Loaded with salami, pepperoni, lots of veggies, mozzarella & a homemade zesty Italian dressing! This antipasto pasta salad is simple, hearty & the perfect combination of classic Italian flavors!
Pasta salads are a must when it comes to summer – wouldn’t you agree?! Which means this Italian antipasto pasta salad has to be on your menu! Cured meats, lots of veggies, fresh basil, all the cheese …ohhh I could go on and on, it’s just too good! Plus it’s easy to make and has just the right amount of zestiness and spice! This really is the BEST Italian pasta salad!
Ingredients For Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Pasta: Rotini or bow tie (farfalle) pasta work the best for this recipe. (Their shape holds up much better to the rest of your ingredients.)
- Salami & pepperoni: You can use pre-sliced meats or buy them whole & cut them youself. (I personally like buying the whole tube and cutting them into larger chunks.)
- Tomatoes: Use cherry tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine for the best results. (They have such great flavor!)
- Canned artichoke hearts: Look for canned artichokes in a brine and not marinated. (Marinated artichokes are oily and can cause your salad to become too oily.)
- Pepperoncini: Pre-sliced prepperoncinis are the way to go! (So much easier!)
- Olives: I love using a mixture of kalamata olives and green olives for this recipe. (They look so pretty together.😉)
- Onion: Red onion works the best! (It’s sweeter and more mild in flavor than white and yellow onion.)
- Mozzarella: I love fresh mozzarella in this pasta salad! Use mozzarella pearls for ease (there’s no cutting involved) or buy the larger balls and cut them in half.
- Fresh basil: A must! Using fresh herbs elevates your pasta salad and adds so much flavor!
- Italian vinaigrette: My homemade Italian dressing pairs perfectly with this salad! Or if you’re in a pinch, store bought Italian dressing works too.
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 thrown into a bowl.😉)
For this antipasto pasta salad, we added pasta to the mix making it a fun side dish or hearty enough to serve as an entree. This salad would be fantastic served at picnics, potlucks, backyard bbq’s or anytime you need to feed a large crowd!
How To Make Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
1. Make your vinaigrette. Whisk your vinaigrette ingredients together then keep it chilled in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.
2. Cook the pasta. Cook and drain your pasta according to the package’s direction. Let it cool completely before adding it to your salad.
3. Prepare your salad ingredients. While the pasta is cooling, cut the rest of your ingredients and add them to a large bowl.
4. 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 it’s fully coated and serve immediately. (Or keep it chilled in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.)
- How do I store my leftover pasta salad? Pour your pasta salad in an air tight container and keep it stored in the fridge. (It’s best to keep leftover dressing to add to your salad right before you’re ready to eat. The pasta will absorb some of the dressing as it sits.)
- How long will my leftover pasta salad last in the fridge? It should stay good for 4-5 days if stored correctly.
- Can I freeze my Italian pasta salad? No I would not suggest freezing it. Freezing can alter the consistency of your ingredients and turn them to mush once thawed.
- Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Absolutely! Everything except the fresh basil can easily be cut beforehand. I would suggest keeping your ingredients in separate containers and mixing them together right before serving. (Always keep your dressing separate!)
- How many days in advance can I make this pasta salad? Your pasta salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days but it’s best when eaten the day of or the day after you make it.
Why you’ll love this antipasto pasta salad recipe
- So easy! Most of your ingredients are pre-sliced or jarred so prepping this salad takes no time at all!
- Variety of textures and flavors! Juicy tomatoes, pepperoncinis, salty olives, creamy mozzarella cheese…It all just works!
- Hearty enough for a meal! Loaded with cured meats, fresh veggies and Italian cheese! This pasta salad can easily be served as a main course or a more substantial side dish for potlucks.
- Easy to customize! Add more or less of any ingredient you want! (The amounts listed are really more like guidelines.😉)
Need it gluten free? Replace regular pasta with your favorite gluten free pasta!
Need it dairy free? Omit the mozzarella balls or use dairy free mozzarella shreds instead!
More pasta salad recipes you might like:
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Easy Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
For the antipasto salad:
- 8 oz. dry rotini pasta (or your favorite short pasta)
- 9 oz. hard salami, chopped (or ¾ cup presliced)
- 6.5 oz. pepperoni, chopped (or ½ cup presliced)
- 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup olives, pitted & halved (kalamata, green or a mixture of the two)
- ½ cup pepperoncini, sliced
- 8 oz. mozzarella pearls
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
For the Italian vinaigrette:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
To make the vinaigrette:
- Whisk your vinaigrette ingredients together 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 then set it aside to cool completely.
- Once the pasta is cool, add it to a large bowl along with your salami, pepperoni, tomatoes, artichokes, pepperoncini, olives, mozzarella, onion and fresh basil. Pour your desired amount of dressing over the top and toss the salad until it's fully coated.
- Serve immediately or let it chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.