Creamy Italian spaghetti pasta salad is easy, quick, and insanely yummy – the perfect side dish for summer get togethers, barbecues, and potlucks.
Is it backyard barbecue season yet??? I am one hundred and thirty seven percent DONE with winter and ready for summer and every single thing that comes with it. Bring on the flip flops, tan lines, family road trips, lake hair, daily sour lime popsicles and back-deck dinners.
Summer, you are welcome here.
This pasta salad is a twist on one that my family has served at summer get togethers for years. I swapped out the usual penne or rotini noodles for spaghetti, and traded cubed ham for sliced salami. Oh and the cheese! We usually throw cubed cheddar in with our pasta salads but this time I went with parmesan because I’m sort of having a moment with parmesan. The kind of moment that is more like a year and requires adding parmesan to e-ver-y-thing.
You can whip this salad up in 15 minutes right before a party BUT if you can think that far ahead I highly recommend making it 2-3 hours beforehand. If you get all of that pasta goodness covered in a bowl and can let it hang out in the fridge for a while before your’e going to serve it, the flavors really get kicked up a notch!
p.s. I’m not even a little bit sad when we have leftovers…
- 8-12 ounces spaghetti noodles (see note)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup whole black olives
- 6-10 slices hard salami, quartered
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓-1/2 cup mayo (see note)
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- Add noodles to a large pot and add about 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil 7-9 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse til smooth.
- Combine noodles, tomatoes, olives, salami, and cucumbers in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately OR for enhanced flavor, cover and chill 1-3 hours.
You can add between ⅓ and ⅔ cup mayo for this dressing. The more mayo, the creamier it will be. I usually use ⅓ cup reduced fat mayo.