Published Nov 18, 2022
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This vegetarian antipasto salad is easy to make and super flavorful. It’s packed with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, white beans and mozzarella all tossed in a red wine vinaigrette.
If you’re looking for the perfect salad to serve as an appetizer or side dish for a dinner look no further than this antipasto salad!
Antipasto is the traditional first course of an Italian meal and typically includes a variety of cheeses, cured meats like prosciutto and salami, and marinated vegetables like olives, artichokes and red peppers. The only difference between antipasto and antipasto salad is that one is served on a bed of lettuce instead of all the ingredients served separately on a platter.
You’ll find a lot of the classic antipasto salad ingredients in this recipe (like romaine lettuce, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, olives and artichoke hearts), but I decided to skip the cured meats and instead add white beans to make this recipe vegetarian.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Packed with flavor and has a variety of textures and tastes.
- Super easy to make and can be totally customized.
- It’s filling enough to be served on its own but also makes for a great side salad or appetizer.
- Everything is chopped into bite-size pieces so you’ll get a little bit of everything in each bite!
- It’s gluten-free and vegetarian.
- romaine lettuce – the base of this salad! The romaine adds a nice crunch and pairs well with the rest of the ingredients.
- cherry tomatoes – these add a slightly sweet flavor to the salad that I absolutely love.
- red onion – adds just a touch of zest!
- artichoke hearts – this is a classic addition to antipasto salad. Artichoke hearts can be found in the canned vegetable aisle of most grocery stores. Look for hearts that are packed in water or olive oil.
- green olives – green olives are a good addition to antipasto salad because they are a source of healthy fat and have a strong, distinct flavor that can help liven up this salad.
- kalamata olives – slightly fruity, salty and tangy. These olives will add plenty of flavor to the salad.
- roasted red peppers – adds a slight sweetness to this dish. I used store-bought roasted red peppers for convenience, but you can easily make your own. If you are purchasing from the store make sure they are made with 100% red peppers and have no other additives.
- pepperoncini peppers – I love the tangy and sweet peppery taste the pepperoncini peppers add to this salad!
- fresh mozzarella pearls – fresh mozzarella’s mild flavor pairs well with the variety of ingredients in this salad.
- cannellini beans – adds protein and fiber! Beans aren’t typically found in antipasto salad, but since I skipped the cured meats to make this dish vegetarian I still wanted to add some protein.
- red wine vinaigrette – I just love this red wine vinaigrette and it paired so well with all the ingredients. It’s super easy to whip up and you only need 6 ingredients… red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
- fresh basil – for serving! Other fresh herbs like oregano or dill would be delicious.
Substitutions & Variations
This salad is completely customizable! Here are some suggestions for variations and substitutions:
- Switch up the greens – if you’re not a fan of romaine, feel free to use your favorite lettuce or leafy green instead. Iceberg lettuce or leaf lettuce would probably be my next choice.
- Use different veggies – have different veggies on hand? Toss them in!
- Swap the cheese – I love the fresh mozzarella in this salad, but some other good options are provolone cheese, feta cheese, pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.
- Make this dairy-free and vegan – simply skip the mozzarella (or use a vegan option).
- Add more protein – chop up some cured meats and add that in for a more traditional antipasto salad! Genoa salami, prosciutto, pepperoni and Parma ham are all classic ingredients.
- Switch up the dressing – craving a different dressing? This white balsamic vinaigrette, homemade Italian dressing or lemon vinaigrette dressing would be delicious on this salad!
How to Make
Make dressing: Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Or add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake. Taste and add more salt & pepper if needed.
Combine ingredients: Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Portion salad into bowls for serving. You can drizzle the dressing over the salad slowly and add more if desired. Season with any additional salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some fresh basil. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled and enjoy!
How to Serve
- As a platter: One fun way to serve this popular salad is as a platter. You can do this on a large plate or cutting board. Place the romaine first as the bed, then spread out all the ingredients into separate sections. This allows guests to build their own salad instead of serving it as one big mix.
- With bread: Serve this salad with some bread (I love crusty sourdough bread) for the opportunity to create small sandwiches. Or serve with crackers (like these almond flour crackers) as the salad acts as the dip.
- Mixed: Simply bring all the ingredients to a big bowl and mix everything together for one big antipasto salad that people can serve themselves from.
How to Store Leftovers
This salad is best served right away, but if you have leftovers you can store them in an airtight sealed container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
I recommended storing the salad and dressing in separate containers as the vinaigrette will make the lettuce soggy. Also keep in mind that canned ingredients like artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and olives will also make the lettuce slightly soggy after sitting for a few days.
More Salad Recipes to Try
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Mediterranean Salmon Salad
- Blackened Chicken Cobb Salad
- Strawberry Salad
- Easy Spinach Salad
- Vegan Cobb Salad
- Greek Salad
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Tuna, Broccoli and Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
Be sure to check out the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!
- 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped (about 6-8 cups)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup red onion chopped
- 1 cup quartered artichoke hearts drained and patted dry
- ½ cup green olives halved
- ½ cup kalamata olives halved
- ½ cup roasted red peppers chopped, drained and patted dry
- ¼ cup Pepperoncini peppers finely chopped, drained and patted dry
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella balls halved
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- Red wine vinaigrette
- Fresh basil for serving
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Or add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Portion salad into bowls for serving. You can drizzle the dressing over the salad (start with half and add more as desired), taste and add more dressing if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Such a lovely Italian twist to a salad 🙂
Yay! I am so glad you are loving this recipe, Daniela. Thank you so much for sharing your review & star rating, I really appreciate it.