Antipasto Salad has fresh salad greens topped with Italian cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables and croutons – all topped with an incredible dressing.
Aside from being super delicious, Antipasto Salad is super easy to make. It’s perfect for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking. And, you can even prep everything in the morning and assemble just before mealtime.
Inspired by the first course of a formal Italian meal, this salad combines all of your Italian sub and charcuterie board favorites into one tasty dish. It’s sure to become a family favorite for dinner, potlucks, and more!
Why you’ll love antipasto salad
- Incredibly versatile – add or replace whichever ingredients your family enjoys.
- Easy to assemble and looks very gourmet!
- Ready in less than 30 minutes and no cooking required.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Lettuce – Italian blend bagged lettuce combines the sweetness of romaine, and the slightly bitter and spicy radicchio to create a wonderful base for the rest of the salad ingredients. If your local store doesn’t carry an Italian blend, romaine lettuce alone would be just fine.
- Cured meats – We love Capicola (a dry-cured cold cut) and Genoa salami, because the flavors are simply irresistible. Prosciutto or other varieties of salami are excellent substitutes based on what is available at your market.
- Red onion – Paper-thin slices of raw red onion are wonderful in this salad. If you find the flavor too strong, feel free to swap in pickled red onions instead.
- Tomatoes – Use cherry or grape tomatoes, or diced, fresh salad tomatoes if you prefer.
- Provolone – At the deli counter, ask for a “picante” provolone which has a touch of pepper flavor. Also ask the deli clerk to slice the provolone on the thicker side. Then cut it into strips or cubes when you get home. For a milder flavor cheese, substitute fresh mozzarella.
- Croutons – We love making our own (recipe included below) with fresh Ciabatta, but feel free to use a French baguette or sourdough loaf if you prefer. You can save some prep time by buying croutons from the store – choose Italian seasoned croutons if you go the store-bought route.
- Dressing – Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor, and don’t try to substitute the red wine vinegar for another variety. You could also use dried parsley instead of fresh if you prefer, but reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.
How do I make this antipasto salad recipe?
- Prep all of the ingredients. Slice the veggies, pit the olives, and cube the bread. Open and drain all of the canned goods as well, so everything is ready to go.
- Toast bread cubes to make croutons. Keep them moving in the pan continuously so they brown evenly on all sides.
- Whisk together the dressing. Drizzle in the olive oil last, while whisking continuously to help everything come together.
- Fill a large bowl with lettuce. Then arrange everything on top in sections. For a more stunning display, create an artistic pattern. If you won’t be serving this right away, leave the croutons on the side, so they don’t get soggy.
- Serve with dressing on the side or toss everything and serve immediately.
Chef’s Tip –
We kept the seasoning on the croutons simple, but you could easily toss them with dried Italian seasonings – basil and parsley – for more flavor.
For a vegetarian version, replace the meat and tuna with extra chickpeas and additional veggies like artichoke hearts, cucumber, and bell pepper. Capers and pickled veggies (giardiniera) would also be delicious!
While this antipasto salad recipe makes more than enough for a full meal, you can certainly serve it alongside other Italian favorites!
Having guests over for dinner? Don’t forget this gorgeous tiramisu for dessert!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What else can I add to antipasto salad? Artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes would all be delicious. If you need to feed a large group of people, you can even add some cooked pasta to this salad. Rotini, Cavatappi, or a heartier cheese tortellini are good options.
- Can I make the croutons ahead of time? Sure! Once completely cooled, transfer to a zippered storage bag and use within 2 weeks for best results.
- How can I prep this antipasto salad recipe in advance? Whisk together the dressing, and store it in the refrigerator in a lidded jar. Chop the other ingredients for up to a day ahead of time and place them in airtight containers. Keep the veggies separate from the meat and cheese.
- How long does homemade Italian dressing last in the refrigerator? Because ours contains fresh herbs, it will only stay fresh for a few days. The oil and vinegar will separate a bit, so give it a good shake just before serving.
- Can I save leftovers for later? Yes and no. Once fully dressed, this dish should be enjoyed the same day, since the lettuce will start to wilt. If you plan on leftovers, serve in individual bowls (only dress the servings) and store the rest – minus the croutons – in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
You might like these other Italian classic recipes:
- Italian Tomato Sauce
- Garlic Bread
- Chicken Exquisito
- Grandma Gennaco’s Beef Braciole
- Italian Pot Roast
8-ounce loaf Ciabatta bread, cut into one-inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 9-ounce bag Italian blend lettuce
3-ounce can fancy light tuna packed in oil, drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
½ 12-ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
½ 14.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained
¼ large red onion, sliced into thin quarter slices
¼ pound sweet sliced Capicola, cut into strips
½ pound sliced Genoa salami, cut into strips
½ pound sliced provolone (picante), cut into strips
To Make Croutons
In a large sauté pan over medium high, melt butter and add bread cubes, salt and garlic powder. Toss and stir and flip for up to ten minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat. The centers will be soft and the outsides crispy.
To Make Dressing
In a small to medium bowl, place mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and parsley and mix. While whisking, slowly add oil and continue whisking to emulsify. Set aside.
To Assemble Antipasto Salad
On a large platter or bowl, place mixed lettuce and arrange all other ingredients in a pattern over the greens.
Serve with dressing and croutons on the side, OR toss all together including dressing and croutons and serve immediately.
Keywords: Italian antipasto salad