If you enjoy chilled pasta salad, you'll love this antipasto tortellini pasta salad. It's a colorful chorus of fresh flavors, loaded with al dente tortellinis, cured meats, fresh veggies and creamy mozzarella. It makes a brilliant summer salad, picnic dish or holiday side. It can be the perfect appetizer for game day, potlucks, brunch or anytime.
❤️ WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS PASTA SALAD RECIPE
✔️ Easy to make ahead of time!
✔️ 21 grams of protein per serving.
✔️ Full of flavor!
✔️ Only 10 minutes to make!
ANTIPASTO TORTELLINI SALAD INGREDIENTS
You may have all of these Antipasto Tortellini Salad ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry and not need to make a trip to the grocery store. See recipe card below for ingredient amounts.
- Tortellini: Use cheese tortellini, cooked al dente (slightly firm when bitten).
- Meats: Chop cubes of pepperoni and Genoa salami. You could also use prosciutto, bresaola, or even seafood.
- Olives: Pitted green and Kalamata olives are used here.
- Red Bell Pepper: Red peppers (or orange) add sweet flavor and color contrast to green veggies. You can also any color you have on-hand.
- Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella, cubed, or mozzarella pearls. Additionally, shredded mozzarella (or provolone cheese) is an optional garnish.
- Cherry Tomatoes: We're using fresh cherry tomatoes but you can also use grape tomatoes.
- Pepperoncinis: This pepper contributes a hot and sweet flavor.
- Artichoke Hearts: Use canned artichokes.
- Italian Dressing: The best salads have a homemade dressing. Use a bottled one if you must. Ours includes garlic, Italian seasoning, granulated sugar, black pepper, sea salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
- Parsley: This salad includes fresh parsley for garnish.
- Italian seasoning: Optional for garnish (generally includes dried basil, oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme and dried marjoram).
"Antipasto" translated means before the meal. It's simply the teaser to whet your appetite for the main course. You can make using one food (e.g., just olives or salami) or many different foods. Here are some ways you can put your own spin on this Italian classic.
- VEGETARIAN/VEGAN ANTIPASTO – Skip the meats (and cheese for vegan variations) and add fresh diced cucumber, green pepper and red onion.
- SEAFOOD ANTIPASTO - A southern Italian style uses shrimp, clams, mussels and/or anchovies instead of cured meats. Don't forget the capers!
- PARTY PLATTER – Arrange veggies, cheeses and meats, unmixed, on a platter. Ideal for a wine and cheese party or any buffet-style setting.
- PARTY SKEWERS – Place antipasto ingredients on skewers alternating cheese, veggie, meat, pasta, etc. for easy, convenient finger foods for parties.
If you'd like to print this recipe, scroll down to the recipe card where you can print the recipe or have it scaled to double or triple. You'll also find nutrition information.
COMBINE SALAD INGREDIENTS: In a large salad bowl, combine tortellini, pepperoni, salami, green olives, Kalamata olives, bell pepper, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncinis, parsley and artichoke hearts. Pour half the salad dressing over the top of the ingredients. Toss.
SEASON: Sprinkle top of salad with fresh parsley and optional ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Optional: Garnish with fresh shaved mozzarella cheese.
REFRIGERATE: If you’re serving later, refrigerate for up to 3 days. Before serving, add additional salad dressing until it has the amount you prefer.
TIPS FOR THE BEST ANTIPASTO SALAD
✔️ Don't overcook your tortellini! Your pasta should not be mushy. Rinse with cold water as soon as you drain to stop the cooking and cool your pasta.
✔️ Use fresh tomatoes, peppers and herbs. While canned tomatoes and dried herbs are very useful in many dishes, we think fresh makes a huge difference in a cold pasta salad.
✔️ Use a good Italian dressing. Use our Italian dressing or your favorite bottled dressing.
✔️ If you are making your pasta salad ahead of time, don't add the dressing until just before serving.
Refrigerate: Antipasto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
SERVING THESE WITH YOUR PASTA SALAD
Enjoy this great cold pasta salad as a great addition to a full meal with these other recipes. And maybe finish it off with our Deep Fried Cheesecake!
MORE PASTA RECIPES
While we love Antipasto Tortellini Salad we also love some of these other recipes and think you will as well.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Antipasto is singular while antipasti is plural. Wondering, what about antipasta? It's just a colloquialism or mistranslation that's gotten stuck in our vernacular over time. Serving a traditional Italian meal? Stick with "antipasto."
Charcuterie is referring to cold cooked meats while antipasto typically includes cured meats, cheeses and pickled vegetables.
Your pasta will soak up some of the dressing while sitting in the pasta salad, so it is important not to overcook your pasta to prevent it from becoming soggy or mushy. Cook your pasta until just al dente (meaning, it is still firm when bitten).
Traditional Italian antipasto salad is served before the main (pasta) course, so it does not include pasta. In this recipe, however, we're breaking the rules and adding a creamy, flavorful cheese tortellini, which makes this dish great as a side or main course for summer picnics, holidays, game day parties, potlucks or anytime.
- 20 ounces cheese tortellini
- 6-8 ounces pepperoni - chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 6-8 ounces Genoa salami - chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 3 ounces pitted green olives
- 3 ounces pitted kalamata olives or black olives
- 1 red or orange bell pepper
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes - fresh
- 10 pepperoncini
- 8 ounces canned artichoke hearts - drained
- 2 cups Italian salad dressing - divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley - chopped
- In a large salad bowl, combine tortellini, pepperoni, salami, green olives, kalamata olives, bell pepper, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, peppercinis, parsley and artichoke hearts.
- Pour half the salad dressing over the top of the ingredients and toss.
- If you’re serving later, refrigerate for up to 3 days. Before serving, add additional salad dressing until it has the amount you prefer.
- Sprinkle top of salad with fresh parsley and optional ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Serve with crusty french bread and green Italian salad.
- Optional additional ingredients: diced fresh cucumber, diced green pepper and diced red onion.
- Optional: garnish with fresh shaved mozzarella cheese.
- This antipasto tortellini salad makes a great make-ahead meal.