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Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette. If you’re searching for a delicious pasta salad, look no further. This is the perfect quick fix salad that’s mayo-free, almost no-cook, comes together in minutes, and is great for warm weather picnics and BBQ’s. Grab your favorite pasta, whisk up an herby parmesan vinaigrette, toss with hot pasta, roasted peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, spicy salami, fresh mozzarella…and done. So full of flavor and color. This could not be easier to pull off. Trust me, this will be everyone’s new favorite pasta salad…a serious upgrade from the classic.

overhead photo of Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette

There’s salad and then there’s pasta salad. To be honest I’m not sure I get why it’s called pasta salad. But since it’s a salad, then it must be health food, and that for sure works in my book.

In all seriousness, ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved a good bowl of pasta salad. My dad would make the simplest pasta salad with raw broccoli, fresh basil, olive oil, and cubed cheddar cheese. His secret was in tossing the hot pasta with the broccoli, basil, and cheese. This causes the cheese to slightly melt and softens the broccoli and basil. It really infuses the flavor. Oh, and the melty cheese is everything. I loved every single bite of my dad’s 5 ingredient pasta salad. I was also that weird kid that would help him chop the broccoli up. For every broccoli floret that went into the bowl, one went into my mouth…I’ve always loved my vegetables.

I guess the kitchen’s kind of been my place for most of my life. I didn’t even realize it until writing this, but I would help my dad cook when I was way little. He’d have me pick fresh basil and tomatoes from his garden, cube the cheddar, and chop veggies. Wow, I really did start young!

Antipasto Pasta Salad ingredients

Anyway, I’ve always loved pasta salad. And with Mother’s Day this coming weekend, and Memorial day soon to follow, that means pasta salad season is here, and I’m all for it. What’s awesome about pasta salad is that it can be made completely in advance. It’s even delicious when served warm or cold, making it perfect for picnics and BBQ’s.

I’ve shared a couple of pasta salads in the past, but today’s is extra special, and a little different from my previous versions.

Say hello to the antipasto pasta salad. Think of your favorite antipasto platter, add pasta, plus an herby parmesan vinaigrette that’s sweet, tangy, and so good. In my opinion, this is a step up from the platter version, because let’s be honest, everything is made better with pasta and cheese.

overhead close up photo of Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette

Here are the details.

Step one is to cook your pasta. I like to use a fun short cut pasta. Something like a penne or fusilli, but any short cut pasta works really well.

Step two is to make the vinaigrette. It’s a sweet and tangy mix of olive oil, champagne vinegar (one of my favorite ingredients right now), shallots, fresh thyme, lemon, and parmesan.

I like to whisk up the vinaigrette in the bowl I plan to serve the salad in. This will save you a dish to clean, and honestly, it just makes sense to do it this way.

Step three is tossing the HOT pasta with the vinaigrette. Using hot pasta breaks down the raw shallot and infuses the vinaigrette with a tangy, herby flavor. Go with me on this, use hot pasta. It’s the key to a really good, mayo-free, pasta salad.

Step four, adding in all the classic antipasto ingredients: roasted peppers, artichokes, tomatoes, spicy salami, fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, and plenty of fresh basil.

And that’s it. Crazy simple, but crazy good, and filled with so much color too!

Personally, I love enjoying this salad warm. But of course, it’s delicious served both right out of the fridge or at room temperature. I will say that if you let the salad sit for a day, it develops a more intense “marinated” flavor, which is particularly delicious.

Either way, it’s going to be good and loved by all. I’m already excited to serve this all summer long. I might even make it again for Sunday’s Mother’s Day dinner. Bonus? Any leftovers will make a killer Monday lunch…very into that.

PS. If you’re looking for a pasta salad option with beans, try this sun-dried, white bean, and goat cheese pasta salad.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette with spoon in bowl and serving bowls next to pasta

Lastly, if you make this Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 474 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, to a large serving bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, the shallot, thyme, lemon zest, parmesan, pine nuts (if using), and a pinch each of crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add half the basil and the hot pasta and toss vigorously to combine.
    3. Add the bell peppers, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, salami, mozzarella, and half the arugula, tossing to combine. At this point, the salad can be served warm (my preference) or cooled and kept in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. 
    4. To serve, bring the pasta to room temp. Top with the remaining arugula and basil. Season with freshly cracked pepper and salt. Enjoy! 
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this with Trader Joe’s gluten free fusilli, added a little lemon juice and a little extra parm once cool. I was told we have to “add this to the list” of reoccurring menu items!

    1. Hey Mareesa,
      Happy Sunday!! Thanks for sharing your feedback and making this recipe, I am so glad it was a hit! Happy 4th of July!🇺🇸

  2. Just made this recipe at the lake for a large group. Went the vegan route and eliminated Parmesan, Mozzarella and Salami…used Bonza chick pea noodles, doubled the pine nuts…insanely good. HBH always delivers!

    1. Hey Beth,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing your review and making this recipe. Love to hear that it was a winner! xxT

  3. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe!!! I have had many requests from friends to make this for future events, it seems to be such a hit!

    I did make a few adjustments, but still found the end result to be delicious!
    -Removed shallot
    -Removed parmesan
    -No pine nuts
    -No salami

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious, filling, and so very easy! I made it for dinner tonight with very little modification and both my picky husband and easy to please 10 month old devoured it. The only changes I made were to blend the vinaigrette ingredients so the shallot pieces were smaller and to add some mortadella with the salami since I had some leftover. Will definitely make this again! Perfect for a hot summer night where you really don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

    1. Hey Victoria,
      Awesome! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback. I’m glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  5. 4 stars
    Made this recipe last weekend. Thought the flavors were really good and I loved that it came together so quickly. We had to double the dressing recipe as the pasta absorbed a ton of it and it dried out quicker than I expected. But that was an easy fix! Will definitely make again.

  6. 5 stars
    This is such a delicious easy recipe and perfect for summer! Great for a family dinner at home or to take to potluck.

    1. Hey Andrea,
      Wonderful! That’s so great to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Have a great Friday:) xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Question though, I want to make it on our vacation next week. Can I make the dress i ahead of time and how long would you say it would be good for?

    1. Hey Shauna,
      I am so glad you have enjoyed this recipe! The dressing is good for a few weeks so you can absolutely make this ahead of time. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan