Salami & pepperoni, lots of veggies, creamy mozzarella & a homemade spicy Italian dressing! This is one tasty dish you won’t want to miss!
Pasta salads have been my jam this summer! (Seriously, I think I’m up to about 3-4 different versions now?!) But this Italian antipasto pasta salad is quickly becoming a family favorite! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard my dad rave about a “salad” more than this one…so that right there tells me this one’s a winner. It’s a little heartier than my normal Italian pasta salad but with those added ingredients comes even more flavor too! And it’s so easy to customize! Check it out and let me know what you think!
First off, what is antipasto salad?
Antipasto is traditionally the first course served in a formal Italian meal. It usually consisits of cured meats, olives, cheeses and pickled veggies. (Basically think of a charcuterie board on steriods and there ya go!)
So what then is an antipasto pasta salad? You guess it! We just threw all these yummy ingredients together in a bowl, added some pasta and homemade dresssing and viola! Now we have a delicious pasta salad made from a very traditional Italian dish.
Ingredients for chopped Italian antipasto pasta salad
- Pasta: I love using bow tie or rotini noodles for this pasta salad recipe. (Feel free to use your favorite pasta shape though!)
- Salami: Use pre-sliced salami to cut down on prep time. (Genoa and peppered salami are both great options for this recipe!)
- Pepperoni: Try using pre-sliced pepperoni! (We love getting our pepperoni sliced frome the deli. It’s much bigger in size and you can change the thickness if you want too.)
- Tomatoes: Use grape or cherry tomatoes for the best results. (I personally think these have the best flavor!)
- Canned artichoke hearts: Look for artichokes that are canned in a brine and not marinated. (Marinated artichokes can be very oily which could clash with your dressing.)
- Pepperoncinis: Use presliced jarred pepperoncinis.
- Olives: I love using a mixture of kalamata olives and manzanilla olives for this recipe. (Manzanilla olives are the green ones with the little pimento stuffed inside.)
- Red onion: Adds texture to your pasta salad!
- Mozzarella pearls: Use fresh mozzarella balls if possible for the best results! (They’re the tiney ones packaged in water.😉) Fresh mozzarella is much more creamy than “low moisture mozzarella” and really helps to balance out your flavors.
- Fresh basil: Adds so much freshness!
- Spicy Italian vinaigrette: Ties all your ingredients together! (This can also be replaced with your favorite Italian dressing too.)
How to make Italian antipasto pasta salad
- Make your vinaigrette. Whisk your vinaigrette ingredients together, then set it aside while you prepare the rest of your salad. (I like to keep mine chilled in the fridge.)
- Cook your pasta. Cook and drain your pasta according to the package’s direction. Let it cool completely before adding it to your salad.
- Chop your salad ingredients. While the pasta is cooling, cut the rest of your ingredients and add them to a large bowl.
- Mix your salad together! Once the pasta is cool, add it to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until everything is coated and serve immediately. (Or keep your salad chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.)
Why you’ll love this antipasto pasta salad recipe
- Easy to make! Most of these ingredients come presliced or jarred so prepping this salad takes no time at all!
- So many textures and flavors! Juicy tomatoes, salty olives, tangy pepperoncinis, creamy mozzarella… I could keep going but you get the idea!
- Hearty & delicious! This pasta salad is loaded with cured meats, fresh veggies and mozzarella cheese! It’s a great option for a main course or even a hearty side dish for a potluck!
- Easy to customize! Add more or less of any ingredient you want! (The amounts listed are really more like guidelines anyways.)
Need it gluten free? Just swap in your favorite gluten free pasta!
Need it dairy free? Omit the mozzarella or use dairy free mozzarella instead!
More Italian recipes you might like:
- Easy Pizza Pasta Salad
- Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]
Easy Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
For the antipasto salad:
- 3 cups dry pasta (bow tie or rotini)
- ½ cup sliced salami, quartered
- ½ cup sliced pepperoni, quartered or halved
- 1 cup canned artichoke quarters
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup kalamata olives, halved
- ½ cup manzanilla olives (green olives stuffed with pimento), halved
- ½ cup pepperoncini, pre-sliced
- 1 8oz. package mozzarella pearls
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
- ½ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
For the spicy Italian vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
- ⅛-¼ tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
To make the vinaigrette:
- Whisk all your ingredients together in a bowl then set it aside while you prepare the rest of your salad.
To make the pasta salad:
- Cook your pasta according to the package's directions. Set it aside to cool completely once done.
- Once the pasta has cooled, add it to a large bowl along with your salami, pepperoni, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, red onion, both types of olives, mozzarella pearls and basil. Pour your desired amount of dressing over the top and toss it until everything is fully coated.
- Serve immediately or keep it chilled in the fridge until you're ready to eat.