Cold Spaghetti Salad (gluten-free, vegan)

Ali Segersten Aug 13, 2009 14 comments

Here is another summer recipe for you to sink your taste buds into. Refreshing, colorful, slightly salty, and full of flavor, this salad would make a great addition to a summer picnic!

The original recipe comes from my aunt Martha. While I was visiting my mom this summer, she pulled the recipe out of the old family cookbook in hopes that I would make it. I took one look at it and thought...yum! Martha's recipe used wheat-based spaghetti noodles and green bell peppers. I used Tinkyada spaghetti noodles because they don't get mushy and fall apart during cooking. Be sure to cook them al dente for this salad. For some reason I am not a huge fan of green bell peppers so I omitted them for this recipe. If you would like to use them, her recipe says to chop them and sauté lightly with the onions and garlic.

I use kalamata olives produced by the company Mediterranean Organics. I while back I wrote the company about the citric acid used in their products. Here in the USA citric acid can only be made from corn (through fermentation), but in other countries it can be made from either corn, wheat, molasses, or beets. About 25% of the citric acid used here in the USA is imported from other countries, meaning, unless you write the company to find out the source you may be getting minute amounts of gluten in your diet.

Here is the response I received from the company: The citric acid in the Mediterranean Organic Olives and Capers is produced by the fermentation of sucrose derived from cane and beet sources and purified to the highest standard. The Peppers is manufactured through a natural (microbial) fermentation process which converts corn syrup (a carbohydrate substrate) to citric acid using the microorganism Aspergillus niger . The corn syrup is GMO free. And yes, the products are also Gluten-free.

Happy Summer!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Hi Ali, have you tryed to use Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Flax seed pasta? Thats all I use and Im loving it!

Lara - Thanks! I am glad you have found so much benefit here! This is a great time to make that zucchini bread. I have made it with all sorghum flour before with great results as well! Happy Summer! :)

Diane - Thanks, glad to share this recipe on your foodie fix! :)

Deb - Thanks for sharing your version of this, good to know canned tomatoes work as well! Artichoke hearts sound like a nice addition too.

Erin - Great questions, sometimes I forget to add all those little details. I cook my noodles with olive oil and stir them quite a bit right after adding them to the pot of boiling water - this helps them from sticking together. After they are cooked I rinse them with cold water. For this salad, I then tossed them in the olive oil dressing within about 15 minutes. They are usually still manageable at this point. To serve, either keep this at room temp or refrigerate until ready. If you let the salad sit out at room temp for about an hour after being in the fridge it works well. I think the key here is the olive oil dressing. Our leftover (plain) rice noodles stick together also when refrigerated. Hope this helps!

Dee - Great, thanks for the feedback and the fact that your kids enjoyed it! Enjoy the book! :)

I made this today for my family for dinner tonight. It was so yummy! Even my kids liked it and they aren't big on tomatoes!

I just ordered your book off of Amazon yesterday and I'm looking forward to trying many more recipes from it.


This looks yummy, thanks! I am just wondering how you keep your rice noodles from getting chewy and hard after they cool. I make rice noodles all the time and they always seem to go from a nice texture to rather inedible if we don't eat them right away. (And totally hard if I put them in the fridge. Thus, I had thought a cold pasta salad was off limits until now...) Does this happen to you? Maybe I'm doing something wrong!

Hi Ali,

I made this and it is excellent. I was out of fresh tomatoes and used canned diced and it turned out well, I didn't include the juice though. I think next time I may also add artichoke hearts. The noodles were perfect also.

That looks great! I never thought of a spaghetti salad but I've eaten tons of pasta salad. Brilliant!!! I always learn so much on your blog. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix.

I just finished making this recipe for a party we are about to head out to. I just had to have a bowl for myself before I share. It is very good! I also made the Zucchini bread from your cookbook and chocolate truffles, both are amazing!
Your cookbook and blog have been a lifesaver for my family. We make your Teff pancakes a few times a week now. Thanks again! -Lara

Heather - I love olives too! I bet your version of this salad is yummy!

Lauren - Great, glad you found us! Kristen's blog is great! :)

Melissa - Tinkyada noodles are the best, aren't they! Hope you try Herbamare, once you do, you'll be hooked! :)

Kimi - Thanks! :)

Shirley - I guess I didn't have all of the information regarding citric acid - thanks for clarifying!! Hope you get a chance to make this and enjoy it all yourself! I'll go to Diane's site now, thanks for reminding me! :)

Jenna - Thanks, I'll go look for those instructions now, I don't remember seeing them. Enjoy! :)

-Ali :)

Wow it looks sooo good! I love the Tinkyada noodles also, and there are power save instructions on the package-it took me a while to find these so I love to share that, it just takes a few more minutes for lots less power.

Thanks for writing the company!!! I love when people get the good scoop :)

Like I said on FB, this recipe looks terrific and I wanted some for a midnight snack last night ... but I wisely went to bed. LOL Maybe I'll make this for myself while Mr. GFE is gone this week. He wouldn't like a cold spaghetti salad, but I would love on and haven't had one in years. Yum! Oh, and you should enter it in Diane's Friday Foodie Fix today ... the secret ingredient is tomatoes. :-)

Re: the citric acid, if it was made from wheat and the product contained wheat, per the FALCPA, wheat would be shown in the ingredients. However, Gluten-Free Living magazine states that if wheat is contained in citric acid it is so highly processed that no wheat remains: Per information from The Freedonia Group, over 90% of the citric acid in the U.S. is derived from corn. (This was in a Wiki article, a source I often question, but here's their source article here (a business article): I've also read that when ingredients are derived from wheat, typically no wheat remains--for example, in glucose derived from wheat, it's also much like alcohol distilled from a grain source--no gluten remains. If there's info that wheat remains in a product and is not being shown on labels per FALCPA requirements, I want to know so I can pass it on to my support group members.

Thanks! Hugs,

That sounds so refreshing!


This looks delicious. I agree on the Tinkyada noodles, they're the best GF noodles around. You're right, no mushiness. I don't do well with bell peppers of any color, so I'd omit them anyway.


Funny, for all the cooking I do, I've never used Herbamare. I'm sure I'd like it, but I've just never looked for it. I'll have to do that one of these days.

Hope all is well with you and your busy family!


This looks great! Love your blog, I was directed here by Kristen of Kristens Raw! So glad she suggested it!

This looks so good! I make a cold spaghetti salad like this too. I love olives :)

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