This Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad is a combination of all your favorite antipasto ingredients in a delicious pasta salad! A great combination of salami, olives, mozzarella, and your favorite veggies. The perfect dish to bring to any summer picnic or family get together!
So here is a pasta salad that some parts could be made in small steps the night before. It may seem like a lot of prep to make this Italian antipasto pasta salad all at once, and I'm not saying you can't do the day of. But when you are doing other dishes for a party or your time is limited, you could easily get so much done the night before.
As I was putting together this post I realized a key component of this pasta salad is the fabulous marinated mushrooms. And here's the thing, you can find marinated mushrooms at most markets, but it's so much better to make your own!
Originally published May 20, 2019 and updated on April, 2023.
- Why you'll love this antipasto pasta salad recipe?
- What is antipasto pasta salad?
- How to make your own marinated mushrooms?
- How to make an antipasto pasta salad
- What ingredients do you need for this Italian antipasto pasta salad
- How to make antipasto salad with pasta
- Expert Tips:
- SHOULD YOU RINSE COOKED PASTA?
- More like this:
- Best Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad Recipe
Why you'll love this antipasto pasta salad recipe?
- So easy to make
- It comes together with so many ingredients you may have already bought and have on hand to stay at home these past months
- Make it vegan and leave out the pepperoni or soppressata and use vegan mozzarella!
- It truly is the best Italian antipasto pasta salad!
What is antipasto pasta salad?
Antipasto pasta salad is a salad dish that combines elements of both antipasto and pasta salad. It typically includes a variety of cured meats, such as salami or prosciutto, as well as cheese, olives, marinated vegetables, and pasta. The ingredients are usually tossed in a dressing made with olive oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette dressing.
The dish originated in Italy and is often served as an appetizer or side dish at meals. It is a popular choice for picnics, potlucks, and other casual gatherings due to its versatility and easy preparation. The combination of savory meats, tangy vegetables, and tender pasta make for a delicious and satisfying salad that is sure to be a hit with both antipasto and pasta salad fans.
How to make your own marinated mushrooms?
Simply prep the mushrooms for this recipe the day before. Follow my easy marinated mushrooms recipe. The next day they get tossed with all the other ingredients in this fantastic antipasto pasta salad! Trust me when I tell you this will be your new summer go-to party dish (or any dish!).
If I tell you this was made for an Easter party would you believe me that it's taken me this long to get to posting it here? This is a creation of mom's and from back when she would do catering and her private chef jobs.
I let her go in the kitchen and do her thing and she promised me I could photograph it and document the steps.
How to make an antipasto pasta salad
We just love recipes that can be put together with things you find in your pantry and fresh ingredients you usually have on hand!
What ingredients do you need for this Italian antipasto pasta salad
Let's go over what goes in this delicious pasta salad. They are probably so many fresh and pantry ingredients you already have on hand. This is not just for parties. It's a great pasta salad to make so you can have dinner on the table in no time!
Canned Artichokes. An instant way to add a colorful and delicious serving of veggies to any recipe. Yes, fresh artichokes do taste so much better! But there are great quality canned artichokes hearts you can find at most markets that are so convenient to use for dishes like this.
Canned Olives. Just a little extra amount of salt and adds a bit of fun to every bite for next to nothing on your grocery bill!
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Don’t skimp quality, as it's in important part of the flavor of this pasta salad. Yes, olive oil adds fat but it's a good fat.
Cherry Tomatoes. Juicy, sweet, and tasty year-round.
Marinated Mushrooms. The marinated mushrooms could be found at just about any market. We made our own by making a marinate of olive oil, hot pepper flakes, fresh parsley, a little garlic. Prep the mushrooms the day before so they sit in their delicious marinade and absorb all the flavors.
Chopped Garlic. I sometimes use garlic powder, but chopped garlic is the way to go for this pasta salad.
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice. Fresh lemon juice gives a little zing to this recipe.
Mozzarella Cheese. I used the Galbani brand that they have at our market. I love the way it holds it's shape when you chop in large chunks and the flavor is perfect for a dish like this. You could also use fresh mozzarella balls. Be sure to add them at the end.
Peppers. I used mild banana pepper rings. If you can handle spicy, choose something with a kick. We kept it mild as kids were going to be eating this pasta salad.
The only cooking is prepping the pasta. It really should take about 10 minutes or less, depending on the pasta shape you use. We used rotini pasta. The quirky shape is fun for a party.
How to make antipasto salad with pasta
- Boil the pasta- Be sure you generously salt the pasta water! If you don’t add enough salt you will end up with blah and boring pasta.
- But only cook the pasta to al dente- A pasta salad like this absorbs the flavors and gets better. You can check you pasta while it’s cooking to see if it’s almost ready and then be sure to drain just when it’s al dente (to the tooth).
- Prep the ingredients that can sit in the dressing- In general the olives, tomatoes, scallions and artichoke hearts do very well sitting in the pasta salad after it’s been dressed.
