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This easy Tortellini Salad combines all the robust flavors of a classic antipasto appetizer. A great side dish for summer BBQs!

Salami, ham,  cheese, and veggies make up this robust Antipasto Tortellini Salad.

Until this week, I totally thought the word was “antipasta” and that it was an appetizer that wasn’t pasta. Makes sense, right?

In the real world that exists outside of my foggy brain, the word is antipastO, which means “before the meal.” It’s a traditional first course in Italy and usually consists of cold foods including cured meats, cheeses, olives, peperoncini, and marinated vegetables. So I guess my first assumption wasn’t exactly wrong, but it sure wasn’t right, either.  This may not seem like a big deal to many of you, but I’m a food blogger, and I feel like I should probably know these things by now (Hint: I don’t).

Antipasto Tortellini Salad packed with smoked provolone, ham, salami, artichokes, and fresh veggies!

I’ve ordered antipasto before at a restaurant, and I’m shuddering thinking of myself proudly enunciating the A at the end, much to the waiter’s amusement, I’m sure.

On a side note, does anyone else have a mini panic attack when attempting to order food you have no idea how to pronounce? What do you do? Point to it on the menu? Throw caution to the wind and just go for it? I usually go for it, but in dragged out question form. Yes, I’ll have the ribeye with the hair–i–cot verts???? insert nervous laugh here* It’s awkward.

And can we please just call them green beans, fancy restaurant? Because that’s what they are.

Antipasto Tortellini Pasta Salad- a great picnic side dish or main dish!

Well that took an expected turn. Back to the antipastO. It’s one of my favorite things to order at restaurants. Sometimes the Mr. and I will go to a restaurant just for the antipasto. I mean, a plate full of savory meats and smoky cheeses? Forget the whatever-comes-after-the-antipasto. That’s all I need.

Since I discovered Antipasto doesn’t really mean NO PASTA, I decided to make it into a pasta salad dish just to confuse everyone even more. You’re welcome.

But really guys, this is some darn good pasta salad. Salami, ham, and smoked provolone cheese provide a robust base of savory goodness, while the tomatoes and artichokes add tang and texture. I will definitely be using tortellini for more pasta salads in the future. I loved the texture and extra cheesiness they provide!

And the dressing for this? It’s just right. I was skeptical when I first tried it. I probably wouldn’t want to just toss the stuff on a side salad, but it was perfect with the pasta and veggies. The longer it sits, the more the pasta slurps up the flavor, so this is also a good dish to make a day ahead of time.

This recipe serves a crowd as a side dish, but I ate it as a main dish several days in a row. It’s definitely satisfying enough to stand on its own. The serving sizes below are based on side dish portions, so adjust accordingly.

Take this Antipasto Tortellini Pasta Salad to your next cookout and be the star of the party!

The Sunday Supper team has come up with a plethora (don’t you just love that word?) of recipes for you that are all served cold. So whether you’re packing a picnic, or just trying to avoid turning on your oven, this is the week for you! Check out all of their contributions below the recipe.

Antipasto Tortellini Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
For the salad:
  • 19 oz. bag frozen tortellini
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • Half of a 6 ounce jar of pitted ripe olives
  • Half of a 12 ounce jar of artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces cappicola ham, chopped
  • 4 ounces Genoa salami, chopped
  • 8 ounces smoked provolone cheese, chopped
  • Large handful fresh basil, torn into small pieces
For the dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  1. Cook tortellini in a large pot according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool the pasta down and stop it from cooking more.
  2. In a large bowl combine tortellini, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, ham, salami, cheese, and basil.
  3. In a small jelly jar combine mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place the lid on the jar and shake it well for a minute, or until ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour dressing over the tortellini mixture and toss to combine. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with additional basil if desired.

 Recipe adapted from Food Network

Summer Chillin’ Recipes!
Brisk Beverages

Chilled Starters

Snappy Salads and Sides

Refreshing Main Dishes

Cool Confections

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  • The Ninja Baker July 6, 2014, 7:47 AM

    You can serve me up a bowl of antipasto with pasta as an appetizer or as a meal…Either way I’m in…And it doesn’t matter how you pronounce something as long as the dish or dessert served is delicioso!

  • Shannon July 6, 2014, 10:28 AM

    This sounds like a perfect start to a meal…or really its all I would want for my meal because it’s filled with all things good. Yum!

  • Liz July 6, 2014, 11:49 AM

    Oooh, this is perfect picnic fare!!! I’d also love a bowl of your pasta salad parked in my fridge for lunches throughout the week…so yummy!

  • L.A. Brown July 6, 2014, 12:00 PM

    I used to be confused about the word until years ago when my friend Andy joined a popular musical group and his stage name was AndyPasto. With that said … great looking salad. 🙂 And I agree with Liz, perfect for a picnic.

  • Marion Myers July 6, 2014, 12:34 PM

    Too funny! It seems it is a common mistake. So many people think it is ‘without pasta’ even my European mother-in-law. I can’t convince her otherwise haha. Your recipe sounds delicious and beautiful pictures too!

