Loaded with grilled vegetables, cherry tomatoes and cannellini beans, this antipasto pasta salad is the picnic dish you need this summer.
Picnic season is here to stay; can we send up a collective “Thank goodness“? I love the family dinner table and all, but after months of self-isolating, it’s a relief to change up the view.
Whether we’ve journeyed to a nearby beach or settled on our dock, dinner al fresco is always far more fun. And on those days when it’s too hot to cook, a hearty pasta salad and a refreshing drink is all we need to be happy.
Hit the jump for today’s veggie-forward salad recipe and a little more picnic inspiration for the season.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
A bowl of olives, a box of pasta shells and a large, loaded platter of grilled vegetables doused in olive oil inspired this summer dish.
As I wrote last week, I’m grilling all the vegetables these days; what better way to use up a huge platter of charred eggplant, zucchini and peppers than in a big salad.
Keeping with the antipasto theme, I rounded out the pasta salad with sweet cherry tomatoes, a few spoonfuls of salty Pecorino Romano cheese, and white cannellini beans.
This antipasto picnic salad is SO GOOD, it deserves to be bumped from side to main dish.
The cannellini (white kidney) beans add a little extra protein and it’s so easy to grab a can from that well-stocked pantry and add it to the mix.
I like to keep the salad vegetarian, but it’s also delicious with most any cured meat you’d find on an antipasto platter. Try ribbons of proscuitto or cubes of dry salami.
Do-Ahead Picnic Fare
I may have saved the best news for last: this antipasto pasta salad can be prepped in advance, making your picnic getaway that much speedier! It’s even better after a few hours in the fridge, which give all the flavours a chance to meld.
And thanks to a tangy herb & grilled lemon dressing, this salad can take that summer heat without spoiling (as opposed to a mayonnaise-based salad). So go ahead, and make this dish for your next beach excursion. Don’t forget the lemonade or iced tea.
Here’s to getting outside, nourishing picnic fare, and a taste of Italy in your own backyard.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
- 1 lemon cut in half and grilled
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 box Barilla pasta shells cooked and cooled
- 2 cups chopped grilled vegetables sweet bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, eggplant
- 1 cup cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 head radicchio grilled
- 1/4 cup chopped soft herbs parsley, basil, or oregano
- 1/4 cup pitted black olives
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- Squeeze the grilled lemon, pulp and all, into a small bowl. Remove any seeds. Whisk in olive oil until the dressing is creamy. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, grilled vegetables and beans. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the salad. Shred the radicchio and add to the salad, along with the chopped herbs and olives.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss in the Romano cheese and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve at room temperature.
More picnic salads:
- Lobster or Tuna Nicoise Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Asparagus
- Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad
- Rainbow Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Sesame
- Cobb Salad Sandwich with Avocado Spread
- Black Bean and Farro Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
- Quick Asian Noodle Salad
Original article: Antipasto Pasta Salad.