Antipasto Salad

Antipasto, in it’s mot traditional form it is served on a platter, where all the ingredients are separate (think charcuterie). The Italians will serve antipasto as an appetizer to awaken the taste buds and get you excited for what’s to come. In Italy you would find lots of cured meats and cheese native to the region on the platter. You would also enjoy marinated olives, fragrant olive oil for dipping, roasted red peppers and fresh focaccia to hold everything in the perfect bite.

Antipasto salad takes all those yummy ingredients and combines it into one of the most flavorful dishes you can eat. You can serve this salad as a side dish or a starter salad. Either way you’ll be glad you did, I made this two weeks in a row I liked it so much!

I love all the colors!

I love all the colors!

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Ingredients

SALAD

2 (15.5-oz) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed and skin removed (see note below)
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup packed baby spinach
8 oz. mozzarella balls (I buy the pearls from Belgioioso)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 English cucumber - sliced then quartered
4 oz. salami - cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup kalamata olives - I cut them in half but you can also leave them whole
1/4 c.up sliced pepperoncini peppers
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

DRESSING

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil - since this will be eaten raw, I use a high quality brand)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 clove garlic, I run it over a microplane to ensure it’s really fine 
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
Kosher salt - to your taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk vigorously to combine dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. Add all salad ingredients to bowl and toss to combine. Pour dressing over salad ingredients. Toss until everything is well combined and coated in dressing. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

  3. I like to refrigerate for an hour before serving to let all the flavors really combine and meld together.

NOTES:
a. go easy on the salt and pepper until the flavors have developed and the salad has set for an hour in the refrigerator.
b. this salad can be made ahead just wait to pour on the dressing until an hour prior to serving. Other wise you run the risk of everything turning to mush.

Cleaning Chick Peas: full disclosure, chick peas require a little extra work. When you pour them out of the can you’ll notice they have an outer casing or skin on the bean itself. It won’t hurt to eat the skin but it’s grainy and a bit chewy. To remove the skin fill a very lot pot or bowl with water ( room temp or cold is fine). Pour in the rinsed chick peas and lightly rub the peas between your hands, you should begin to see all the skins fall right off. Repeat as many times as needed. Add more water to fill the pot or bowl and you’ll see the skins float to the top. Simply pour them off, drain the water and you’re good to go.


Recipe inspired by Lena Abraham - Assistant Food Editor at delish.com