Making a family-style sharing salad doesn’t come easier or tastier than this super easy antipasto salad platter with roasted peppers, creamed mixed herb pesto and all sorts of other goodies pulled from the fridge and larder.
Super easy antipasto salad platter
This is what I call an end-of-the-week meal. It’s a leftovers salad made into a full meal.
I’ve emptied the fridge of all those little leftovers and bits and pieces that are lurking in there. I’ve also hit the larder for couscous and used yesterday’s bread for the croutons.
What is antipasto?
Traditionally Italian antipasto (antipasti is the singular) is served before a meal. It is a mixture of nibbles that is the hors d’oeuvre in France or just nibbles in English. a platter packed with cured meats, olives, capers, anchovies, mushrooms and the like.
The overture before the meal that is the main movie. However, antipasto can be a meal in itself if you turn it into this amazing and super easy antipasto salad platter.
Ingredients for an antipasto salad platter
Those all-important greens. As this salad platter was a case of pulling together a meal with what I had on hand I used lettuce and kale from my garden. Use any salad leaves you like. As well as stronger greens like spinach or kale.
Using kale in a salad.
A lot of people shy away from kale when it comes to salads thinking it’s too tough and chewy. Not so. If you take just a few moments to snip out the thick stems in the kale leaves then tear up those leaves a bit and massage them with olive oil you’ll have some tasty, super healthy green leaves for this salad.
I know it sounds a bit weird massaging a vegetable, or maybe it doesn’t, but let’s not even go there! But bear with me on this one. Rubbing in the oil really softens up the kale and makes it much easier to eat and digest as well as adding to the flavour.
Hardly any cooking!
There is hardly any actual cooking involved in this antipasto salad recipe. All you have to use the cooker for is to hard boil the eggs, toast the nuts (I used almonds) for your creamy pesto and to roast the peppers and give the croutons a couple of minutes in there too.
Even the couscous can be made just by boiling the kettle and then leaving the couscous to puff up and do its stuff. Everything else for this amazing salad is a construction and serving job really.
I had a selection of pepper parts in the fridge, you know what it’s like when you just use half a pepper in a recipe and the rest languishes in the fridge.
Well now is the time to use all those pepper parts up and cut into strips and roast them with some sea salt, pepper and dried oregano.
Trust me, roasting the peppers really brings out their sweetness and flavour as well as adding that soft texture and roasty taste.
Dips for an antipasto platter
Creamed mixed herb pesto
I am a huge believer in making pesto out of absolutely anything (well almost!). In fact I even wrote a book about it, A Passion For Pesto, which has over 50 different types of pesto based on all sorts of herbs to veggies, weeds and sweet fruit pestos too.
Anyway, this luxurious creamy pesto is made by whizzing up your favourite pesto ingredients (I had parsley from the garden plus some basil and a little lovage, again from the garden) along with some Greek yogurt. Making this creamy pesto sauce couldn’t be easier and it goes perfectly on this antipasto platter.
The whole point is to be mixing and matching flavours and textures for a great all round taste experience.
I’ve also used a drizzle of mayonnaise over the hard-boiled eggs in my salad. Check out this article on how to make the easiest foolproof homemade mayonnaise.
You could also use lovely rich garlicy aioli, try my homemade aioli recipe.
Here are some other pesto ideas for you to try;
Again this is all about adding texture to your salad. In this case it’s the crunch factor. I just used a slice of day old sourdough bread and chopped it into 1cm pieces. Tossed it with some olive oil and harissa spice mix and then popped it into the oven for a few minutes.
How to plate an antipasto platter
You can plate this salad up any way you like but I love just using one big platter and having everyone just dig in and help themselves to what they like. Then everyone is happy and has what they actually want on their salad plate.
There is nothing worse than if you mix everything together in a sharing salad and half the company has to pick bits out that they don’t like.
By simply serving this salad with every element in its own little pile you are letting everyone choose what they want.
