Chopped romaine hearts, shredded mozzarella, olives, prosciutto, turkey pepperoni, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepperoncini and Giardiniera (colorful vegetables in vinegar) – this quick Italian antipasto salad requires no cooking, which makes it perfect to whip up or pack for lunch.
What is Antipasto Salad?
Cold antipasto is usually the first course of an Italian meal, which consists of a variety of cold meats, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, and a variety of colorful vegetables that have been pickled in vinegar known as Giardiniera and pepperoncini. This adds so much flavor to this salad, without tons of calories and because it is so flavorful, you really don’t need to add a lot of oil or dressing. I make the quick dressing by using some of the vinegar from the jar of the pepperoncini, and just add a touch of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper and finito!
Antipasto Salad Variations
This salad is so adaptable to anyone’s taste.
- I love proscuitto but you can swap it for turkey pepperoni, ham or turkey for leaner options, or use Genoa salami or soppressata.
- You can leave the meat out altogether and add chickpeas, marinated artichoke heats, more cheese and olives.
- Sometimes I also add shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms, whatever you like.
- Swap the mozzarella for provolone.
The real trick to get the bold flavors is from the pepperoncini and Giardiniera, which are both sold jarred in Italian section of the supermarket and add a lot of flavor to the salad. If you can’t find Giardiniera, it’s fairly simple to make it yourself, here’s a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
I made this salad for one, but it can easily be multiplied for 2 or 4. One note, this is not low in sodium, because of the meats, olives and cheese, so if you’re watching your sodium, opt for low sodium ham, cheese and make your own pickled vegetables.
- 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 thin slice red onion
- 4 green pitted olives, or black
- 1 pepperoncini, sliced
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, sliced (homemade, or buy packed in water)
- 1/4 cup Giardiniera, I used Victoria brand
- 1/3 cup cucumbers, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup Polly-o part skim shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 oz 4 turkey pepperoni, sliced thin
- 2 slices Prosciutto, Di Parma, sliced
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar or vinegar brine from pepperoncini
- fresh black pepper
- Place the lettuce on a large dish and top with meats, vegetables and cheese.
- In a small bowl add vinegar or brine from pepperoncini, add black pepper and whisk in oil.
- Drizzle over salad and enjoy!