Italian Pasta Salad is made with all the goodness of antipasto platter and a homemade red wine vinaigrette. This easy antipasto pasta salad is a fresh dish that is perfect for picnics or side dishes.
I adore pasta salads.
Growing up, we had a form of pasta salad at every family gathering. And I knew if I ate nothing else, I knew I would enjoy that pasta salad.
One of the dishes that always made our family cookouts as well as an Italian pasta salad–and it is a recipe worth sharing.
This Easy Italian Pasta Salad is made with olives, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, sweet onions, a red wine vinaigrette made with capers. This salad packs a lot of flavors! It is like an Antipasto tray tossed with noodles. Hence the name, Antipasto Pasta Salad.
- Noodles–Be sure to choose a pasta that has twists and curves so that the noodle can hold on to some of the additions to the pasta salad.
- Red Wine Vinaigrette–a homemade tangy dressing
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Cherry/Grape Tomatoes
- Olives–both Spanish and Kalamative
- Onions–red or vidalia
How to Make Pasta Salad
Step One: Prepare Pasta
- Cook pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water.
- Drain Pasta, but do not rinse!!
PLEASE do not EVER rinse cooked pasta. This removes all the starch that helps the dressing stick to the pasta, not to mention the flavor of pasta.
Step Two: Make Red Wine Vinaigrette
- While the pasta cooks, blend up the ingredients for the red wine vinaigrette until the capers are well combined into the dressing.
Think you don’t like capers? Don’t worry, they just add a salty flavor to the dressing that can’t be matched!
Step Three: Prepare Pasta Salad
- Immediately after draining the pasta, toss the cooked pasta with 1/4 of the red wine vinaigrette.
- Let the pasta cool before adding the remaining dressing. Pro-Tip: To cool pasta quickly, spread on a large sheet pan so the heat can evaporate.
- Toss pasta with remaining dressing and additional toppings.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving for the best flavor.
How to Store Pasta Salad
Pasta salad gets better as the pasta absorbs the flavors from the added ingredients. I find it is best after at least 4 hours of refrigeration, but overnight is even better!
- If you feel your pasta salad is dry before serving, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil before serving.
- Pasta Salad can be stored safely for 5 days in your refrigerator. It can not be frozen.
More Pasta Salad Recipes
Antipasto Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces rotini noodles whole grain, gluten free, or regular
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup sliced Spanish olives
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers chopped
- 1 small vidalia onion or red onion finely minced
- 6 ounces Hard Salami (or pepperoni) diced
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain well.
- Make the vinaigrette by blending the olive oil, vinegar, capers, salt, garlic, and oregano together until well blended.
- Toss the drained pasta with 1/4 of the red wine vinaigrette and then let cool before adding the remaining dressing.
- Add in the tomatoes, olives, peppers and parsley and toss.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight before serving.