any other ingredients in the dressing are certified gluten free.
spaghetti salad with italian dressing vinaigrette recipe easy vegetarian potluck recipes

More Easy Pasta Recipes You’ll Love

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california spaghetti salad recipe with avocado tomatoes spinach and a tangy italian dressing

California Spaghetti Salad

Kelly Jensen
This California spaghetti salad recipe is a bright, fresh, and flavorful take on pasta salad – it’s quick and simple to make and loaded with tasty ingredients! An easy party appetizer or side dish that’s ready in 30 minutes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Californian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 424 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Spaghetti Salad

  • 1 lb spaghetti I used whole wheat
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup black olives

For the Italian Inspired Dressing

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
  • Prep your veggies: chop the avocado, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, olives, and baby spinach. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  • Make the dressing: to a medium mixing bowl or a pint sized mason jar. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix well to combine.
  • Assemble the salad: in the mixing bowl, add the cooked spaghetti and pour over the dressing. Toss well to combine.
  • Serve at room temperature, store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Notes

Dietary Modifications

  • This recipe is vegetarian, and meat free – if using a vegetarian parmesan cheese.
  • To make vegan or dairy free, use a plant-based parmesan cheese. And if using a bottled dressing, ensure the dressing is vegan.
  • To make gluten free, use gluten free spaghetti, and ensure any other ingredients in the dressing are certified gluten free.

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 9gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gSodium: 294mgPotassium: 450mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 2117IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
Keyword California Appetizers, California Pasta Recipes, California Pasta Salad Recipe, California Recipes, California Spaghetti Salad, West Coast Pasta Salad
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Posted in American, Appetizers, Easy Weeknight Meals, Favorites, For Entertaining, Lunches, Pasta Salad, Pastas, Salads, Side Dishes, Summer Recipes, The Herbeevore Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

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