What’s red and white and delizioso all over? This antipasto salad! Feast your eyes on my olive, salami, mozzarella, basil, tomato, and pepperoncini combo.
What if I told you there was a salad that was so flavorful and filling that you’ll forget you’re even eating a salad? Antipasto salad checks all those boxes and more. It’s an awesome starter for your next dinner party, a great dish to take to potlucks, and it’s a perfect side for grilled foods. It can easily be scaled to feed two people or fifty. Plus, it requires no cooking whatsoever—you just chop up all the ingredients, whisk the dressing together, and combine it all in a big bowl. What’s not to love? And if you want more salads to love check out my Tortellini Salad and my Mediterranean Salad!
How To Make Antipasto Salad
To make this antipasto salad, you need to whisk up a vinaigrette and prepare some curly rotini pasta. (Fun fact: rotini means “spirals” in Italian!) After you combine all of the ingredients in one happy bowl, adjust the seasoning as needed, and enjoy! As an added bonus, you can save the leftover vinaigrette for Up To Two Weeks.
What Is Antipasto?
Antipasto, which literally translates to “starter,” or even more literally, to “before-meal,” is the first course of a full Italian meal. It’s meant to bring people together and awaken the appetite. An antipasto is served at room temperature, and is typically composed of meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It often includes olives and artichokes, and sometimes includes fish! Antipasti have been around since at least medieval times.
What Is An Antipasto Salad?
An antipasto salad is one of the most versatile dishes you can have in your repertoire. It’s a combination of some of the best things Italian. It can be an appetizer, a salad course, or a whole meal in a bowl. An antipasto salad can be made up of lots of different cured meats, cheeses, vegetables, and olives. In some regions, antipasto can even include cured fish.
SAVE THIS ANTIPASTO SALAD
TO YOUR PASTA OR SALAD BOARD FOR LATER
WE’D LOVE BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!
What Ingredients Do You Need To Make An Antipasto Platter?
The vinaigrette for my antipasto platter uses olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, minced shallots, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper! Sounds elegant already, huh! Italian seasoning, in case you didn’t know, uses some combination of basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, pepper, garlic, sage, and marjoram.
The salad itself is made from rotini pasta, torn romaine lettuce, halved grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, julienned bell pepper, julienned basil leaves, garbanzo beans, diced mozzarella, cubed Genoa salami, pitted green olives, pitted black olives, and sliced pepperoncini peppers. Pepperoncini are sweet and tangy. You have probably encountered them in a Papa John’s pizza box!
Recipes Notes For Antipasto Salad
Dressing: I use a homemade vinaigrette with red wine and balsamic vinegars, dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning in this antipasto salad recipe. Here’s why I choose Dijon over other mustards.
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.
It’s your salad and you can dress it how you want to!
Cheese: 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?
Onions: Red onions are more traditional for antipasto salad, but if you don’t have any on hand, shallots would work too. Since they’re raw, it’s probably best not to use a super pungent variety.
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.
Peppers: I use a combination of fresh red bell peppers and pickled pepperoncini because I like the contrast. The crunch of the bell peppers and the acidity of the pepperoncini add a nice extra level of texture and flavor to this salad.
If you have a jar of roasted red peppers rather than fresh, they would add a nice, deep sweetness to the salad. Pepperoncini isn’t super spicy, but you could substitute a sweeter pickled pepper for it if you have sensitive taste buds.
Olives: Olives can be a really polarizing subject. People seem to either love them or hate them. If you happen to be in the “hate” camp, you can just leave them out entirely and your antipasto salad won’t suffer a bit.
Lighten It Up: This recipe could easily be made healthier by changing the quantities of some of the ingredients. Using less meat and 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.
Make Ahead: You can mix up the vinaigrette and get everything sliced and diced ahead of time, then just throw it all in a bowl and toss it together right before serving.
I wouldn’t recommend mixing the whole salad together too far in advance to preserve the textures of all the individual ingredients. But if you have everything ready to go the night before, stirring it all together when you’re ready to eat it will be a snap.
How Many Will This Salad Serve: This salad serves 4-6 people as an entree or 6-8 as a first course.
Antipasto Salad Recipe
If you’d like genuine taste of Italy, this Antipasto salad will get you there. Replete with some of my favorite Italian ingredients/ flavors. Bonus, the kids might not realize their eating veggies as the pursuit that pasta, and other goodies. Prego!
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Portillo’s Chopped Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
Best To Serve With:
- 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 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
- To Taste Salt
- To Taste Pepper
- 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.