Antipasto Pasta Salad is my latest summer obsession, with all the makings of a classic Italian antipasto. We’ve added tender bites of tortellini pasta and an amazing zippy homemade Italian dressing that will knock your socks off!!
This flavor-packed salad is so good, it was included in my sister’s wedding menu. It was part of a full Italian meal for 100 guests, and let me say, it was in high demand. It’s a keeper!!!
Antipasto Pasta Salad
One of my summer obsessions is munching on an Italian antipasto platter throughout the day. I recently had the idea to toss all of those delicious ingredients with tender cheese tortellini and a zippy, homemade Italian dressing. Presto – antipasto pasta salad!
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know I have a thing for tortellini. If not, take a look at some of my other delicious combinations!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Get meat and cheese at the deli counter. Not only can you request the exact amounts you need, but you can have them slice the meat and cheese thicker..
Ask for everything to be sliced ½-inch thick so it holds up to the dressing a little bit longer.
- Tip for easy slicing: Make quick work of halving tomatoes and olives by placing them between two lids and running a sharp knife through the middle.
- Swap out the olives. If Spanish olives aren’t available in your area, replace them with another green variety. Worst case scenario, you can just use extra black olives instead.
Antipasto Pasta Salad FAQ
In Italy, antipasto is typically served as a first course or appetizer. Bite-sized pieces of cured meats, vegetables, and cheeses are arranged on a platter and enjoyed family-style.
The ingredients used vary by region, with some coastal areas often including some types of saltwater fish.
Sure! You’ll want to replace all that cheesy goodness, though. Simply asiago can be a bit sharp, I recommend adding halved mozzarella pearls, provolone, or fontina to the mix.
For the noodles, use whichever variety you typically use in pasta salad — rotini, bowtie, or cavatappi would all work well.
Cook according to the package directions for al dente, then use in place of the tortellini in this Italian antipasto recipe.
If you wish to lighten it up a bit, try adding more fresh vegetables!
My favorite additions are English cucumbers and bell peppers, usually yellow and orange. I also sometimes double the amount of onion and tomatoes called for in the recipe.
Prep Ahead Instructions
Not only is antipasto pasta salad easy to make ahead of time, I find that the flavors are even better the next day!
You can also prep the different components separately if you’re concerned about the dish getting too soggy.
- Dressing – Mix this together up to several days in advance. If you use a jar, all you have to do is give it a shake before you use it!
- Meat and cheese – These can be sliced and stored together.
- Vegetables – I recommend prepping these the night before or morning-of so they don’t dry out.
Store everything in airtight containers in the refrigerator. On the day you wish to serve (or the night before), cook the tortellini and combine everything as directed.
How To Store Antipasto Pasta Salad
Whether you want to prepare it ahead of time or simply save some leftovers, antipasto pasta salad will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Cooked tortellini tends to firm up when chilled, but it will also soak up more of the dressing to help keep it tender and flavorful.
If you find that it still has too much bite, simply let it sit out for 10-15 minutes before digging in.
Get Free Recipes Sent to Your Email
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Pasta Salad Recipes
Antipasto Pasta Salad + Video
- 19 ounces frozen tortellini
- 4 ounces Genoa salami, cut into 1/4-1/2″ cubes
- 4 ounces smoked turkey, cut into 1/4-1/2″ cubes
- 4 ounces honey baked ham, cut into 1/4-1/2″ cubes
- 4 ounces Asiago cheese, cut into 1/4-1/2″ cubes
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 medium red onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts , chopped
- 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup Manzanilla Spanish olives, sliced
- Zesty Italian Dressing
Zesty Italian Dressing
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 strips roasted red pepper, finely minced
- 3 red onion slices, finely minced
- 6 Manzanilla Spanish olives, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare the dressing: In a large bowl combine dressing ingredients. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Remove from heat and drain pasta. Pour tortellini into dressing and toss to combine. The tortellini will soak up some of the dressing and give it an amazing flavor.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare deli meats and cheeses: cut meats and cheese into bite size pieces, approximately 1/4-1/2” in size.
- Reserve cheese until pasta is completely prepared (or it may melt from the heat of the pasta). Add cut up meat to tortellini and gently stir until well combined. Toss in tomatoes, onion, artichoke hearts and olives. Add cheese. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to overnight).
- Serve and enjoy.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published July 2015, updated and republished July 2022
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.