Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that’s also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

One of my favorite things about spring and summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks is getting to try out a variety of new dishes. I can sample a bit of everything, and have seconds of the things I love. One of the dishes I always enjoy is the Italian Antipasto Pasta Salads that tend to show up at those events. I love them every time, but until this month, had never made one myself.

Today is National Picnic Day, and it was the perfect excuse for me to make my own version of this potluck favorite. My version below has a good proportion of veggies, meat, and cheese to make this salad filling enough to be a meal in and of itself. But the nice part about this salad is that it’s easily customizable. Don’t like something in here? Swap it out, or skip it all together. Play with the proportions to add more of your favorite ingredients. Here are a few ideas for tweaking this recipe to your taste (or to what’s in your fridge/pantry):

  • Swap the rotini for tortellini
  • Skip the cheese or replace the mozzarella with provolone
  • Add marinated artichoke hearts (yum!)
  • Toss in some fresh spinach
  • Swap the pepperoncini for whatever olives you have on hand

 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

Don’t forget to check out scroll down and check out the rest of the recipes our Festive Foodie bloggers have for you, for your upcoming picnics.

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Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad

Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that’s also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch.

Course Lunch, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. whole wheat rotini pasta cooked according to package and cooled
  • 1/2 c. red onion small dice
  • 3/4 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. bell pepper any color, small dice
  • 3/4 c. pepperoncini small dice
  • 3/4 c. mozzarella pearls or fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 9 slices pepperoni small dice
  • 9 slices genoa salami small dice
  • Italian dressing and/or extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine pasta, red onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoncini, mozzarella, pepperoni and salami. Toss to combine.
  2. Drizzle with Italian dressing and/or olive oil to your liking. (See notes below).
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used half Italian dressing (I like Good Seasoning’s Italian Dressing and Newman’s Own) and half extra-virgin olive oil, as the antipasto gives the salad quite a bit of flavor. I add just enough dressing and oil to coat.
 Salty, spicy Italian antipasto fixings are paired with fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta to create an Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, a delicious side that's also hearty enough to enjoy for lunch..

Big thanks to Ellen at Family Around the Table for hosting this event! Don’t forget to check out more spring/summer picnic (or BBQ or potluck) inspiration from the Festive Foodie bloggers:

 

Italian Green Bean Salad

Despite 10 years of blogging, there are some dishes that I make that I’ve never considered blogging about. They’re family classics that I make on auto-pilot, that feel a bit like cheater recipes. No or very minimal recipe, sometimes using store-bought ingredients. This recipe is one of them.

My grandmother has made this Italian Green Bean Salad for as long as I can remember. I remember – back when I was in elementary school – picking the green beans from her huge backyard garden, sitting on the steps trimming the ends, and then watching her make it for family dinner that night. It’s a quick and easy recipe, perfect for weeknight dinners but also summer BBQs and potlucks, as it can be served at room temperature. It’s also easy to adjust the recipe for a dinner for two or to feed a crowd.

Italian Green Bean Salad

Recipe Notes:

  • This salad can be served warm (room temperature) or cold, straight from the fridge. If making ahead and storing in the fridge, be sure to check before serving, to make sure that it doesn’t need a little extra salad dressing.
  • Asiago cheese can be exchanged for Parmesan, if you have that on hand.

Italian Green Bean Salad

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
  • Italian Salad Dressing (I use Good Seasonings Italian, made with balsamic vinegar)
  • Asiago cheese, finely grated (about 1 oz. Asiago, grated)

Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and blanch, cooking for 3-5 minutes until still crunchy. With a slotted spoon or tongs, move green beans to bowl of ice, to prevent beans from cooking any longer. When beans have cooled to room temperature (or cooler), drain and transfer to a serving dish.

Toss green beans with Italian dressing. Top with finely grated Asiago cheese just before serving.

Serve green beans at room temperature or cold.

Store covered tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge, if not serving immediately.

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Tortellini with Fresh Basil Pesto

Happy Sunday! I hope you are enjoying a long weekend celebrating our great country.

My family and I are thankfully having a mostly lazy weekend – play dates, baking, and chores, with a dinner with friends planned for the 4th. We’ve had a whirlwind could of weeks with me away for a week and some family in town. I’ve been enjoying playing catch up. Enjoying the relative quiet in the house. And enjoying taking a little bit of time to menu plan, blog plan, and vacation plan.

Tortellini with Fresh Basil Pesto

Store-bought ravioli or tortellini with homemade pesto from the freezer has become an easy weeknight staple in our house. It takes so little effort and time to make that we really have no excused for ordering out when I’ve got the pasta and pesto in the freezer. I stock up on homemade pesto when my herbs (or my mom’s herbs) are growing like crazy over the summer time. They’ve been planted for less than two months and they’ve already started to grow a bit wild. I’ve already have to trim them back several times, freezing sage leaves and making both cilantro and basil pesto.

