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Easy Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles

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With only a few ingredients, this Easy Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles recipe is a must have side dish on your table for BBQs and Summer parties.

Easy Pasta Salad with Spaghetti Noodles in bowl

What is a Spaghetti Salad?

Typically when we make cold pasta salad, we think of using smaller noodles like rotini, penne or elbow. But every once in a while, I like to use spaghetti noodles instead. This easy pasta salad recipe is a great way to change things up!

I use cooked spaghetti noodles, fresh chopped veggies, and zippy Italian dressing, tossed in a large bowl and served cold.

Why Make Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles?

We make Homemade Marinara with Ground Turkey Meatballs at least a few times a month in our house, and we always have leftover spaghetti noodles.

Whipping up a cold spaghetti pasta salad recipe is a great way to use up those leftover noodles. I find that they are easy to twirl up onto a fork, and then pierce the fresh veggies. It’s a fun twist on a classic pasta salad, and this easy recipe makes a perfect side dish option for another meal later in the week.

This makes a great side dish served with sandwiches like Sloppy Joes, Italian BLTs or Air Fryer Chicken Sandwiches, or with simple piece of grilled chicken or salmon.

What Ingredients Do You Need For Pasta Salad?

  • cooked spaghetti noodles
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • Italian dressing packet (Iike this one)
  • olive oil
  • water
  • vinegar
  • salt
Easy Pasta Salad with Spaghetti Noodle ingredients

How Do You Make Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles?

Start by boiling water in a large pot. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add 8oz of spaghetti noodles.

While the pasta is boiling, dice your cucumber and tomatoes into roughly 1/2″ size pieces. You will want approx 2 cups of each.

Cook spaghetti noodles until they are al dente which means they are cooked about 90% of the way and are still slightly firm. This will help prevent them from getting mushy in the salad.

Drain pasta in a colander in the sink and rinse with cold water. This will cool the pasta down and stop the spaghetti from cooking any further.

Combine the cooked spaghetti, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl and stir.

In a small bowl, combine half the packet of Italian dressing mix with 1/8 c of vinegar, 1/4 c of olive oil and 1 1/2 T of water. Use a small whisk or a fork and stir until its combined. Set the remaining half of the seasoning packet aside.

Pour the homemade Italian dressing mixture over top of the pasta mixture and sprinkle 1/2 t of salt. Toss to combine.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap or tin foil and place in refrigerator. Chill for 1 hour.

Once chilled, remove bowl refrigerator and give it a good toss. Sprinkle the rest of the Italian seasoning packet into the salad. Give everything one last good stir and serve.

shake the remaining dry Italian dressing seasoning onto salad and toss

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

PRO TIP: If you like your pasta salads with a little zip, try buying the Zesty Italian dressing seasoning packet from your grocery store. Slice up some mini pepperoni and toss them into the salad as well.

Easy Pasta Salad with Spaghetti Noodles in bowl

What is the Fastest Way to Cool Pasta for Pasta Salad?

It’s important to cool your pasta down when making pasta salad so that the heat and steam from the hot noodles does not cook your other ingredients.

To chill cooked pasta for salad, pour it from the boiling water directly into a colander in the sink. Completely drain the hot water and then run ice cold water from the facet onto the noodles. Lift and shake the colander a few times to ensure that you have completely drained all of the water off.

How Do You Keep Pasta Salad From Getting Soggy?

There are a couple of tricks that I use to prevent my pasta salad from getting soggy.

Always make sure that you are cooking your pasta until al dente which means that it still has a bit of firmness to it when you bite down on it. Once you add the liquid dressing, the pasta will absorb it as it sits. This will soften the spaghetti the rest of the way, and the pasta salad will be perfectly tender when you serve it.

If you cook the spaghetti until it is soft, it will turn mushy and soggy when you add the liquid.

My other trick that I use to prevent soggy pasta salad, is to use less oil than you think you should.

I only make up half of the Italian dressing as a liquid, and then use the other half of the packet to sprinkle dry on the salad. This adds flavor without additional oil.

Follow these tips and you will have the best pasta salad every time!

Easy Pasta Salad with Spaghetti Noodles on fork

What Veggies Can You Put in a Pasta Salad?

The great thing about pasta salad is that you can really toss any veggies into it that you have on hand. Try:

  • red onion
  • green pepper
  • yellow pepper
  • red bell pepper
  • orange bell pepper
  • black olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • green olives
  • cauliflower
  • pepperoncini peppers

PRO TIP: Add a little cheese to this salad by tossing in 1 cup of diced fresh mozzarella cheese OR 2T of grated Parmesan cheese.

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Easy Pasta Salad with Spaghetti Noodles in bowl

Easy Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles

Liz Olberding @ Up North Nosh
With only a few ingredients, this Easy Pasta Salad With Spaghetti Noodles recipe is a must have side dish on your table for BBQs and Summer parties.
Prep Time 20 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 mixing tongs

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz spaghetti noodles
  • 1 packet Good Season's Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1/8 c vinegar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c Roma tomato diced
  • 2 c cucumber diced

Instructions
 

  • Start by boiling water in a large pot. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add 8 oz of spaghetti noodles.
  • While the pasta is boiling, dice your cucumber and tomatoes into roughly 1/2" size pieces. You will want approx 2 cups of each.
  • Cook spaghetti noodles until they are al dente which means they are cooked about 90% of the way and are still slightly firm. This will help prevent them from getting mushy in the salad.
  • Drain pasta in a colander in the sink and rinse with cold water. This will cool the pasta down and stop the spaghetti from cooking any further.
  • Combine the cooked spaghetti, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl and stir.
  • In a small bowl, combine half the packet of Italian dressing mix with 1/8 c of vinegar, 1/4 c of olive oil and 1 1/2 T of water. Use a small whisk or a fork and stir until its combined. Set the remaining half of the seasoning packet aside.
  • Pour the homemade Italian dressing mixture over top of the pasta mixture and sprinkle 1/2 t of salt. Toss to combine.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap or tin foil and place in refrigerator. Chill for 1 hour.
  • Once chilled, remove bowl refrigerator and give it a good toss. Sprinkle the rest of the Italian seasoning packet into the salad. Give everything one last good stir and serve.

Notes

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This makes a great side dish served with sandwiches like Sloppy Joes, Italian BLTs or Air Fryer Chicken Sandwiches, or with simple piece of grilled chicken or salmon.
Option: Add a little cheese to this salad by tossing in 1 cup of diced fresh mozzarella cheese OR 2T of grated Parmesan cheese.
Also Try: Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 201mgPotassium: 334mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 692IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
Keyword pasta salad, side dish
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