An Antipasto Pasta Salad loaded with hunks of cheese, pepperoni, salami, black olives, peppers, artichoke hearts and more. Dressed in a nutty and tangy simple, balsamic vinaigrette.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
I’m always in search of great salads that I can bring to teacher luncheons, potlucks or barbecues, or honestly, make on Sunday and nosh on it all week long for lunch.
Start with a good quality pasta, you can do tricolor or plain, though tricolor sure is pretty. You can use any type of pasta, just make sure it has some ridges or twists in it to help hold the dressing.
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, you don’t want it to fall apart in your salad.
While the pasta cooks, grab a nice big mixing bowl and begin by chopping the bell peppers. Any color peppers you like really, I like red, orange and yellow, plus add chopped English cucumbers for the green! YUMMY!
Chop the salami and pepperoni. Ideally it would be great to get the actual “sausage” and just dice, but I couldn’t find the one I wanted, so used pre-sliced and chopped those up well.
Slice cheeses into cubes; try different cheeses, you can use just one, here I used both Asiago and Smoked Mozzarella, Provolone or regular mozzarella would have been delicious too.
SIMPLE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
In a hurry? Buy a good quality bottle of balsamic dressing.
But this dressing is super easy to make! In a jar or container with lid; place olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and onion powder.
Shake vigorously to emulsify, or use an immersion blender.Pour dressing over pasta, tossing occasionally, making sure the entire salad is coated in dressing.
Add more or less dressing to taste, refrigerate any leftover dressing (if you have any) and use on any salad. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat, or may be served immediately, EVEN BETTER the next day!
This salad is like a meal, makes a great lunch or side dish! Mangia!
Antipasto Pasta Salad
For the Pasta Salad
- 1 lb tricolor or plain fusilli (or other textured or twisty pasta), cooked according to package directions
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper and/or English cucumber chopped
- ¼ lb genoa salami, diced (good quality)
- ¼ lb pepperoni sausage, diced (good quality)
- 1 14 oz can brined or marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
- 6 oz can sliced black olives, drained
- ¼ lb asiago cheese, diced
- ¼ lb smoked mozzarella, diced (try different cheeses, smoke or regular provolone)
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, or a tablespoon dried
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- In a large pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cool water.
- Dice peppers, salami, pepperoni and cheeses and toss in large mixing bowl. Add olives and artichokes. Add cooked pasta and toss to mix.
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar with a covered lid, shake vigorously to emulsify. Pour over pasta salad (to taste, might use entire jar, might not). Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Doubles or triples easily for a crowd, your dressing may not need to be doubled though.
- Change up your veggies to your liking. Have fresh zucchini, chop some up, only have yellow and red peppers, use an extra, try different meats, cheeses, olives.