Easy Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad – the epitome of summer pasta salads! It’s loaded with fresh pasta, cured meats, cheese & a variety of veggies all tossed in a zesty homemade Italian vinaigrette! Easy to put together & incredibly flavorful – it’s always a potluck favorite!

A serving bowl filled with Italian antipasto pasta salad surrounded by fresh cherry tomatoes and basil

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 used to make an Italian antipasto pasta salad
Ingredients used to make a red wine vinaigrette for Italian antipasto pasta salad

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Pasta: Rotini or bow tie (farfalle) pasta work the best for this recipe. (Their shape is the perfect vessel allowing the dressing to get into all their nooks and crannies.)

Salami & pepperoni: You can use pre-sliced meats or buy them in a log & cut them yourself. (We usually like larger chunks of meat so I prefer to cut them myself.)

Canned artichoke hearts: Use canned artichokes in a brine for the best results. (I’ll usually buy artichoke quarters so there’s less chopping involved.) I’d suggest not using marinated artichokes. They’re more oily and can cause your salad to feel greasy and heavy.

Tomatoes: Use cherry tomatoes or tomatoes-on-the-vine for the best flavor.

Pepperoncini: We always use pre-sliced pepperoncini for ours!

Olives: Olives are an essential ingredients to any antipasto platter. I love using a mix of Kalamata and green olives (stuffed with the pimiento) for this recipe.

Onion: Red onion is always the best for pasta salads! (It’s more mild and doesn’t have a strong onion flavor like white or yellow onion.)

Fresh mozzarella: Every pasta salad recipe NEEDS cheese! I’d suggest using mozzarella pearls for this one – they’re the perfect size and there’s no extra cutting involved!

Fresh basil: Using fresh herbs is a great way to elevate any pasta salad dish! You can add as little or as much fresh basil as you want – it pairs perfectly with the rest of your ingredients!

Olive oil: We use Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil whenever we make homemade dressings. It’s lighter and mild in flavor so it won’t overpower the ingredients in your pasta salad.

Red wine vinegar: Another essential ingredient! The zippiness of the vinegar adds so much flavor to this dish.

Garlic: You’ll need 2 minced garlic cloves for the vinaigrette.

Spices: Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes are needed to create a zesty Italian vinaigrette.

A large wooden serving bowl filled with Italian antipasto pasta salad

What Is Antipasto?

Antipasto is the traditional first course served in a formal Italian meal. It usually consists of cured meats, olives, cheeses and pickled veggies arranged on a platter where everyone serves themselves. The purpose for any antipasti is to help “stimulate the appetite”.

How is this antipasto pasta salad slightly different? We’re tossing it all in a bowl and adding pasta to the mix! With the addition of pasta, the salad easily becomes a main dish or a hearty side that’s bursting with flavor. You can serve it for potlucks, 4th of July parties, bridal/baby showers or anytime you need to feed a large crowd!

A small white bowl filled homemade red wine vinaigrette for pasta salad
A large mixing bowl filled with ingredients used to make an antipasto pasta salad
A large clear mixing bowl filled with freshly made Italian antipasto pasta salad

How To Make Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions then drain it and set the pasta aside to cool completely.

2. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or jar then keep it chilled in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the salad.

3. Prepare your salad ingredients. Cut the salami, pepperoni and tomatoes , slice the olives and red onion and thinly sliced the fresh basil.

4. Mix & chill. Once the pasta is cool, add it to a large bowl with the rest of your ingredients and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until is fully coated. (At this point you can serve it immediately or keep it chilled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.)

5. Serve. Sprinkle shredded parmesan (if desired) and extra fresh basil over each individual portion and serve.

A large wooden serving bowl filled with antipasto pasta salad sitting next to fresh basil and cherry tomatoes

Storing

This pasta salad keeps well in the refrigerator making it an ideal option for prepped lunches or a make-ahead dinner!

Keep your leftover pasta salad stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It should stay good for up to 4-5 days if stored properly. (Keep any leftover vinaigrette you may have too! I’d suggest tossing the salad in a little extra vinaigrette right before serving again. The pasta tends to absorb the vinaigrette while it sits so a quick toss in extra dressing will keep it moist and flavorful!) I would not suggest freezing your pasta salad.

Looking to prep this salad beforehand? All ingredients (except the fresh basil) can be cut and stored separately or all together in a large bowl. Always keep the vinaigrette separate until right before serving.

A close up photo of Italian antipasto pasta salad topped with sliced fresh basil

Why you’ll love this antipasto pasta salad recipe!

  • So easy! Most of these pasta salad ingredients are pre-sliced or jarred so prepping takes no time at all!
  • Perfect for a crowd! This recipe makes A LOT of pasta salad making it a great option for parties. Plus it’s loaded with protein & veggies so you can easily serve it as the main course or a hearty side dish!
  • Customizable! Add more or less of any ingredient you want! For a gluten free version, use your favorite gluten free pasta instead!

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

A serving bowl filled with Italian antipasto pasta salad surrounded by fresh cherry tomatoes and basil
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5 from 3 votes

Easy Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad – the epitome of summer pasta salads! It's loaded with fresh pasta, cured meats, cheese & a variety of veggies all tossed in a zesty homemade Italian vinaigrette! Easy to put together & incredibly flavorful, it's always a potluck favorite!
Prep Time17 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: antipasto, homemade vinaigrette, Italian, italian vinaigrette, pasta salad, pasta salad recipes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

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
  • 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

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package's directions then drain it and set the pasta aside to cool completely.
  • Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or jar then keep it chilled in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Prepare your salad ingredients. Cut the salami, pepperoni and tomatoes , slice the olives and red onion and thinly sliced the fresh basil.
  • Mix & chill. Once the pasta is cool, add it to a large bowl with the rest of your ingredients and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until is fully coated. (At this point you can serve it immediately or keep it chilled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.)
  • Serve. Sprinkle shredded parmesan (if desired) and extra fresh basil over each individual portion and serve.

Notes

*The amounts listed for the salad ingredients are suggested amounts. If you prefer more or less of an ingredient please feel free to alter the recipe to your personal preference.

More pasta salad recipes you might like:

10 Comments

  1. How much sliced pepperoncini do you use?
    Can’t wait to make this !

    • Hi Karen! I used about a 1/2 cup of pepperoncini. But you can use as little or as much as you prefer. I can’t wait to hear what you think! (This is one of my favorite pasta salads! 🙂 )

  2. I made this last night for a family party and everyone RAVED about it! I doubled it and made it with gluten free pasta ((tinkyada) it holds up the best) no one could tell it was GF. So good! Thank you!!

  3. Teresa Contreras

    Caitlin, would love to have nutrition facts. Looks yummy. Want to try it soon.

    • Hi there! Unfortunately I don’t have the nutrition facts for this dish yet. I’m still working on providing them for my recipes. I’m so sorry! Hoping to have them available soon!

  4. This one sounds delicious. I have never tasted artichoke so this one ingredient I’m not sure of but I will give it a try. Of course I love pasta salad so it’s a winner already. Thanks for sharing this one. **

    • Hi Judy! We love artichoke – especially in this pasta salad! You can definitely leave it out though if you’re not a fan. (It will still be delicious!😊)

  5. Have not made yet but it looks delicious will be trying it in about a week for grandson birthday

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