Blend all your favorite antipasto flavors into a convenient pasta salad. This recipe blends spicy salami, tangy parmesan, hearty garbanzo beans, and the crunch of fresh vegetables.
One of my favorite childhood meals was to have pizza and salad at the local Italian restaurant. ChiChi’s Antipasto Salad is still one of my favorite treats when I go home. Nowadays, I’ve figured how to recreate ChiChi’s magical salad, but when I was growing up it was a mystery.
So, when I saw a recipe for Antipasto Pasta Salad in one of my mom’s magazines, I grabbed it. I no longer have that magazine clipping, circa 1980, but the idea still translates well to the plate.
Pasta salads are perfect for summer months. They’re hearty, yet cool and refreshing. They can be made in advance so you can avoid the afternoon heat of the kitchen. Pasta salads pack easily for picnics and road trips. Pack them with veggies and protein, and you’ve got the ideal summer meal.
Most of the ingredients in this dish are budget-friendly. Pasta shouldn’t run more than a dollar for the pound. Peppers and onions go on sale regularly throughout the summer. Fresh parsley, well, you can grow that in your backyard! Canned olives and garbanzo beans run in the 75 cents a can range. Homemade Italian dressing costs just pennies.
Your bigger ticket items in this recipe are the fresh parmesan and the salami. I buy my parmesan in huge block at Costco. I cut the wedge into smaller chunks and wrap them in plastic wrap. A large wedge typically lasts us several months. A few years ago, I did a price comparison and found that the upgrade to fresh parmesan was not that much more than the cheese in the can.
This dish is best when you make it with the salami that comes whole. In my day, sliced salami was unheard of! We always sliced our own. This is cheaper per pound and allows you to slice the salami strips a little thicker so that you get a great bite of peppery meat. I buy a half-pound log for a few dollars, and it makes for two batches of pasta salad. You could stretch it farther if you like.
Make this Antipasto Pasta Salad the day before or the morning of your serving time. It is delicious as a one-dish dinner or as a side dish with sandwiches or grilled meats.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
- 1 lb rotini pasta
- 1 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1 red bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1 green bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- 4 oz salami slices cut into strips
- 1/4 red onion sliced into rings
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Italian herb blend
- black pepper
- pinch granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water, according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool slightly.
- Place the cooked noodles in a large bowl and add the olives, pepper, garbanzo beans, salami, onion, cheese, and parsley.
- In a small dish combine the vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and sugar. Stir in the olive oil and blend well. Add the dressing to the pasta mixture and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.