- Combine the pasta salad- Mix the antipasto salad to combine all the ingredients and then add the dressing. Start with half of the vinaigrette and you will be adding more as you mix and check the salt.
- Just before serving, add the remaining ingredients- I like to add the salami (or soppressata), mozzarella (I used the Galbani block that is also great for shredding but you could use fresh mozzarella balls), and basil just before serving.
- Enjoy the leftovers—This antipasto pasta salad tastes even better the next day! Be sure to store in the fridge and it will last for up to 3 days.
- Use high-quality ingredients to make the salad taste its best. Look for fresh vegetables and herbs, and choose a good quality olive oil and vinegar for the vinaigrette.
- Be sure to cook the pasta al dente, so it doesn't become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients.
- For best results, allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the pasta to absorb some of the dressing.
- If you're making the salad ahead of time, wait to add the salami, mozzarella, parsley, and basil until just before serving. This will keep the salad from becoming soggy.
- Don't be afraid to customize the salad with your favorite ingredients. Consider adding roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, or sun-dried tomatoes to make it your own.
- If you don't have rotini, feel free to use any other pasta shape you like. Penne, fusilli, or farfalle would all work well in this recipe.
- If you don't like olives, you can leave them out or substitute them with capers.
- Instead of marinated mushrooms, you can use fresh mushrooms that have been sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
- If you don't have soppressata or pepperoni, you can use any cured meat you like, such as prosciutto, salami, or ham.
- To make the salad vegetarian, simply omit the meat and add more vegetables, such as roasted red peppers or grilled zucchini.
SHOULD YOU RINSE COOKED PASTA?
I get asked sometimes about rinsing pasta. No, we never rinse pasta. If you rinse the pasta you'll wash away all starch that helps the dressing stick to the pasta.
The best way is to cook pasta according to package directions and then drain well.
Yes, you can make this salad up to 3 days in advance. Just be sure to wait to add the salami, mozzarella, parsley, and basil until just before serving.
Yes, you can use any type of vinegar you like, such as balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
While fresh herbs will give the salad the best flavor, you can use dried herbs if you don't have fresh. Just use about half the amount called for in the recipe.
Yes, you can use any type of cheese you like, such as feta, goat cheese, or Parmesan.
No, it's not recommended to freeze Italian pasta salad. Freezing can change the texture and consistency of the ingredients, making them mushy once thawed.
Yes, you can prepare all the ingredients except for fresh basil ahead of time. It's best to keep the ingredients in separate containers and mix them together right before serving. Remember to keep the dressing separate.
You can make pasta salad up to 5 days in advance, but it's best when eaten the day of or the day after it's made.
To store leftover pasta salad, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Add dressing right before eating to prevent the pasta from absorbing too much dressing.
If properly stored, your leftover pasta salad should last for around 4-5 days in the fridge.
There are a few common mistakes to avoid when making pasta salad, including overcooking the pasta, using too much dressing, not seasoning properly, using mushy or bland vegetables, and not letting the salad chill for long enough. By avoiding these mistakes, you can make a delicious and satisfying pasta salad.
Yes, antipasto salad typically includes pasta. The dish combines elements of both antipasto and pasta salad, and often includes cured meats, cheese, olives, marinated vegetables, and pasta. The ingredients are usually tossed in a dressing made with olive oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette dressing.
No, antipasto does not mean no pasta. Antipasto is an Italian term that refers to a type of appetizer or starter course that traditionally includes cured meats, cheese, olives, marinated vegetables, and other small bites. While antipasto dishes may not always include pasta, antipasto pasta salad is a popular variation that combines both antipasto and pasta salad elements.
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DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Best Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad Recipe
- ANTIPASTO SALAD
- 1 lb dry pasta I used rotini
- 1 15- ounce can extra large black olives drained
- 1 15- ounce can quartered artichoke hearts drained and each quartered artichoke heart cut in half length-wise
- 1 8- ounce container grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup marinated mushrooms cut in small pieces
- 4 scallions cut in small pieces (not the green ends)
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup mild banana pepper rings
- 1 9- ounce soppressata or pepperoni cut into small cubes
- 1 8 ounce container fresh mozzarella pearls (or larger fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
- sea salt-to taste
- fresh parsley chopped
- fresh basil chopped
- 1 batch Italian Herb Vinaigrette see below
- ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1 lemon the juice and zest-I used organic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- PASTA SALAD
- Cook the pasta in a large stockpot of generously salted water al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta.
- In a large bowl, add pasta, olives, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, scallions, chopped garlic, banana pepper rings and half of the vinaigrette into the bowl.
- Toss well to combine.
- Refrigerate until you're ready to serve
- Just before serving add salami, mozzarella, parsley and basil.
- Toss to combine and taste. If needed, add additional dressing and serve. If needed, add more salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- TO MAKE THE ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE
- In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together until combined.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.