Summer is just not summer without a pasta salad. It's a side dish that's always welcome at any backyard barbecue, picnic or potluck. Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette is the perfect addition to your get-together and comes together in about an hour.
Serve alongside Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Peperonata and Rasberry Ricotta Cake with Almonds for an Italian-inspired feast your guests will rave about.
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette has everything you love about an antipasto platter which is the traditional first course Italians serve for special occasions. It has meat, cheese, olives, marinated artichokes hearts and chickpeas that you can pull from your pantry or grab at the deli counter or olive bar.
This show-stopping pasta salad has all that but with the goodness of broccoli and other fresh vegetables like red bell pepper and onion added in. The Parmesan and fresh herb vinaigrette makes it all sing with flavor!
This salad is sure to become a favorite for all your get-togethers!
How to Make Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this pasta salad recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
- Olive Oil and canola oil: I like to use an extra-virgin olive oil for pretty much everything. However, some extra-virgin olive oils can be quite fruity and can even overpower a dish. Good olive oil can also be pricey so I blend it with inexpensive canola oil for flavor balance. You can also use vegetable oil instead of canola oil.
- Lemon juice: Fresh is always best!
- Pasta: I used bowtie pasta but any short pasta shape will work such as rotini, penne, ziti or large elbow macaroni.
- Salami: Any type of salami will work such as sopressata, pepperoni, or Genoa. Here's a complete guide to Italian salumi from Serious
- Start with the vinaigrette. Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- Combine them all in a food processor or blender and process until smooth and set aside.
- Gather and prep the ingredients for the rest of the salad.
- Prepare an ice bath.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Toss in the broccoli florets for about 5 seconds then immediately scoop it out and place in the ice bath.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions (al dente), drain and rinse with cold tap water to stop the cooking process.
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss in the blanched broccoli.
- MAKE AHEAD: Can be assembled 2 days ahead of time. Leave the dressing off the salad otherwise, the pasta will soak it up. Dress the salad when you’re ready to serve.
- Dress with the Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette as desired...
- Add a little extra chopped fresh parsley, basil leaves for garnish and of course, a little extra Parmesan cheese.
- And serve!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- Save time and water by blanching the broccoli in the same water you'll be cooking the pasta in. Bring the pot of salted water to a boil, toss in the broccoli then transfer it to an ice bath. Bring it back to a boil then pour in the pasta.
- Be sure to only cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Al dente means "to the tooth." Basically, it should be cooked yet fight back a little.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, you absolutely can. Up to two days should be fine. Leave the dressing off the salad as the pasta will soak it up. Dress the salad when you're ready to serve.
This is a very versatile salad which is why I love it! As already mentioned, you can use rotini, penne, ziti or large macaroni instead of bowtie pasta. Any short pasta shape will work. Use cauliflower instead of broccoli, cannellini beans instead of chickpeas or green olives instead of Kalamata olives.
I don't advise it because you won't get the same fresh herb taste.
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Get all my great salad side dish recipes at: Side Dish Salads - From A Chef's Kitchen
Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice - about 1 large lemon
- Several sprigs of fresh basil, parsley and chives
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 2 large broccoli crowns - cut into florets (approximately 4-5 cups)
- 1 pound (16-ounces) farfalle (bowtie pasta)
- Olive oil
- 1 medium red onion - finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 large red bell pepper - seeded and chopped
- 1 can (15-ounce) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed - garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 jar (12-ounce) marinated artichoke heart quarters - halved widthwise
- ½ cup pitted and halved Kalamata Olives
- 6 ounces salami - such as Genoa cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 block (8-ounce) Mozzarella or Provolone cheese cut into ¼ to ½-inch pieces - cut into ¼ to ½-inch pieces
- Fresh basil leaves - for garnish
- Chopped parsley - for garnish
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Drop the broccoli into the boiling water. Cook for 5 seconds or until the broccoli turns bright green. Drop into the ice bath and let cool. Drain and set aside.
- Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold tap water. Toss with olive oil.
- Combine the pasta with next 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss in the broccoli.
- Drizzle with dressing as desired.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves, chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
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