Looking for light, carby summer comfort food? Cold Spaghetti Salad is just the ticket! It’s the perfect make-ahead meal: toss cooked spaghetti with some chopped veggies and your favorite vinaigrette. Stash in the fridge until dinner to chill, and serve with crusty bread. An easy crowd-pleaser – great for potlucks and cookouts, too!
The last half of summer finds me in a definite carby, cold pasta salad mood. I’ve also begun the transition back into hot soup — even though it’s 90 degrees for the umpteenth day this summer — but that’s a topic for another post.
This is one of those recipes that I never think about sharing, because it’s as frequent in this household as a bowl of cereal. As frequent as, but not as common, so, it’s long past time to share on the blog!
I love spaghetti salad because it’s a meal that I can prepare in the morning and then go about my day, right up until the very edge of dinnertime. Pull the bowl out of the fridge, toss with more dressing, and voila. Ready!
Plus, it’s chilly and refreshing, even though it’s spoon-twirly pasta that we normally associate with cozy, saucy meals.
The recipe below is my version of it, obvs, but the beauty of it is that it’s completely customizable to your preferences. Use your favorite veggies, leave out the ones that make the family grousy. For an extra salty punch, add small cubes of salami or ham. Try sharp cheddar cubes, or crumble a tangy feta over the top. Add lots of olives, or no olives. It’s all good!
Extra flavor tip: In the summer, I usually mix in a tablespoon or two of basil pesto or parsley pesto, along with the vinaigrette, which makes it extra summery with all of the fresh herby goodness.
Speaking of the vinaigrette, I usually head straight for something Greek, but any simple vinaigrette will work great, and keep things light and summery. Don’t feel pressure to make something from scratch. Homemade dressing is awesome. But so is pulling a bottle out of the fridge and cutting time in half #keepingitreal.
If you’re a pasta lover like I am, be sure to try this dish before the summer runs out, especially while the summer vegetables are fresh and abundant!
Cold Spaghetti Salad
- 16 ounces dried spaghetti*
- 2 cups diced vegetables**
- 3/4 cup small dice cheddar or crumbled feta cheese
- Your favorite vinaigrette (Greek or Italian are my go-to)
- Prepare the spaghetti according the package directions, in well-salted water. Drain, and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
- Transfer the cooked spaghetti to a large mixing bowl. Lightly salt the chopped vegetables, and pour into the spaghetti. Use tongs to lift and lower the spaghetti, combining with the vegetables as you go.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the spaghetti, and continue "lifting" and mixing. The spaghetti should glisten with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, give the spaghetti salad another mixing, as the vegetables tend to work their way to the bottom of the bowl. Also drizzle more dressing, if needed, as the spaghetti will have absorbed much of it in the fridge.