I had some slices of honey roast ham in the fridge from lunchtime sandwiches and also some beef carpaccio. Yes, I am the sort of person who keeps that in the fridge!
For me this antipasto salad is all about the vegetables. I’ve literally used everything from the fridge and garden here;
Kale, lettuce, radishes, baby tomatoes, cucumber, celery, spring onions, sweetcorn (Just one-half cob that was leftover in the fridge from a pack of 4 used earlier in the week) and carrot.
A note on the carrot; I love to grate carrot for salads. It’s a very French thing. I grate the carrot and mix with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and a little oil. It tastes marvellous. Yet again it is giving a different texture element to your antipasto salad.
For the pesto use any herbs you have handy and don’t just think of pine nuts. Use almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts. Anything you have. Just toast them up for a minute and whizz them up in your pesto.
I’ve used giant couscous but you can of course use standard couscous. Rice, pasta or tiny orzo pasta. You can even drop this carb element altogether if you want to be healthier. Why not use canned chickpeas or any type of canned beans.
Croutons and no harissa spice mix. Just use some garlic salt with black pepper and the olive oil.
Cold meats; use anything from chicken to pork, roast beef or ham. Salami or chorizo of course. Why not try tinned tuna, sardines or smoked mackerel.
Don’t want to roast the peppers yourself? Then use a jar of ready roasted peppers from the supermarket and slice them up. Alternatively, just serve fresh peppers cut into strips and avoid the roasting altogether.
Use any cheese that you have in the fridge. I had mozzarella and nothing else. Normally I’d have a few different types of cheese available. Use what you have.
Olives, wow I would love to add olives to this antipasto platter. I just didn’t have any available.
Breadsticks or crisps/chips
Artichoke hearts from a jar
Pickles of all types
I always make my salad dressings in a jar. Simply add your olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard powder, honey and seasonings, pop on the lid and shake. Voila! Salad dressing ou can use now or store in the fridge as it is for up to a week.
Is this antipasto salad platter healthy?
You bet your ass it is. Just look at all those veggies. If you want to go low carb and even healthier, then lose the croutons and couscous. But for me this salad is healthy enough and a great family-style meal.
Antipasto party platter
Want to up this for a party. Then just add in either more salad elements or bigger portions of what is already on the platter.
If serving this antipasto platter for a party you could make a few platters and either serve all the ingredients on each plate or divide things up a bit for a sort of grazing approach like a buffet.
Your guests would then pick and choose from a few different mixed platters. Try to keep your plate ingredients mixed though as that really is the whole point of an antipasto salad platter, everything in one place rather than in separate bowls.
Looking for more fun and fabulous salad ideas? Then check these out;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Super easy antipasto salad platter
- 2 peppers mixed colours roasted in oven in strips for 20 minutes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Or use peppers from a jar
- 4 medium eggs hard-boiled and halved
- 1 slice bread cut into 1cm cubes, tossed in olive oil and harissa or garlic salt and baked n oven for 5 minutes
- 6 slices ham or any other cold meat
- 1 cup salad greens or kale rubbed with olive oil to soften
- 10 baby tomatoes
- 1/2 cucumber sliced
- 1 stick celery sliced into match sticks
- 4 spring onions sliced
- 1 large carrot roughly grated
- 100 g couscous I used giant couscous, or use rice, pasta whatever you fancy
Creamed Herb Pesto
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds or pine nuts, walnuts whatever you fancy
- 4 tbsp basil chopped mixed herbs like basil, oregano, parsley or coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp parmesan grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- toast the nuts in a dry pan for about 1 minute till just golden and aromatic, immediately tip out of pan to stop cooking
- whizz all pesto ingredients in small food processor
Assembling the antipasto salad platter
- Have the salad dressing in a small jar on the side
- Plate up all the ingredients on large platter but don't mix them together as you would in a normal salad, keep everything in seperate piles
- Serve this family style so everyone helps themselves to what they want and puts it on their own plate and adds the salad dressing to leaves if they wish