Skip to Content

Antipasto Pasta Salad

This Antipasto Pasta Salad is full of pasta, veggies, meats, and cheese all tossed with a homemade red wine vinegar dressing. It’s super easy to make and is absolutely packed with flavor!

When I think of pasta salad, I always think of summer. It’s a favorite at every barbecue, picnic, and potluck.

This yummy version celebrates the delicious flavors of Italian antipasto, and it’s the perfect summer side dish – or it could be a meal all by itself!

Now, I’m not Italian, but I think I must have been in another life because I love the food so much!

In Italian cooking, antipasto is the first course of a meal, and it usually consists of various cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated veggies. YUM!

Combine that with some pasta, toss it all with a quick and easy homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing, and you’ve got yourself one super delicious, crowd-pleasing dish that’s perfect to serve at any summer picnic, cookout or barbecue!

But, hey, this Antipasto Pasta Salad is not just for picnics! I often make a batch and keep it in the fridge, and we eat it for lunch or a light supper (or maybe even a midnight snack) throughout the week.

That’s actually how I got to know and love this pasta salad. Every so often in the summer, my mom would make a double batch of this recipe, and she put it in this huge Tupperware bowl in the fridge so that we could grab some whenever we wanted. It went quick!

large bowl of pasta salad with a serving spoon

Back then, I picked out the olives. Now I love them (Kalamata olives are my favorite, so that’s what I use, but you can use any kind you like)!

Speaking of which, that’s one of the awesome things about this salad. You can make it however you want! You could add even more yummy stuff (mushrooms, artichokes and pepperoncini come to mind) OR if you don’t like something (like olives), you can leave it out.

Plus, this pasta salad gets even better as it sits in the fridge – everything absorbs the dressing and the flavors blend together – so it’s perfect for making ahead of time. In fact, you definitely should make it ahead!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:

  • Medium pasta shells
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Genoa salami (unsliced) – see note below
  • Pepperoni (unsliced) – see note below
  • Green bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Pitted olives (I use Kalamata olives)
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Note: I can usually find pre-packaged unsliced sticks of Genoa salami and pepperoni in the deli area of the grocery store or near the prepackaged lunchmeat. If not, I just ask the deli for unsliced pieces so I can cut it into cubes.

If all you can find is the pre-sliced stuff, go ahead and use it. Cut it into whatever size pieces you would like in your salad.

HOW TO MAKE IT:

three images showing the steps to make antipasto pasta salad
three images showing the steps to make antipasto pasta salad

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • Salt your pasta water! Bland pasta = bland salad.
  • Be careful not to overcook the pasta. Follow the package directions for cooking it to al dente. As the pasta salad sits, it will soak up the dressing and get a little softer.
  • Rinse the pasta with cold water immediately after cooking. This will stop the cooking and cool it down. You want the pasta to be completely cooled before you add the other ingredients.
  • Feel free to switch up the pasta. Pretty much any shape will do, although I like using smaller shapes like shells, ditalini, or even orzo.
  • I use a regular block of mozzarella cheese (not fresh mozzarella) because it holds up better and longer in this salad even after several days in the fridge.
  • You can eat this salad right away, but it definitely benefits from sitting in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. This gives the flavors a chance to meld and makes it even more delicious!
  • The pasta will soak up a good bit of the dressing as it sits in the fridge. If you want that glossy, just-dressed appearance when serving, either hold back on some of the dressing before chilling or make some extra dressing and then stir it into the salad right before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
pasta salad in a white bowl with a fork

Summer is almost here (finally!), and this pasta salad will be on my table many, many times throughout the season!

I hope you try this recipe for Antipasto Pasta Salad and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

michelle signature

image that states follow now cook this on pinterest for more simple and delicious recipes, click here
image that states if you make this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment below, thanks
antipasto pasta salad in a white bowl with a fork

Antipasto Pasta Salad

This Antipasto Pasta Salad is full of pasta, veggies, meats, and cheese all tossed with a homemade red wine vinegar dressing. It's super easy to make and is absolutely packed with flavor!
Print Pin Save Rate & Comment
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 10 (1 cup each)
Estimated Calories: 346

Ingredients

  • ½ pound medium pasta shells
  • 2 cups cubed mozzarella cheese , ½-inch cubes, about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup cubed Genoa salami, ½-inch cubes, about 4 ounces
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni, ½-inch cubes, about 4 ounces
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped red onion, ½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved, about 1 dry pint
  • ½ cup quartered pitted olives, I use Kalamata olives
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Boil the pasta shells in salted water as per the package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Allow the pasta to drain again to remove any excess water and make sure it is completely cool before combining with the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta with the mozzarella cheese, Genoa salami, pepperoni, green bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes and olives.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste until well-combined.
  • Add the dressing to the pasta and vegetables in the bowl; mix until well-combined and everything is evenly coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving or until ready to serve. This will allow the flavors to blend.
  • When ready to serve, give the salad a quick stir and enjoy!

Notes

  • Feel free to switch up the pasta. Pretty much any shape will do, although I like using smaller shapes like shells, ditalini, or even orzo.
  • I use regular mozzarella cheese (not fresh mozzarella) because it holds up better and longer in this salad, even after several days.
  • The pasta will soak up a good bit of the dressing as it sits in the fridge. If you want that glossy, just-dressed appearance when serving, either hold back on some of the dressing before chilling or make some extra dressing and then stir some into the salad right before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
Recipe Rating