This Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad is a tasty make-ahead side dish or meal that’s full of veggies, salami, cheese and seasonings. It’s an easy pasta salad that everyone loves!
An Easy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
This salad is filled with fresh ingredients, but it’s super easy to make! It’s a great recipe for using up leftover pasta, meat or vegetables. Tossed with your choice of Italian seasonings, this pasta salad has it all.
You can serve this salad as a light lunch or a healthy side dish. It’s a summery recipe that’s easy to take on the go or enjoy right at home!
This antipasto pasta salad can be made with all sorts of different ingredients, depending on your preferences. Here’s what I use for mine:
- Pasta: I make this salad with either bow tie or penne pasta.
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Garlic Salt: A small pinch of garlic salt goes a long way when it comes to flavor!
- Black Pepper
- Red & Yellow Sweet Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Cheese: I love using monterey jack cheese for this salad, but you can make it with any cheese you like!
- Black Olives
- Red Onions
- Fresh Basil: Stack your basil leaves, roll them up and cut the rolls into thinly sliced ribbons.
- Italian Salad Dressing
What Kind of Pasta Is Best for Pasta Salad?
You definitely want to stick with a shorter noodle when it comes to pasta salad. If you choose something like spaghetti or linguini, it’ll be harder to eat your salad.
I like using bow tie or penne pasta for this recipe, but anything you can easily pick up with a fork will work! Feel free to make your salad with rotini, ziti, rigatoni, or elbow noodles instead.
How to Make Italian Pasta Salad
- Cook Pasta: Cook your pasta according to the package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
- Combine Seasonings: In a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
- Add Pasta: Add the cooked pasta to your salad bowl; stir to coat.
- Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Remove your pasta from the fridge and add prepared peppers, tomatoes, salami, cheese, olives, onions and basil. Then, add the Italian dressing and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate: Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 to 24 hours.
Tips for the Best Italian Pasta Salad
- Drain Pasta Well: Make sure your pasta is completely drained before you add it to your seasonings. Excess moisture could make your salad watery.
- Chill Before Serving: It’s important to refrigerate your pasta mixture for at least 1 to 2 hours, and the completed salad for at least 1 hour. This allows the flavors to settle in so you get the most delicious salad!
- Adjust to Taste: Don’t be afraid to add or substitute ingredients. Use your favorite cheese, smoked meats, vegetables and noodles to make your ideal antipasto salad!
This pasta salad makes a hearty and flavorful meal on its own, but you can also serve it alongside your favorite main dishes. Here are some fun ideas for serving your salad:
- Set on a Platter: This colorful dish looks amazing on a platter! Plus, assembling your salad on a platter lets everyone at the table serve themselves so leftovers stay in one place.
- Serve with Garlic Bread: Serve your salad with homemade garlic bread for an authentic Italian dinner. These Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks with Garlic Dipping Sauce are a great choice!
- Add Toasted Nuts: Toasted walnuts or almonds will top your salad off with a crunchy, nutty element.
- Serve with Chicken: This pasta salad is a tasty side dish for my easy Mojo Grilled Chicken Breasts.
How to Store Leftovers
- To store leftover pasta salad, keep it in a covered container in the fridge. This dish honestly gets better the longer it sits, and it’ll last for about 5 days! I don’t recommend freezing this salad.
Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Salad Bowl
- 3 cups dried pasta, bow tie or penne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 cups strips of red and yellow sweet peppers
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup salami, cubed
- 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1 cup cubed monterey jack cheese, or other cheese of choice
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped red onions
- 6 leaves fresh basil, stacked and rolled up together, then thinly sliced into ribbons
- 1/2 cup bottled Italian salad dressing, or to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
- In a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
- Add cooked pasta to the salad bowl; stir to coat.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
- Remove salad from fridge.
- Add prepared peppers, tomatoes, salami, artichoke hearts, cheese, olives, onions and basil.
- Add the salad dressing and toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.