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Ironically, I discovered California Pasta Salad during my recent trip home to Wisconsin (if you're new here, it's ironic because I really live in California).
Between the nonstop bonfires in the backyard, the lakefront picnics, and the general joy of summer, one of my friends brought the most amazing Pasta Salad that is remembered recently.
It's a giant bowl of chewy noodles, colorful vegetables, and the best Italian salad dressing I've ever had. And unlike the California Pasta Salad you'll find online, my dressing is made from scratch!
I imagine you all making this pasta salad in late summer when your gardens fill up with zucchini (some too big for their own good; they just can't be picked fast enough!), Cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. I hope you will! It's so good!
While this recipe originated with Taste of Home in 1992, bloggers have been posting the recipe for the past few years. However, every version I find still uses store-bought Italian salad dressing.
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Red wine vinaigrette takes 2 minutes to prepare, tastes much better, and is the perfect canvas for painting the additional flavors included in this dressing (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, celery seeds, paprika, and Parmesan cheese).
If you're reading this, Mom, you can substitute a bottle of store-bought Italian (just add the 5 ingredients I listed in the previous sentence).
The flavors improve as the salad sits! You should give it at least 2 hours, but don't hesitate to leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
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This delicious and colorful California pasta salad is always a hit at the parties! Let it be a day ahead if you want; Flavors only get better when you sit down! American Cuisine Type Preparation time: 15 minutes Cook time: 2 hours 25 minutes Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes Servings: 10 servings Calories: 254 kcal
For the salad dressing:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt or more to taste
For the pasta salad:
- 1 pound of spaghetti thin divided into thirds
- 2 medium diced zucchini
- 1 pint of 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 can (6.5 ounces) drained sliced black olives
- 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 the flavors to mix while preparing the salad.
- Boil 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain well and rinse with 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 for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Adapted from Taste of Home.
Calories :: 254kcal