Delicious pasta salad for your next cookout, BBQ, or potluck. Antipasto Pasta Salad is loaded with salami, mozzarella, black olives, artichokes, pepperoncini peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Vibrant oil and vinegar dressing is the perfect finish for this Italian inspired pasta salad.
Summer and warm weather is here and this means it’s time for picnics, backyard parties, and intimate family outdoor dinners. While the weather is nice, I love to pack a picnic basket with goodies and go to the park. Even if it’s just the playground for the kids, picnic will make it much more fun.
And trust me, our crowd loves to have all these great side dishes with BBQ meats. I usually have several comforting and refreshing sides and especially a choice between the creamy macaroni salad, and oil and vinegar based pasta salad. Everyone always loves this Antipasto Pasta Salad at each and every cookout.
What’s not to love? This salad is packed with classic flavors featured in an Italian Antipasto platter and tossed with a simple and delicious dressing. To make the dressing, you’d just combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs in a mason jar and give it a good shake.
What is Antipasto?
Antipasto is a traditional Italian dish that comes at the beginning of the meal. You will most often find ingredients like cured meats, cheeses, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, and fresh garden vegetables. It is usually spread on a platter with a drizzle or a side of oil and vinegar.
HOW TO MAKE ANTIPASTO PASTA SALAD
Cook pasta in salted water according to the package, drain and cool completely before mixing in the other ingredients.
While pasta is cooking, that’s a good time to chop all other ingredients. Once you have cooled pasta, all you have to do is combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl except the dressing. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
To make the dressing, mix ingredients in a mason jar, close it, and shake it vigorously. When you’re ready to serve the salad, pour dressing over the pasta salad and mix well. Serve it right away.
CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME?
Of course! You can mix all the ingredients for the pasta salad ahead of time except the dressing. Pasta tends to soak up oil and vinegar like a sponge so if you dress is ahead of time, the salad will be dry. To make sure your pasta salad is not dry, mix in the dressing right before serving.
You can make this salad without the dressing the day before and store it covered in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend making it any more than 1 day before to that tomatoes don’t get wilted and other ingredients stay fresh.
Store any leftover pasta salad in the refrigerator covered air-tight. Like I mentioned above, pasta will soak up the dressing so you may need to add a little more oil and vinegar when serving leftovers.
MORE BBQ SIDES TO TRY
Your BBQ won’t be complete without the creamy Macaroni Salad, Southern Potato Salad, and of course, refreshing Cucumber Salad. If you like corn salad, this Avocado Corn Salad is a crowd favorite. And of course, everyone will fall in love with this Greek Tortellini Salad.
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Antipasto Pasta Salad
- 1 lb rotini or fusilli
- 2.25 oz sliced black olives drained
- 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini peppers can substitute banana peppers
- 1 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 8 oz chopped artichoke hearts
- 8 oz chopped salami
- 8 oz mini fresh mozzarella cheese balls or chopped fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning*
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
- Cook pasta in salted water according to the package instructions, drain, and cool completely before mixing in the other ingredients.
- Dice all the other ingredients for pasta salad while pasta is cooking and cooling.
- Combine pasta, cheese, salami, olives, artichokes, peppers, and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
- In a small jar with a lid, combine oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and shake vigorously for a few seconds. Pour over the pasta salad and mix everything together.
- Serve right away.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on June 29, 2012. Updated May 18, 2020.