  • Marlene A Baird July 6, 2014, 1:24 PM

    That’s so funny. I have heard other people say that before. For some reason, I always knew that it didn’t me no pasta, and it ends in the letter O. Making it into a pasta salad is genius.

  • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons July 6, 2014, 2:08 PM

    I LOVE this post, Courtney! And I think I’ve even seen it spelled AntipastI. So what the heck does THAT mean?!? And yes, they are just green beans. Let’s just go ahead and call them that.

    I’m digging this anitpasto/a/i salad so much. Frozen tortellini is one of my favorite tricks for party food!

  • Tara July 6, 2014, 3:04 PM

    I have made a salad like this and I loved it, super yummy!!!

  • Michele @ Flavor Mosaic July 6, 2014, 4:36 PM

    I love antipasto salads and the tortellini takes it up a notch.

  • Sherron @Simply Gourmet July 6, 2014, 5:33 PM

    This sounds amazing!

  • Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) July 6, 2014, 6:50 PM

    Ha! I’ve definitely called it antipasta for years. I’m glad you cleared that up for me!

  • Julie @ Texan New Yorker July 6, 2014, 9:28 PM

    This looks amazing, I love antipasto anything (pizza is really excellent!). I definitely know what you mean about being in a restaurant and not knowing how to pronounce what you’re ordering. I’ll usually smile at the server, point, and go, “I’ll have the…. is it….” and just hope they say it for me and save me. (They usually do!). I’ll have to make this for sure, I haven’t had tortellini in forever. Thanks!

  • mommasangelbaby July 6, 2014, 11:20 PM

    This sounds so delicious, and I’m so hungry, I need a towel to wipe the drool from my keyboard! I really with there were smellernet or tasternet! Millions and billions of dollars for whoever invents it! I’m totally with you about pronunciation, and I too am a huge fan of the word plethora! HUGS

  • Shaina Wizov July 7, 2014, 7:24 AM

    I used to think the same thing about “antipasta” salads!! And when I order things I can’t pronounce, I preface it with “I have no idea how to say this but I want the….**points to menu and sadly attempts to say the word** LOL

  • Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious July 7, 2014, 9:18 AM

    I love the word plethora and I love your salad! I think I’ll do my own kitchen sink-version tonight!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood July 8, 2014, 10:46 AM

      This is a great dish to clear out the fridge! A kitchen sink version would be wonderful.

  • Nancy July 7, 2014, 1:59 PM

    I used to think the same thing about antipasto! Or I’d get confused with “pesto”. In other words, I’m an idiot, lol. Girl, we share the same brain – I was literally just thinking yesterday that it’s high time I make a pasta salad. This looks delicious! It’s full of so many tasty ingredients. As for the not being able to pronounce things – I’m the worst. I’m so uncultured. I ALWAYS point to the dish that I want to eat if I can’t say it. I’m also terrible in Chinese restaurants. Even when I know how to say the name of a dish, I get so nervous because I know that my Chinese isn’t that great that I totally blank out when the waitress comes and then I’ll just jab spastically at the menu. Sigh. I need to put my big girl pants on sometimes.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood July 8, 2014, 10:45 AM

      Haha! I do the SAME thing, even with words I know how to pronounce. It’s ordering anxiety I guess. Like I know now that bruschetta isn’t pronounced “broo-shet-a” but is actually “broo-sket-a”, but every time I order it I still panic at the last second and wonder if I’ve gotten them mixed up again.

  • Melanie | Melanie Makes July 7, 2014, 2:06 PM

    Appetizer in salad form? Genius!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog July 7, 2014, 3:17 PM

    If I’m unable to pronounce the menu item, I usually point to the item. I hate saying something wrong and having the waiter look at me funny. This salad looks so fresh–perfect for summer.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood July 8, 2014, 10:44 AM

      Ugh…it’s so awkward, right? I especially am afraid to say it super confidently and then butcher it. At least if I’m going to butcher it, I want to sound like I know I’m butchering it. 🙂

  • Serena Bakes July 7, 2014, 9:03 PM

    I always forget Antipasto isn’t just salad also! It’s one of my favs!

  • Hezzi-D July 7, 2014, 10:15 PM

    I love tortellini ANYTHING! Then you go and add all the yumminess of antipasto? I’m totally sold on this!

  • cheri July 7, 2014, 11:53 PM

    What a gorgeous salad, love this combination! I think we all have the same problem with different types of restaurants, I will usually point.

  • Bobbi Renee Hass-Burleson July 9, 2014, 4:13 PM

    I am an antipasto NUT! Yes please!!

  • littleredkitchen July 9, 2014, 5:25 PM

    This is one of my favorite things to do when I don’t feel like cooking. Get some stuff and toss it with pasta. Best part is lunch and dinner for days!

  • Alice July 9, 2014, 6:43 PM

    well this is just fabulous! 🙂 My girls LOVE their tortellini and what a fun new way to enjoy it!! I’m going to try this for a party next weekend -thanks for sharing!

  • Maggie Zhu July 11, 2014, 12:50 PM

    This is such a lovely recipe! Love the idea of cooking tortellini with those great ingredients! Will definitely try this out!

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