This easy Antipasto pasta salad is bursting with flavor from the olives, salami, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, sweet onions, and a simple homemade red wine vinaigrette.
This Italian-style pasta salad is easy to make and incredibly delicious. It makes the perfect side dish for potlucks or picnics and pairs beautifully with Chicken Burgers, Grilled Greek Chicken, or Instant Pot Ribs.
Along with my Papa's Baked Beans, one dish my family always brought to cookouts was this Antipasto Pasta Salad.
This easy Italian-Style Pasta Salad is made with olives, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, sweet onions, a red wine vinaigrette made with capers. It is like an Antipasto tray tossed with noodles. Hence the name, Antipasto Pasta Salad.
This recipe is for pasta salad is so jam-packed with flavor and goodies, it is a dish that is guaranteed to be a hit at any party!
Notes on Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Noodles--Be sure to choose a type of 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--While you can certainly use bottled Italian dressing, the homemade red wine vinaigrette is incredibly simple to make and tastes so much better.
- Salami/Pepperoni--Feel free to add chopped salami or pepperoni for a heartier pasta salad, but feel free to leave it out if you want to keep this dish meatless.
- Roasted Red Peppers--Jarred roasted peppers adds a smokey element to the pasta salad. If you want to roast your own red peppers, that is fine as well. Of course, you can opt to just add in chopped fresh red bell peppers.
- Cherry/Grape Tomatoes--Cherry or grape tomatoes are the perfect bite-size for this recipe. If you opt to use vine-ripened tomatoes, be sure to deseed the tomatoes before chopping to keep the pasta salad from becoming watery.
- Olives--I opt for a combination of Spanish and Kalamative olives, as they have the richest flavor. Canned black olives can be used, but the flavor is not as good.
- Onions--Use a red or Vidalia onion. White or yellow onions can be used, but have a much stronger taste and can overwhelm some of the delicate flavors. I would only half a white or yellow onion if you opt to use one of those varieties.
How to Make Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Season heavily will salt and then cook the pasta according to the package directions, choosing the longest suggested cook time.
- While the pasta cooks, blend up the ingredients for the red wine vinaigrette until the capers are well combined into the dressing.
- Once the pasta has cooked, drain, but do not rinse!! This removes all the starch that helps the dressing stick to the pasta, not to mention the actual flavor of the pasta itself.
- Immediately after draining the pasta, toss the cooked pasta with ¼ cup of the red wine vinaigrette.
- Let the pasta cool to room temperature.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and dressing.
- Toss together the pasta salad.
- Cover Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving for the best flavor.
Pasta salad is a dish that needs to be made in advance, to give the flavors time to develop, making it a great make-ahead recipe for a party or picnic.
While ready to enjoy after 4 hours of refrigeration, the pasta salad will taste even better if made 12-24 hours in advance. However, I recommend not preparing more than 24 hours before you intend to serve, for the best flavor and so that the pasta salad does not begin to dry out.
As pasta stills in the refrigerator, the noodles can absorb all the dressing. If you feel that your pasta salad is dry, add ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss again before serving.
Antipasto pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Yes! Simply use your favorite gluten-free noodle and be sure the salami or pepperoni is gluten-free as well.
NO! Mix and match and choose the toppings you and your family like. I do suggest using at least 2 cups of additional add-ins to the pasta salad, regardless of what you choose.
Fresh bell peppers, balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubes of provolone cheese, jarred and drained artichoke hearts, and/or cucumbers are all great options to add to this pasta salad.
Yes! Feel free to use your favorite bottled Italian dressing in place of the homemade viniagrette. Just keep in mind the flavor won't be quite as good.
Yes. Tortellini is a delicious option for this pasta salad. Use 16 ounces of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini and prepare according to package directions.
More Potluck Side Dish Recipes
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Old Fashioned Baked Beans
If you enjoyed this Antipasto Pasta Salad, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces rotini noodles
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup sliced Spanish olives
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- ½ cup jarred roasted red peppers chopped
- 1 small vidalia onion or red onion finely minced
- 6 ounces diced hard salami or pepperoni
- ¼ cup minced parsley
Red Wine Vinaigrette
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and salt well. Cook the pasta according to directions, choosing the longest suggested cook time. Drain well, but do not rinse the noodles.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing by blending the olive oil, vinegar, capers, salt, garlic, and oregano together until well combined.
- Toss the drained pasta with ¼ cup of the red wine vinaigrette and then let cool to room temperature before adding the remaining dressing or ingredients.
- Once the pasta is cooled, add the remaining dressing, tomatoes, olives, peppers, salami, and parsley, and toss well to combine.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight before serving.