Antipasto Pasta Salad
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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!
I have recipes for them with Hawaiian and Greek flavors, and there’s a classic Bacon Ranch variety that will please anyone at a potluck.
Want to stick with Italian flavors? Try them with the flavors of pizza or a Muffaletta sandwich – SO scrumptious!
Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see how easy it is to make antipasto pasta salad!
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.
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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
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wow…this looks amazing. Recipe looks easy. Gonna give it a try. one question though for the roasted red pepper. does this come in a jar or is this what looks like a bell pepper but it's red instead of green? Roast it in the oven then slice up 2 slices for the dressing? sorry, I'm not a very good cook and would appreciate any help.
Roasted red peppers come in a jar, look in the Italian food section in any supermarket.
I'm making this as we speak and the smell of the hot tortellini in the dressing is INSANE. I may just make it like that some time and serve it hot.
That is awesome and amazing Gina. I am so happy you are loving it already. Enjoy!!!
looks soooo YUMMY cant wait to try!! =)
I make this salad all the time. I fell in love with it from the first time of making it. PLUS, Everyone enjoys it; never leftovers.
If it is half as delicious as it is beautiful, it's gonna be fantastic!
Mmmm… Love all the olives!
How much zesty italian dressing is needed?
I love the tortellini in pasta salad. This is a family staple now!