Tortellini with Fresh Basil Pesto

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 2 as a main dish, 3-4 as a side dish

Ingredients for the Tortellini:

  • 1-9 oz. package store-bought cheese tortellini
  • 1 c. fresh basil pesto (ingredients and instructions below)

Ingredients for the Basil Pesto: (makes 1 cup) 

  • 2 c. packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • ¼ c. pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, skins removed
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, more if needed

Prepare tortellini according to package. While tortellini are cooking, make the pesto. (If tortellini are finished before pesto, drain, toss with a little bit of olive oil to avoid sticking, and cover to keep warm.)

Make the Pesto: Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until large chunks. With the food processor still running, slowly pour in olive oil. Turn off when thoroughly combined.

Toss tortellini and pesto, until tortellini are completely coated. You may not need the entire cup.

Freezing Pesto: Basil pesto freezes wonderfully and is one of my favorite things to stock up on over summer, for quick weeknight dinners throughout the year.

To freeze, transfer pesto to an airtight container (I use mason jars) and freeze until ready to use. Pesto may be defrosted in the fridge or for 30-60 seconds in the microwave (don’t forget to take off the metal lid and rim!)

Fresh Basil Pesto
Tortellini with Homemade Basil Pesto on Books n Cooks
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Cilantro Lime Rice for #MexicanRecipes

I don’t know about you all, but we’re big Chipotle fans in our house. Burrito bowl for me, burrito for my hubby, and my kids split the quesadilla kids meal – Miss. Hazelnut getting the quesadilla and fruit/chips and Mr. Nutterbutter getting the rice, black beans, and guacamole. This rice reminds me a lot of the rice at the bottom of my burrito bowl, with a burst of freshness from the lime juice and cilantro added at the end. It holds its own as a part of dish or as a standalone side.

Be sure to check at the end of the recipe for more #MexicanRecipes to inspire your weekend entertaining. And huge thanks to Sue at Palatable Pastime for organizing this great event!

Cilantro Lime Rice

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 c. long-grained rice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 a bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

In a medium stockpot over medium heat, heat vegetable oil. Add onion and garlic, cooking for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat to low. Add rice and salt. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, lemon zest, and about 3/4 of the lime juice (reserving the remaining lime juice for finishing). Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid is gone and rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Toss rice with reserved lime juice and cilantro.

Serve hot as a side dish or as the base for burrito bowls (I like to make them with taco meat, roasted or sauteed peppers and onion, homemade salsa, guacamole, and cheese.)

#MexicanRecipes
Happy #MexicanRecipes
Let’s have a fiesta of Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes all week long!

Check back each and every day for new recipes by following along with the hashtag #MexicanRecipes on social media.

Are you a food blogger interested in posting within our blogging community? Find out more by joining us online: Holiday Fun with Our Blog Friends.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts for #SundaySupper

My hubby and I ate very differently when we started dating. With me being raised in New England and my hubby from the deep South, we grew up on different foods. My family ate a lot of comfort foods (meatloaf Mondays anyone?) and from my Italian and Polish roots. My hubby grew up on casseroles, catfish, and whatever game came home from hunting trips.

So when we started dating, it was easy to impress him with what I considered old-standbys, like pasta with meat sauce and chicken parmesan. He was not quite as open-minded about trying new vegetables, however. To this day, I still remember making him these Roasted Brussels Sprouts and hearing the doubt in his tone when I served them. It’s a Brussels sprout, and you know those have a bad reputation. He was convinced that they were going to be terrible.

Hubby didn’t expect to love roasted Brussels sprouts as much as he did. Today, he not only requests this side dish, but he peeks into the oven to see how much longer until they’re done.

Brussels sprouts really do get a bad rap. But when you roast them perfectly, they’re amazing. Crispy on the outside, just under al dente on the inside. The recipe below is my favorite way to make them – very simply, seasoned only with a healthy sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can throw a few slices (probably 6-8 for the recipe below) of diced, raw bacon in there when cooking. My hubby loves it when he finds a bacon surprise in one of his favorite vegetable dishes. 🙂

These Roasted Brussels Sprouts are just one of the healthy, green recipes the #SundaySupper tastemakers have put together for you, for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for more inspiration on healthy options for your St. Patty’s Day.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved, with outer leaves discarded
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat an oven to 450F.

In a large Pyrex or baking dish, toss Brussels sprouts with oil until mostly coated. Sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the pepper. Toss. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Toss.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Brussels sprouts should be cooked throughout but not be soft, and leaves will be beginning to get crispy.

Serve immediately.

Check out more fabulous healthy, green recipes for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations below, from the #SundaySupper tastemakers.

Best Breakfasts

Must Make Main Dishes

Scrumptious Salads

Stunning Sides

Dreamy Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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