Out of all my pasta salad recipes, antipasto salad is one that stands out as not only delicious but elegant and pretty as a picture as well. Layers of color and flavor are sure to wow everyone lucky enough to feast on this delicious recipe…
It’s full of pasta, veggies, cheese, and salami — all dressed up in a from scratch vinaigrette that’ll knock their socks off! It’s one of my go to pasta recipes and can stand alone as a main dish or be served as a side!
Let’s get started!
Besides the amazing tastes that transport you straight to Italy, there are so many things I love about antipasto salad!
- Main dish or side- you choose!
- Bursting with veggies, meat, and cheese
- The bright colors
- Elegant, refined taste with a straight forward prep
A pasta salad perk is the ease of preparation, and my antipasto salad platter recipe is no exception. No one will believe how easy it is to make. Don’t worry, I won’t tell them if you don’t!
Julienne – This is just a fancy word that means to cut into strips. It adds a great flare to the salad and is definitely worth the effort! Practice makes perfect!
Pasta – I like to use rotini pasta, but you can use whatever kind you prefer. I do like to use pasta that has lots of nooks and crannies to hold the delicious dressing for maximum flavor in every bite. Remember, cook in well salted water until al dente.
Antipasto Salad Calories And Ingredient Notes
If you’re counting, Antipasto Salad calories typically run about 1,000 per serving, but it’s worth every one! Each bite is an explosion of Italian flavors that’ll make your mouth happy!
This recipe could easily be made healthier by changing the quantities of some of the ingredients…
Using less meat/cheese and more vegetables will definitely lighten up this antipasto salad. Calories in the vinaigrette can be reduced by using a little less oil. You could also use reduced fat cheese or substitute a leaner meat for the salami.
Not everyone loves the flavor of salami. You can always use chunks of chicken or turkey or omit the meat altogether.
I include red onion, as is traditional. However, you can use a milder onion if you prefer. Scallions or a sweet, yellow onion would be good options.
If your onion is a little strong, you can soak it in water for a few minutes after chopping it, or just rinse it under the faucet to make the flavor milder.
I love mixing the fresh and canned peppers for a bit of crunch with the sweet, mild spice. Both bell peppers and pepperoncini peppers rate among the lowest on the Scoville Heat Scale. You can add them without worrying about adding too much spice to your dish.
Either canned or fresh, they both bring fantastic flavor to your salad!
I use a homemade vinaigrette with red wine and balsamic vinegars, dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning in this antipasto salad recipe. Italian dressing out of the bottle would be perfectly fine if you’re pressed for time, though.
If you opt for the homemade version, it’s easy to tweak it to your personal taste…
You can add some crushed red pepper for a little heat or a little sugar if you like it really sweet. Remember the Balsamic vinegar adds quite a bit of sweetness already and really balances out the acidity.
I use diced mozzarella in this recipe. Some recipes use shredded cheese instead, but I think dicing it helps to get it more evenly distributed so you have a “mini chunk” of cheese in every bite.
If you’re a cheese lover, you can add a little extra (or a lot), or even use a combination of two or three cheeses—I mean, really, when it comes to cheese, is it possible to have too much?
Store Antipasto Salad in the fridge in a well-sealed container. It’s best to add the dressing just before serving.
Can You Freeze This?
Freezing pasta salad isn’t recommended. The texture just isn’t the same after a trip through the deep freeze!
Make Ahead Tips
If you want to make this Antipasto Salad ahead of time, I suggest prepping all the ingredients and the dressing but storing them separately. Mix everything together just before serving to maximize freshness and texture.
How Long Can You Keep This?
Antipasto Salad will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, but the texture will begin to change after about a day or so. Vinaigrette dressings have a tendency to make the pasta and veggies go soft.
I always think of pasta salads like a blank canvas. You can add whatever you have on hand and make it your own! Here are some common variations:
Can I Use Tortellini Instead?
Tortellini would be a fantastic option for this antipasto salad. Those delicious pillows of cheese or meat will add another level of flavor and will be very similar to my tortellini pasta salad, which is absolutely delish! Making this into a tortellini salad is definitely a great twist!
Can I Substitute Bacon For Salami?
I love bacon in pasta salads, and it would be an excellent substitute if you don’t like salami — like BLT pasta salad with a twist! The vinaigrette, veggies, and cheese will all pair beautifully with bacon.
For your bacon lovers who want a creamy dressing, consider bacon ranch pasta salad. This classic flavor combo is fabulous!
Is Seafood A Good Addition To This Recipe?
Seafood isn’t the best flavor addition to this salad. If you’re looking for seafood pasta salad, you’ll love my tuna pasta salad or shrimp pasta salad — Their creamy, decadent dressing is full of flavor, and the salads are bursting with tasty seafood, veggies, and pasta!
What Other Sauces Can I Try?
If you’re looking for an alternative to the vinaigrette, pesto is a perfect choice. Create a flavorful pesto pasta salad by swapping the dressing for a prepared pesto. Simple and delish!
You can also transform this recipe into pasta salad with Italian dressing by using your favorite Italian dressing instead of the vinaigrette.
What Are The Other Mediterranean Salad I Can Try?
Mediterranean salad, like antipasto salad and Greek pasta salad, is full of traditional flavors from the region. Olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and vinaigrette dressing are classic tastes straight from the Med. Italian pasta salad is another simple, scrumptious option to bring the taste of Italy to your table.
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon shallots finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces Rotini pasta
- 15 ounce bag romaine lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 10-ounce container grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper julienned
- 1/2 cup basil leaves julienned
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces Mozzarella shredded or diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 8 ounces Genoa salami diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 cup green olives pitted and drained
- 1 cup black olives pitted and drained
- 1/2 cup Pepperoncini Peppers Sliced, and Drained
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
- Cook the Rotini in well salted water, according to package instructions. Drain well.
- While the pasta is still warm, toss it with 1/2 cup vinaigrette in a salad bowl large enough to accommodate the finished salad.
- When the pasta has cooled to room temperature, add the rest of the salad ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, to taste, and toss well. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
You can never have too many pasta salads! My recipe box is bursting with them, here are some of my favorites:
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Chicken Pasta Salad
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Caesar Pasta Salad
I know you’re going to love this antipasto salad just as much as I do. All the layers of flavor and the elegant presentation are unequaled by most pasta salads. I can’t wait to hear what you think about it in the comments below, enjoy!