This Big Italian Antipasto Salad recipe is the Italian countryside in a bowl. Compiling the perfect combination of Italian cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables, a sweet contrast, and a crusty finish for lazy grazing, appetizers, or even dinner.
A LOVE FOR CURED MEATS & CHEESE
In my house, a holiday did not (and does not) happen without antipasto. It’s like a precursor to a meal, like salad or soup (although we had that too). My family is big and Italian and charcuterie is just tradition. I mean, charcuterie is delicious finger food for adults.
There’s the cured meats, fancy cheeses, or basic cheeses that get paired with things that lift them up, vegetables that get marinated or grilled, and feel like an indulgence. Then there’s the bitter and sweet things to compliment the salty meats and cheeses – like olives, and jams.
Pair it all together with that perfect crusty piece of Italian bread or breadstick. Don’t forget the wine! If it sounds like I’m waxing poetic about antipasto, that’s because I am. It’s a fun little mental vacation for me to think about! I encourage you to try it too.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, I need to state that I’m really picky about my antipasto. That’s because the quality of each ingredient makes a huge difference since the whole dish is about savoring each individual ingredient. Makes sense? So aim for high-quality ingredients when you can. Or focus on one really nice ingredient, like imported aged prosciutto.
This little detail is maybe another reason to love charcuterie. There’s something slow, reminiscent, and relaxing about it. Like stopping to taste your food instead of rushing through it while vacationing. Something that values appreciating the beauty in life must be Italian.
I love this salad because it's everything you love about charcuterie tossed together. And every single component of this stands out and compliments each other really well.
Now, I’m no expert on pairings, but I do know what I like. One of those things is using opposites. Pairing things on a charcuterie board goes something like this: spicy with briny, soft with crunchy, salty with sweet, and on and on. There are connoisseurs for these things, but I say – have fun with experimenting!
This Big Italian Antipasto Salad is a combo of classic meats, cheeses, and vegetables. But do feel like you can swap in your favorites! For instance, the Italian deli up the block from me makes the absolute best sundried tomatoes. I’m truly addicted to them. So, when I happen to go get them, they find their way into this salad. But potentially your Italian deli makes great marinated mushrooms and they should get tossed in!
Below is a cheat sheet on how to put together a great antipasto board or salad. You can take this recipe as is or you can start to create your own.
Charcuterie by Character
Salty – parmesan, provolone, mozzarella, salami, prosciutto, Italian hams
Spicy – hot soppresatta, hot peppers, arugula
Bitter/Briny – giardiniera, olives, vinegar
Sweet – sundried tomatoes, figs, dates, raisins, fig jam, apricot jam, balsamic reduction, basil
Crunchy – breadsticks, Italian bread, crostini, croutons
Fresh - spring mix, romaine, mushrooms, eggplant, roasted red peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers
Dressing – balsamic, oil and red wine vinegar, none!
Considering were eating lots of cured meats and cheeses in this meal, the thing to pay attention to is the salt content, especially if you’re watching your sodium. An easy way to cut way back on sodium here is to buy fresh, rather than the jars of marinated vegetables. Personally, I like fresh and marinated vegetables from the deli anyway. The salt and brine are noticeably less pungent.
REHEATING & STORING
Antipasto actually does really well as leftovers. It seems that when it sits together, the marinades combine and the flavors impart on each other. You will taste less of each individual flavor, but the overall taste will still be great! If you’ve already mixed the salad, make sure it's covered tightly. And if you have leftover singular ingredients that have not been mixed in, you can store them separately, tightly wrapped.
AS ALWAYS, IF YOU MAKE THIS – PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!
Big Italian Antipasto Salad
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced
- Olive oil drizzle
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced eggplant strips
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups spring mix
- 1 cucumber diced
- ½ cup roasted red peppers rough chopped
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 2 oz salami
- 2 oz pepperoni
- 2 oz provolone
- 2 oz prosciutto
- 2 oz mozzarella
- ¼ cup olives
- ¼ cup croutons
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- ⅛ tsp red pepper
Heat a nonstick pan on medium, sauté mushrooms with drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stirring occasionally until browned, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside when finished.
Grill eggplant strips on a hot pan or grill pan. Drizzle with olive oil and the tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Set aside.
Cut pepperoni, salami, and provolone lengthwise into strips and then into bite-size pieces.
Layer salad in a big bowl starting with spring mix and half of everything: mushrooms, eggplant, roasted red peppers, onion, salami, pepperoni, provolone, cucumber, and croutons. Tear half the prosciutto and half of the mozzarella over the salad. Layer second half of ingredients.
In a mason jar, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, oregano, basil, and red pepper. Shake together and pour desired amount over salad.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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