This antipasto salad recipe is loaded with meats, cheese, pasta, and marinated veggies. It's an Italian take on pasta salad that you can easily make ahead of time for stress-free summer entertaining!
You may also like my Easy Antipasto Skewers for another quick appetizer.
Why you'll love it
I like to describe this as a salad for people who don't really like salad. Seriously! Between all the deli meats, pasta, and cheese, this hearty salad is extremely satisfying, and I have yet to meet someone who didn't devour it at a cookout or BBQ. This can be prepped while your pasta cooks, so the whole thing is ready in about 30 minutes.
So what is antipasto? It translates to "before the meal" in Italian. It's the first course and usually comprises an assortment of tasty goodies that are served as an appetizer. When we put them all together in one fabulous salad, the combination of bright flavors and textures totally shines. Every single bite has a burst of flavor.
- This salad is extremely flexible and forgiving! If you don't have a particular ingredient or would prefer to sub with something else, go for it. This salad will be delicious however you make it. It's the spirit of it that matters, not following the recipe to the letter.
Ingredients for it
- Pasta - we used fusilli, but any similar sized variety is fine
- Provolone cheese - it's rich and salty but not strong
- Olives - use your favorite. We like a mix of green and black olives
- Artichoke hearts - they add a tangy, hearty bite. Use a jar of marinated artichoke hearts that are packed in oil vs. canned ones. The extra flavor from the oil is wonderful!
- Salami and prosciutto - or pepperoni is fine. Dice them into bite-sized pieces. Prosciutto is a dry cured Italian ham.
- Pepperoncini peppers - they're mild and tangy. You'll find a jar in the olive aisle.
- Roasted red peppers - we picked up a jar, but you could swap for a fresh red bell pepper no problem!
- Onion - red onion is the best variety to eat raw since it's not as sharp
- Fresh basil - for a herby freshness
- Tomato - honestly, pick what looks best at grocery store
- Parmesan cheese - to tie it all together and add a delicious cheesy quality
- Dressing - olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, honey, and Dijon make a simple Italian vinaigrette!
How to make antipasto salad
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain thoroughly and cool.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the homemade vinaigrette.
- Prep the remaining salad ingredients and add to a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing, season with salt & pepper, and enjoy!
Substitutions and variations
- You can easily change up the meats. Mortadella would be delicious too!
- Vary the cheese. Try swapping the provolone for mozzarella balls or even feta, although it's not Italian, but we don't judge here.
- If you're serving this right away, toss in a handful of fresh baby spinach, arugula, or some romaine lettuce if you're craving more fresh veggies.
- You could definitely throw in some fresh herbs from your garden in addition to the basil.
- Leftovers of this antipasto salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container, and it's actually a great make ahead or meal prep salad too! You can prep it in advance, and I'd recommend adding the dressing when you're ready to assemble and serve it so that the pasta doesn't absorb it.
- You could halve the recipe if you don't have a lot of people to feed. As a main course, this would feed 4 people quite easily since it's quite rich and protein-packed. For a side, it could feed 6-8 depending on portion size or what else it's served with.
What to serve with it
- Since it's packed with protein, veggies, and carbs, it definitely can be a meal in itself. Pair with a slice of crusty bread, and we're good to go for a tasty summer dinner.
- I always serve this at a cookout along with BBQ faves like these Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs as an irresistible side dish.
Questions about this antipasto salad? Let me know in the comments below!
- 1.5 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
- 8 ounces provolone cheese diced
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup assorted olives
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can artichoke hearts chopped
- 8 ounces salami or pepperoni diced
- 1/3 cup pepperoncini peppers chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers chopped
- 3 ounces prosciutto chopped
- 2 tablespoons red onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced thin
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- This salad is very forgiving. Ingredient quantities are just suggestions, so, for example, if you'd prefer to use up an entire container of something or skip an ingredient, that will work just fine.Boil the pasta, and once it's done, rinse it under cold water and let it drain thoroughly.
- Meanwhile, add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.
- Prep the remaining ingredients and add them to a large salad bowl.
- Toss everything together and season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 4+ as a main course (really depends on portion size and what else is served with it).
- Blog post includes more tips on substitutions and ways you can change this salad up if needed.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.