Vegan Italian Antipasto SaladSep 22, 2021
If you ask me to tell you my favorite type of cuisine, I'd choose Italian 80% of the time. (Greek / Mediterranean is next in line.) As half Italian, I grew up eating lots of amazing dishes that my grandmother was raised on. Since going vegan over 10 years ago, I've savored every minute (and bite!) of veganizing those recipes.
This salad is my love letter to the incredible antipasto platters I've eaten at family gatherings over the years. I still love to make a huge antipasto snack board when I'm hosting dinner parties, but this salad is the best of both worlds. It's got everything that my epic antipasto platter includes and turns it into a main dinner meal. Mangia!
I've created polenta croutons for this Italian Antipasto Salad to give it a little something special, but feel free to sub regular bread croutons. The same goes for the veggies. Add or subtract your favorites. Marinated mushrooms would be amazing in this salad too, as would roasted red peppers.
The faux pepperoni and dairy-free cheeses give this salad an authentic flair, but it's just as delicious without. My go-to's for cheeses are Chao or Follow Your Heart's Provologne and Miyoko's mozzarella. Renegade Foods has some amazing varieties of salamis that would taste incredible in this recipe, including the Smoky Soppresata and Sweet Toscana.
Our members prep the Simple Italian Vinaigrette on the weekend as part of their Batch Cooking Club meal prep plan so it's ready to go and one less thing to do the night of your dinner prep. I always recommend double batching your salad dressings so you can use them throughout the week on salads and lunch bowls.
One last thing: I've spread out the ingredients for this Italian Antipasto Salad on a platter, but you could also make this a chopped salad and toss it all together. You could also serve it buffet style and let everyone customize their individual salad plate. Do what works best for your family!
Not feeling soup? Here are some other ideas for your dinner menu if you're not serving this up as a dinner main:
Bruschetta French Bread Pizza
Italian Antipasto Salad
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes
1 18-oz roll polenta, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
5 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable broth, divided
¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 14.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
½ cup black olives, pitted
½ cup green olives, pitted
½ cup sliced pepperoncinis
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup cubed vegan provolone or mozzarella cheese (optional)
4-oz vegan pepperoni (optional)
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 romaine hearts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the polenta cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable broth, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir gently to evenly coat the cubes and spread them into one layer on the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes golden brown and crispy.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the artichoke hearts through vegan pepperoni (if using) in a large serving bowl. Add the polenta cubes when cooked and toss with the Simple Italian Vinaigrette.
- To serve, divide the romaine lettuce among serving plates and top with equal amounts of the polenta mixture. Garnish with the fresh basil leaves.
Spoiler Alert: Italian Antipasto Salad is best eaten when served. The individual ingredients can be stored separately in air-tight containers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
For non vegans: Add pepperoni or prosciutto, and dairy provolone or mozzarella cheese.
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