Gosh, when I get on a roll with a certain kind of food, I just keep on going. Right now, it’s Italian-ish things, as you will see in this post and the next one and maybe even the one after that.
This is one of those kinds of salads that I end up asking myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It contains, among a host of other stellar ingredients, giardiniera. In case you are not familiar with giardiniera, it is a sometimes spicy pickled combination of cauliflower, carrots, celery, peppers, and onions and often has a heat factor to it. It can generally be found with other pickled products in the grocery store.
Giardiniera is not a new item, but I have never thought to add it to a salad. When I have had it in the past, it has generally stood alone as a small side dish or condiment; a momentary distraction from the main meal. In this salad the flavor of the giardiniera vegetables weaves in and out among the other salad ingredients. I used giardiniera brine in the salad dressing and it brings a really great flavor to the salad as a whole.
I found the original recipe at Taste of Home, but have adapted it quite a bit. It’s possible that I have made so many adaptations that I could call it my own recipe, but I carry a HUGE guilt factor around with me all the time. Mostly, it’s that giardiniera thing that keeps me from calling this my very own recipe. I didn’t think of that one all by myself.
I’m sure you have some more summertime picnics or gatherings in your near future and this would be a great addition to your food lineup. There’s no mayo, so it can stand up to some outdoor heat. In keeping with an antipasto theme, toss on some croutons for a textural crunch. I had actually bought a bag of croutons for this particular salad and then forgot to use them. The recipe does make a big bowl of salad and because of the meats in the salad, I think that it can be used as a main course salad. Just add some rolls or crusty bread or even a sandwich and you are good to go.
Please NOTE: By way of education on the word “antipasto”, I would like to offer the following. In Italian, the word “anti” means “before”. Pasto or pasti means “meal”. Therefore, antipasto simply means “before the meal”. In Italy, an antipasto platter is served as a sort of appetizer or prelude to the main portion of the meal. It generally consists of meats, cheeses, olives, and pickled vegetables. Sometimes fruit is also served. Small portions are customary; it’s not meant to fill you up. The partaking of the antipasto portion of the meal is a time for guests and family to mingle and talk around the table. For a wonderful article on antipasto, visit this Delallo site.
Recipe adapted by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’. Original recipe source: Taste of Home
For the Salad
- 8 ounces (weight) medium shell-shaped pasta or pasta shape of your choice, cooked al dente in salted water
- 1 jar(16 ounces) giardiniera (it generally comes in regular and spicy hot)
- 1/4 pound diced pepperoni (purchased from the deli and sliced 1/4-inch thick, then cubed at home)
- 1/4 pound diced provolone cheese (purchased from the deli and sliced 1/4 thick, then cubed at home)
- 1/4 pound diced salami (I purchased a small, whole salami from the lunch meat area of my grocery store. At home I sliced it a scant 1/4-inch thick and then diced it.)
- 1 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 1 cup (small dice) purple onions
- 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, (any tough parts removed) sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 12 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 12 red cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
Dressing for Antipasto Salad
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup reserved giardiniera brine or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup Terri’s Garlic Bread Seasoning or dry garlic bread seasoning of choice
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if you like a little heat)
For the Salad
- Drain the giardiniera, reserving 1/2 cup of brine. Some of the pieces in the gardiniera may need to be cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces, particularly the cauliflower.
- In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients EXCEPT the Romaine lettuce. Set aside.
- Make the dressing and pour over the salad ingredients in the large bowl. Toss together well. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
- Just before serving, toss salad with the romaine lettuce.
For the Antipasto Salad Dressing
- In a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake all of the dressing ingredients together.
- Pour over salad per above instructions.
This recipe has been shared at the following linky parties:
- Flour Me With Love–Mix It Up Monday
- Miz Helen’s Country Cottage–Full Plate Thursday
- Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas–Creative Thursday Link Party 18
- Simple Living with Diane Balch–Foodie Friday