This antipasto themed gluten-free pasta salad recipe is full of flavour, featuring a variety of colours & textures. Keep in the fridge as an easy snack!
Note: This delicious pasta salad recipe was first posted on my original blog, Celebration Generation, on April 8. 2020. It was transferred over to this blog - existing comments and all - on March 3, 2021. It was most recently updated on 5/2/23.
When did I create the recipe for this zesty Italian pasta salad ? I don’t know!
Going on the images, we photographed this easy gluten free pasta salad in September 2017, so sometime before that, anyway.
What inspired me? I have no idea.
I’m guessing I was at a summer BBQ or other party and saw a charcuterie board near a pasta salad ... that’s the kind of random inspiration that tends to lead me to develop some of my favorite recipes.
But, who knows for sure?
The BEST Gluten Free Pasta Salad Recipe
While I don’t remember the details leading up to the creation of this gf pasta salad, I can totally remember the *taste* of it - I’ve made this easy pasta salad recipe a TON of times, since! (Especially in the summer months).
This gluten-free Italian pasta salad such a pleasure to eat, with a bunch of different textures and flavours, each bite is a bit different.
It’s the perfect side dish to serve at a summer picnic, and always disappears fast at all of the summer cookouts I’ve brought it to.
While it’s an amazing summer staple, it’s not quite what you expect in a classic pasta salad.
Rather than a creamy dressing, this one uses a quick Italian vinagrette.
Because of all the cheese, vegetables, and meat in it, it’s basically a full meal in a bowl. All that extra protein can fill you up, so it’s a good pasta salad recipe to serve as a main dish, if that’s your style!
It’s definitely the best pasta salad I’ve ever made for those days when you just do NOT feel like cooking, and want to grab a bowl of *something* out of the fridge.
This delicious gluten free cold pasta salad recipe makes a fair amount, and my husband and I tend to plow through it embarrassingly quickly!
Gluten Free Pasta Salad Ingredients
While this ingredients list may look relatively extensive, it really is a simple recipe, with relatively simple ingredients. You should be able to find most/all of these ingredients in most grocery stores.
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here are some ingredient notes for you:
Gluten Free Pasta Noodles
You can use your favorite brand of gluten-free pasta- there are a lot of gf pastas to choose from - as long as it holds together well when cooked.
I like to make this gluten free macaroni salad recipe with Brown Rice Pasta*, but Chickpea Pasta and Lentil Pasta are also good options.
* Specifically, Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spirals.
Homemade Italian Dressing Ingredients
I whip together a quick salad dressing using:
If you’d like, you can use some garlic powder in place of the garlic cloves - just add it, to taste.
Finally, there’s all the delicious chunks of STUFF that round out this gluten-free pasta salad, and make it amazing:
Roasted Red Peppers**
Fresh Italian Parsley
**You can use homemade Roasted Red Bell Pepper if you have some!
Of course, there are a ton of ways to customize this easy recipe, so don’t look at this laundry list of ingredients as absolute.
Let’s look at some of the tasty options...
Customizing your Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
As with most (non-baking, anyway) recipes that I post, there’s room for a wide amount of customization you can do to this classic Italian pasta salad.
Use regular pasta if you don’t need to be gluten-free.
Toss some green olives, Kalamata olives, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes, and/or capers in.
Flakes of Asiago, and/or crumbled Feta cheese instead of parm? Go for it!
Add some fresh Mozzarella. Bocconcini would be fun!
Add some fresh veggies!
Red or green bell pepper would go well, and add some crunch. Broccoli florets, snap peas, and/or green onions are other great ways to add some “green” -and healthy vegetables - to your salad.
On the subject of fresh vegetables, fresh tomatoes would go well (for those who aren’t married to an anti-tomato weirdo!).
Try cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved.
Want to mince a few anchovies into the sauce? I dig it.
Red wine vinegar, lemon juice, or even lime juice can be used in place of some of the balsamic, for a lighter tasting dressing.
Add some more fresh herbs. In addition to the fresh parsley I call for, consider slicing up some fresh basil. Yum!
Consider switching out all or some of the pepperoni for different cold cuts. Use your favourite Italian deli meats, sliced or chopped up.
Want to add some plant protein? Rinse and drain some canned garbanzo beans, toss those in, too!
More Gluten-Free International Recipes
Looking for more gluten free recipes with an international flair? I’ve got you covered...
Gluten Free Banana Nutella Ebelskivers
Gluten-Free Beef Stroganoff
Gluten Free Beet Gnocchi
Gluten-Free Chicken Pakora
Gluten Free Chicken Satay
Gluten Free Lemon Mascarpone Ebelskivers
Gluten-Free Mango Shrimp Spring Rolls
Gluten Free Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Gluten-Free Paneer Pakora
Gluten Free Paska
Gluten Free Piroshki
Gluten-Free Ramen Recipe
Gluten Free Samosa Recipe
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Gluten Free Pasta Salad - Antipasto Italian Pasta Salad
- Large pot
- 24 oz Dry brown rice gluten-free pasta This was 2 x 12 oz bags.
- ¾ cup Olive Oil
- ⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 3 Garlic Cloves pressed or minced
- 2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Dried Basil
- 5 oz Thinly Sliced Pepperoni chopped*
- 6.5 oz can Sliced Black Olives drained
- 8 oz can Artichoke Hearts drained and chopped
- 10 oz jar Roasted Red Peppers drained and chopped
- 8 oz Mozzarella Cheese cubed
- ⅓ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup Italian Parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. The cook time will vary based on the type of pasta you’re using - You'll want them cooked more than al dente, but not falling apart.
- Note: Al dente is OK if you’re sure all of the pasta salad will be eaten immediately after making it. If it’s going in the fridge at all, you want to take it beyond al dente, to ensure a great texture after chilling. Because I recommend letting it chill for 2 hours - for the best flavour - it’s best to cook it soft.
- As pasta cooks, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano, and basil. (Note: shaking it in a Mason jar works well!) Set aside.
- Once cooked, drain pasta and rinse lightly with cold water. Drain well and transfer the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Toss warm pasta with about ⅔ of the dressing. Be sure everything is fully coated - this will prevent the pasta from clumping together.
- Add pepperoni, olives, artichoke hearts, and red peppers to the large bowl, gently toss to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once pasta is cooled to room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients to the large bowl: Mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, and remaining dressing, gently tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.