Everyone loves this Easy Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad! It’s filled with all the delicious flavors of your favorite Italian antipasto tossed with a homemade dressing. My go-to recipe for a quick meal, picnic, or potluck.
Super delicious – Super easy!
I love, love, love the flavors in this Antipasto Pasta Salad. Marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, zesty olives, juicy cherry tomatoes, tangy pepperoncini, creamy little balls of mozzarella, and parmesan all tossed with pasta in a homemade dressing. It really couldn’t be any easier!
Perfect for picnics, barbeques, and potlucks
Picnic season is a comin’ my friends. Time for picnics, barbeques, and potlucks. We love going for a hike and taking along this Antipasto Pasta Salad. It’s also the first thing to disappear at a potluck. The ingredients in this are pretty stable, so it does wonderfully on a buffet table. It’s delicious both cold and room temperature.
An easy make-ahead dinner
Antipasto Pasta Salad also makes a perfect quick, make-ahead dinner. Just pull it out of the fridge and done! You can whip this up in the morning or even the night before. The flavors are even better when they have a chance to meld together.
Perfect for meal prep
This Antipasto Pasta Salad is perfect for meal prep. I’m a little leery of a lot of meal prep ideas. Some foods can get kind of funky sitting for a few days in the fridge. Antipasto is a different story. Antipasto ingredients have a longer shelf life and even improve on sitting. I love making a batch of this on Sunday to enjoy for lunch during the week. (I actually really love it for breakfast.) The only change I might make for the salad to last longer is to not cut the tomatoes in half so they stay fresher.
How to make Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
I’ve used my favorite Antipasto here, but you can whatever you love and whatever you have on hand. Some ideas are:
Marinated artichokes – This must be my favorite thing on the antipasto tray. You can buy a jar of marinated artichokes (the easiest way), pick some up from the deli, or try my Easy Marinated Artichokes (the most delicious way). My Easy Marinated Artichokes take minutes to make from canned artichokes. They’re much cheaper than jarred artichokes and way much more delicious.
Roasted Red Peppers – Roasted red peppers add one of the most important, complex flavors to the Antipasto Pasta Salad and a burst of color. You can find them jarred, pick some up in the deli, or make your own. If you don’t have roasted red peppers, you can chop up a fresh red bell pepper and add it.
Olives – Olives are another one of the important flavors of this pasta salad. I don’t actually like olives. I’d never eat one by itself. But the flavor they give to the pasta salad as the flavors combine and mix together is wonderful.
Cherry tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes give this Antipasto Pasta Salad a beautiful pop of color and a juicy, fresh deliciousness.
Pepperoncini – Tangy and zesty pepperoncini add color and zing. You can either slice them or leave them whole.
Cheese – I always use finely grated parmesan cheese in this Antipasto Pasta Salad. It’s rich, umami flavor is indispensable. Other additions are creamy, little fresh mozzarella balls or diced provolone.
Salami – I didn’t add any salami to this pasta salad to keep things vegetarian, but adding some chopped salami would add a delicious salty, smoky flavor.
Parsley – A big handful of chopped fresh parsley adds a fresh flavor and vibrant color.
Other ideas for add-ins: red onion, pepperoni, basil, a spoon of pesto, sundried tomato, chopped fennel, diced cheeses, Italian meats, or any kind of grilled, roasted, or marinated veggies.
Antipasto Pasta Salad Dressing
I use a homemade Italian dressing but you can use your favorite or even store bought for simplicity. Italian dressing is made with, vinegar, olive oil, dried herbs, garlic, a little sugar, a pinch of red pepper, and parmesan cheese. I sometimes make the dressing for this pasta salad with lemon juice instead of vinegar or a mix of both for a bright, fresh flavor.
Easy Italian Antipasto Salad
- 1 1 lb box of pasta such as cavatappi, penne, rotini, or fusilli (500g)
- 8 ounces 227g roasted red pepper, drained and chopped (from a 12oz jar (340g), from the deli, or homemade)
- 8 ounces 227g marinated artichokes, drained (from a 12oz jar (340g) or 1 batch of my Easy Marinated Artichokes)
- 10 ounces 280g cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
- 3.5 ounces 99g chopped olives, black, green, or mixed (about ¾ cup)
- 2 ounces 57g finely grated parmesan (1/2 cup)
- One bunch fresh parsley chopped (about 1oz, 28g)
- 8 ounces 227g fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
- Pepperoncini to taste, sliced or whole
- 1 small red onion chopped or sliced thin
For the dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic finely minced (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.
- Toss pasta with the rest of salad ingredients and dressing.
- Cover and refrigerate.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
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