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Antipasto Salad

Antipasto salad combines the best Italian appetizers into one sensational salad! This antipasto salad recipe will be the most satisfying, flavorful salad you ever sink your teeth into! It’s easy to make, exploding with bright flavors and textures and is a hypnotic stand-alone main dish or it can be served as a steal-the-show side. This antipasto salad is loaded with salami, pepperoni, tomatoes, artichokes, pepperoncini, olives, red onions, provolone, and mozzarella all tossed in a zesty homemade Italian dressing that will have you swooning! It’s also wonderfully customizable, so you can add or swap in any of your favorite antipasto ingredients that you have on hand. This antipasto salad is quick to make with just a little chopping and a few shakes to combine the dressing. Best of all, it can be made ahead of time for the perfect stress-free win!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6 8 servings

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 4 oz. Genoa Salami chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced pepperoni
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts drained, patted dry, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives halved
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls halved
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese cut into bite size pieces

Easy Croutons

  • 1/2 loaf French bread cubed (preferably day old)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp EACH dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Click on “Italian Dressing” in the recipe ingredients to be taken to the recipe. Italian Dressing can be made ahead of time and stored for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • CROUTONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or use a nonstick mat. Add cubed bread to the baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil then sprinkle with spices; toss until evenly coated. Spread bread into an even layer and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  • SALAD: Add lettuce to a large bowl followed by the rest of the salad ingredients. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine OR dress individual plates if expecting leftovers. Serve immediately. (You will probably not use all of the dressing.)

Video

Notes

*Don't miss the how to make video in the post!

TIPS and tricks 

  • Customize ingredients.  The antipasto salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  After you load a large salad bowl with Romaine lettuce, you can pile on your antipasto ingredients in whatever ratios your taste buds desire. Some will like less meat, others will like less cheese - your call!
  • Prep ahead.  You can make the dressings, make the croutons and chop the salad ingredients all 24 hours ahead of time.  See detailed section below on how to make ahead.
  • Shortcuts.  You can use store-bought Italian dressing and store-bought croutons although I LOVE my homemade versions.  When purchasing croutons, go flavorful like Italian herb.
  • Use fresh Parmesan in dressing.  You can substitute the freshly grated Parmesan cheese with canned but it will not taste quite as good because fresh Parm is the best!  Freshly grated Parmesan will also dissolve much better for a smoother texture.
  • Don’t use fresh garlic or herbs in Italian dressing.  I usually love fresh garlic and herbs in dressings, but this dressing is loaded with herbs and you would need 3x the amount of fresh which make it pretty clunky.  Also, fresh herbs and garlic will only last a couple days in the refrigerator, whereas, you can store the dressing up to 2 weeks if you use dried. 
  • Chill dressing.  You’ll want to refrigerate your dressing for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, so the flavors deepen and meld. Cold dressing is also much more appetizing than lukewarm dressing. If you are short on time, pop the dressing in the freezer for 30 minutes than refrigerate beyond that.
  • Use day old French bread for croutons. 1-2-day old bread is easier to slice without it caving in on itself.  Fresh bread will also work; it just isn’t as sturdy.
  • Hold croutons.  If you’re anticipating leftovers, add croutons to individual servings and don’t toss with the salad.  They can soften even from the salad ingredients without the dressing.   

Storage

If you plan on storing leftover antipasto salad, do not toss the salad with the dressing or the lettuce will become soggy and wilted. Instead, store the salad and dressing in separate airtight containers. The croutons should also be stored in a separate airtight container. The antipasto salad without dressing will last about 2 days in the refrigerator although the wet ingredients such as the pepperoncini and chopped artichokes can soften the crunch of the lettuce a bit. The croutons will last for up to 2 weeks.

Make Ahead

This antipasto salad can be assembled ahead of time if you layer the ingredients in the correct order and store the croutons and dressing separately.  The salad should be layered with the wettest ingredients on the bottom and the driest on the top to prevent soggy salad, covered, then stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Here’s how to layer your salad:
  • Cherry tomatoes 
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pepperoncini
  • Green and Kalamata olives
  • Red onion
  • Genoa salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Romaine lettuce

PREP AHEAD

This antipasto salad recipe is great to prep ahead. You can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time or just the dressing, croutons or salad ingredients.  To prep ahead:
  • Salad ingredients:  can be chopped 24 hours in advance and stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.  I will add the vegetables to separate paper towels, fold up the paper towels around the contents and place in sandwich bags – this keeps excess moisture away from the veggies to keep them fresh.
  • Croutons:  can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in a resealable plastic bag with as much air removed as possible or in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Dressing:  can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If making ahead, take care not to use fresh garlic or herbs because they will only last a day or so in the refrigerator.