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California pasta salad in a clear bowl.

California Pasta Salad

This delicious and colorful California Pasta Salad is always a hit at parties! Make it a day ahead if you want; the flavors only get better as it sits!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 411kcal


For the Salad Dressing:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt or more to taste

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti broken into thirds
  • 2 medium zucchini diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 large hot house cucumber diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 (6.5 ounce) can sliced black olives drained


  • In a small bowl with a whisk, or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, oregano, poppy seeds, garlic, paprika, celery seed, and salt. Mix well and allow flavors to blend while preparing the salad.
  • Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain well and rinse in cold water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, onion, and black olives. Add rinsed pasta and drizzle with salad dressing to taste (you don't have to use it all). Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.


Adapted from Taste of Home.


Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 444mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1035IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg