The Secret to Delicious Gluten Free Spaghetti Salad

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Deli Style Spaghetti Salad

Even though the weather has warmed, I’m still in the mood for comfort food. And summer comfort food is a totally different situation than the warm cozy comfort food we crave in winter. To me, summer comfort food reminds me of my childhood, of backyard BBQs, and swimming all. day. long. This Deli Style Gluten Free Spaghetti Salad is the perfect summer comfort food and yes, ideal for potlucks and neighborly gatherings (socially distanced of course), picnics and, well, Tuesday night dinner.

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Hometown Flavors

I grew up in a small town. There was only one stoplight and you might think it sounds like a one-horse town but since we called ourselves the “Cowboy Capital of the World” that wouldn’t be exactly true because there were about a billion horses. The annual Rodeo was, and still is, the highlight of the year for many.

Our town only had a handful of good restaurants — and Ferrarese’s Deli was one of them. Frequented by both locals and Bay Area folks on their way to Yosemite, it has the reputation for cooking down home, American style Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sub sandwiches, as well as serving up the usual deli fare.

One of Ferrarese’s most delicious side dishes is spaghetti salad. There is nothing precious about this gluten free pasta salad, but when I taste it it brings me right back to my childhood. It’s loaded with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and sliced black olives and to me, tastes like summer.

Deli Style Spaghetti Salad

What’s the secret to delicious gluten free pasta salad?

The top secret ingredients, and these are NON NEGOTIABLE, are Kraft brand Zesty Italian Salad Dressing, and McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning. Without them, this gluten free spaghetti salad just doesn’t taste the same! This spaghetti salad tastes great the same day you make it, but even better the next day. I like to make a big batch to snack on for lunch throughout the week. If you want to add some protein, a can of drained chickpeas and some slivered salami slices might be nice. But I prefer it made the traditional way.

Here’s what else you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of spaghetti noodles (we used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Spaghetti)
  • a (16 oz) bottle of Kraft brand Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into small triangles
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (about half a small onion)
  • 1, 6.5 ounce can of sliced California olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning

How do you keep gluten-free pasta from getting hard?

Usually when you cook pasta “al dente” is the norm (which means cooking pasta until it’s just done and not overly soft). Since gluten free pasta has a tendency to become firmer as it cools, it’s important to cook the pasta until it’s soft, but not mushy. Test the pasta frequently in the last couple of minutes of cooking.

Should you rinse gluten-free pasta after cooking?

For this recipe, no! Since gluten free pasta has a tendency to absorb more liquid than regular pasta, you may need to add more sauce (or the water you cooked the pasta in) to get the consistency you want. In this recipe, you add the salad dressing to the warm pasta so it absorbs all the delicious, zesty flavors as it cools.

How long does gluten-free pasta last in the fridge?

Gluten free pasta (and this gluten free pasta salad) will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. You may want to bring it up to room temperature before serving, but it also tastes great straight from the fridge!

Is creamy Italian dressing gluten-free?

This recipe calls for Kraft brand Zesty Italian Dressing. While it’s not certified gluten-free, it does not have any ingredients that contain gluten.

Love hearty salads? Check out these other gluten-free recipes:

What’s your go-to comfort food in summer? If you make this recipe, or any of my others be sure to drop a comment and star rating below, tag me on Instagram, and use the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!

Deli Style Spaghetti Salad

Gluten Free Deli Style Spaghetti Salad

This zesty spaghetti salad is great when you make it, but even better the next day, making it the perfect contribution to a potluck BBQ or picnic. I like it traditional style, but if you want to make it a main course salad, you could always add grilled chicken breast, chickpeas, or slivered salami (or all three).
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 270 kcal



  • Break the pasta in half and boil according to package directions. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Immediately pour over the dressing and cool pasta to room temperature.
  • When pasta has cooled, add the cucumber, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and sliced olives and toss to combine.
  • Add the Salad Supreme seasoning and toss again. Top with additional seasoning and refrigerate until cold, at least one hour.


The top secret ingredients, and these are NON NEGOTIABLE, are Kraft brand Zesty Italian Salad Dressing, and McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning. Without them, this spaghetti salad just doesn’t taste the same!


Serving: 1portionCalories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 9gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 321mgPotassium: 357mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 887IUVitamin C: 34mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Deli Style Spaghetti Salad, Italian Spaghetti Salad, Spaghetti Salad Recipe
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  1. What a fabulous recipe! So easy and tasty! I’ll definitely be making this one again!

  2. Diana L Clemons says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I grew up there too. there are two foods I miss from Ferrarese’s Deli, The Leo sandwich and this salad!!!

    1. Hi Diana – glad you found the recipe! It’s hard to beat. I never tried the Leo sandwich…but I’ve heard it’s delicious too.

  3. Sharon Raymond says:

    5 stars
    Hi Alison…I love the spaghetti salad at Ferrase’s Spent lot’s of time there heading up to Lake Tulloch. Had and still have friends living there. Fagundas The Paving Portagee. Did barrel racing even. fond memories. I’m in England now and will try to gather some of the hard to get items. Looking forward to making your recipe. Many thanks, Sharon Raymond

    1. Oh Sharon – so many great memories of that little town. Thanks for sharing yours and good luck finding the ingredients!

  4. Karen Mihok says:

    5 stars
    Alison, we love the spaghetti salad (and all of your other recipes)! It’s great for gatherings with friends and family and so easily to prepare! Thank you

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