This Spaghetti Salad is loaded with slices of pepperoni, cubes of provolone cheese, and lots of veggies then finished with zesty Italian dressing. It’s a tried and true classic pasta salad recipe that’s always a hit at potlucks and summer BBQs.
Easy Spaghetti Salad with Italian Dressing
We absolutely love all kinds of pasta salads in this house, from deviled egg pasta salad to Italian chopped salad, and this classic spaghetti pasta salad. They’re not just great for luncheons, but make wonderful easy dinner options, too.
This spaghetti salad with Italian dressing is one of the most popular pasta salad recipes and for good reason. It’s easy to make and loaded with tasty ingredients like pepperoni, provolone cheese, bell peppers, and cucumbers in a zesty Italian dressing.
It’s a family favorite and a summer staple. Take it to your next potluck or BBQ and watch it be the first to disappear!
Why You’ll Love This Pasta Salad
Spaghetti salad is one of our favorite pasta salad recipes. Here’s why.
- Easy to prepare. Whether you use bottled Italian dressing or prepare your own, this spaghetti pasta salad takes just 30 minutes or so to prepare.
- Easily customizable. Almost all of the ingredients can easily be swapped out, from the cheese and pepperoni to the veggies and even the dressing. Use the ingredients you like best or just what you have on hand.
- Perfect for potlucks. One batch of this cold spaghetti salad makes at least 10 servings, so this is perfect for those summer picnics and 4th of July BBQs. (It’s always a crowd-pleaser, too!)
Classic cold spaghetti salad is loaded up with pepperoni, veggies, and cheese.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Dry spaghetti – Broken in half so it’s easier to combine the ingredients.
- Pepperoni – Either sliced pepperoni cut into quarters or a 5 ounce package of mini pepperoni.
- Vegetables – I add red and green bell peppers, red onion, English cucumber, grape tomatoes, and sliced black olives to my spaghetti salad, which are all standard ingredients.
- Provolone – Cubed from a block.
- Parmesan – Freshly grated from a block.
- Seasonings – I add garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper for additional flavor.
- Zesty Italian dressing – I typically use my homemade Italian dressing for this recipe, but a store-bought bottle is totally fine in a pinch.
One thing to love about this easy pasta salad recipe? There are endless ways to customize it. Here are some ideas:
- Make a Greek spaghetti salad. Swap out the provolone with crumbled feta cheese and replace the Italian dressing with Greek salad dressing for a Greek spaghetti salad.
- Use different noodles. Any pasta works in this recipe, it’s just traditionally made with spaghetti noodles.
- Try different cheese. Feel free to replace the cubes of provolone with mozzarella, cheddar, or even something like a Colby jack blend.
- Adjust the veggies to your preference. If you’re not a fan of olives, just leave them out. Other veggies like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower can also be added.
- Swap or omit the pepperoni. If you want to make this a vegetarian side dish, just omit the pepperoni. You could also use chunks of cooked ham or salami instead of pepperoni.
How to Make Spaghetti Salad
This spaghetti pasta salad recipe is simple to prepare. Just cook the pasta, combine the ingredients, and chill until serving.
(Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details and don’t miss the helpful tips and video below.)
- Cook the spaghetti. Prepare the spaghetti according to package instructions in salted water. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent it from sticking or cooking further.
- Combine the ingredients. Place the pepperoni, veggies, and provolone in an extra-large bowl. Add the cooled pasta to the bowl. Top with parmesan and seasonings. Toss to combine.
- Add the dressing. Pour the Italian dressing over the pasta, then toss to coat.
- Chill. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!
Tips for Success
Here are a few helpful tips when making your spaghetti salad.
- Rinse the spaghetti with cold water. This is key to making sure that it doesn’t stick but also prevents it from continuing to cook. Plus, you want it cooled before adding it to the bowl with the cheese.
- Assemble in a large bowl. This spaghetti salad recipe makes a pretty large amount so it’s always a good idea to assemble it in an extra large bowl, so you have space to easily toss the ingredients.
- Don’t skimp on the dressing. As the dish sits, the pasta will soak up the dressing and absorb all the flavors, so dress generously.
- Prepare in advance. While 2 hours is the bare minimum, I’d suggest preparing your spaghetti pasta salad several hours or even a night in advance. The longer it sets, the more flavor the noodles will have.
Video: Spaghetti Pasta Salad
What to Serve with Cold Spaghetti Salad
For us, it’s a summertime classic and makes an appearance at every 4th of July celebration and almost every cookout throughout the summer, alongside other classic salads like broccoli salad and pea salad.
Store leftover spaghetti salad in an airtight container for up to 4 or 5 days. Give it a good stir before serving again and add a bit more dressing if necessary, as the noodles will soak it up.
More Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Macaroni Salad
- Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad
- Lemon Orzo Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Cowboy Pasta Salad
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta Salad
- 1 pound box dry spaghetti pasta , broken in half
- 1 cup sliced pepperoni , cut into quarters
- 1 small green bell pepper , seeded, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper , seeded, diced
- 1/2 red onion , diced
- 1/2 an English cucumber , diced
- 1 & 1/2 cups grape tomatoes , halved crosswise
- 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives , drained
- 1/2 cup cubed Provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 16 ounces homemade zesty Italian dressing (or a store-bought bottle)
- Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions in salted boiling water. Stir while cooking to prevent sticking, then drain and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking and further cooking.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the pepperoni, all the vegetables, olives, and Provolone in an extra large bowl.
- Add the cooked and cooled pasta to the bowl along with the Parmesan. Season with the garlic powder, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Give it a gentle toss, then pour the Italian dressing over the pasta. Toss again to coat everything well.
- Cover and allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.