Pasta salad is a staple on nearly any potluck table. And this pesto-laced version will be a hit wherever you serve it!  Antipasti Pasta Salad will have you celebrating each time you take a bite.

Antipasti Pasta Salad

Ah, the Fourth of July.  The BBQ.  The beer.  The block parties. Add in the colorful celebration of our country’s freedom as the finale, and there ain’t nothin’ better than that.

I grew up in a neighborhood that almost always had a 4th of July block party.  Close off the block, set up the lawn chairs and garden hose sprinklers in the middle of the street, give the kids sparklers and “bang snaps“, and set up the big ole’ tables of edibles to pick at throughout the day.  Neighbors, friends, and even some extra stragglers were always welcome.  Those memories are hard to beat.

The variety of food laid out was always a mish mosh of whatever we all had on hand.  Burgers and hot dogs on grills that were lined up on the sidewalks, chips & dip, veggie platters, potato salad, jello molds (yes, it’s a Midwestern thing), multi-flavored popsicles, and a myriad of other options.  One of my favorites was always the big bowl of pasta salad.  I don’t know about you, but no day out in the sun with neighbors and friends is complete without a chilled and healthy pasta salad to go with the grilled goodies that come off the hot coals.

One of the things I love most about dishes like potato and pasta salads is the variety that you can create, tossing in nearly anything you have nearby.  Veggies and feta and red wine vinegar?  Diced grilled meat, jarred red peppers, and some peppered olive oil? Bacon, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing? All delicious contenders. I think of it like a dump cake but with pasta salad.

The things I regularly have on hand include the makings for an antipasti platter.  If you know me at all, you know this is one of my favorite light dinners, so it stands to reason that it was inevitable that I was going to toss it into a pasta salad.  And yes, I admit that I am continuing to reach back to my pesto-obsession for an easy flavor boost to this crowd-pleaser.

Enjoy the flavors, sights, smells, and sounds of this wonderful holiday, and celebrate the good ole’ U S of A!  Happy Fourth of July!

Tuscan Kale Antipasti Pasta Salad
4th of July Antipasti Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
This fantastic and super easy pasta salad will disappear quickly once folks get a whiff of the garlic in the Tuscan Kale pesto, and then lay their eyes on the fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and salty nuggets of prosciutto awaiting their eager forks. I took this to a recent potluck, and there were several eager questions about the recipe. I'm sure you will have the same reaction, so make a double batch!
Servings Prep Time
12 people 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes (for cooling)
Servings Prep Time
12 people 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes (for cooling)
Tuscan Kale Antipasti Pasta Salad
4th of July Antipasti Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
This fantastic and super easy pasta salad will disappear quickly once folks get a whiff of the garlic in the Tuscan Kale pesto, and then lay their eyes on the fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and salty nuggets of prosciutto awaiting their eager forks. I took this to a recent potluck, and there were several eager questions about the recipe. I'm sure you will have the same reaction, so make a double batch!
Servings Prep Time
12 people 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes (for cooling)
Servings Prep Time
12 people 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes (for cooling)
Instructions
Antipasti Pasta Salad
  1. Boil pasta per package instructions. Drain well and allow to cool completely.
    Tuscan Kale Pesto Pasta Salad Ingredients
  2. If you have defrosted the pesto (see notes below re: that process), drizzle additional olive oil and stir to ensure a loose and creamy consistency.
    Tuscan Kale Pesto
  3. Layer everything (tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, pesto) on top of the pasta and get ready to mix up those delicious flavors!
    Antipasti Pasta Salad Ingredients
  4. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Drizzle additional olive oil to help make sure that nothing sticks together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, to make sure all of the flavors have a chance to marry.
    Pasta Salad Tossed
  5. Serve up this beautiful and flavorful pasta salad and let your guests dig in!
    Tuscan Kale Antipasti Pasta Salad
Tuscan Kale Pesto
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place almonds on a baking sheet, in single layer. Toast almonds for 6 minutes. Allow to cool completely prior to use in pesto mixture.
    Tuscan Kale Ingredients
  2. Remove stems from kale stalks. Wash leaves and pat dry with a paper towel. Place kale, cheese, almonds, and garlic cloves in food processor.
    Tuscan Kale Cheese & Almonds
  3. Once ingredients are incorporated, turn processor back on and drizzle olive oil in as it mixes, creating a smooth texture. Salt & pepper to taste.
    Tuscan Kale Pesto
  4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze in ice cube trays and store cubes in airtight container in freezer for up to 4 months.
    Tuscan Kale Pesto Cubes
Recipe Notes

Not familiar with Tuscan Kale?  Now's your chance to get up close and personal.  This variety of kale, also known as "black kale" or "dinosaur kale", has a slightly sweeter flavor than the traditional green kale that is on nearly every restaurant menu these days.  Traditional kale can be a bit rough in consistency, while Tuscan kale's leaves are a bit softer in texture.

My first introduction to it was in an Italian cooking class where we used it in ravioli.  Sound odd?  Well, it was AWESOME.  I highly recommend trying it if you're into making your own pasta.  The texture, the flavor, and the color make it a great alternative when looking for a new "power green" to incorporate into your diet.

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