Pasta salad with no mayo, no mustard, and less pasta than meats & cheeses – this is not your usual picnic salad! Taking all the fillings of a good N’awlins muffuletta sandwich and tossing them with pasta is a guaranteed favorite that’s always on request in our house.
We’re not quite in picnic weather, but this is perfect to pack on big outings because it’s best at room temp and it’s incredibly filling. If you tote lunch to the mountains for skiing, snowboarding, or hiking, this one’s definitely for you!
This recipe is the perfect use for yesterday’s hot italian giardiniera – but if you’re in a hurry, many grocery stores carry small jars of giardiniera by the olives.
I’m really not a fan of most pasta and potato salads… too much sweet mayonnaise and mustard covering all the other flavors. I love that the only coating here is vinegar & oil from giardiniera mix! Oil keeps the freshness locked in without overwhelming everything else.
One note – it’s not cheap to stock up on all the ingredients, but many (like the olives) come in larger jars that can make two batches. Check meat & cheese prices at the deli counter versus packaged, because even if the price per pound is higher you can get exactly the amount you need. And really, the amounts are just suggestions – add and subtract and substitute to make the recipe your own!
- 1/2 lb. pasta like campanelle, shells, rotini
- 6 oz. pimento-stuffed green olives drained
- 6 oz. kalamata olives pitted & drained
- 6 oz. cocktail onions drained & halved
- 4 oz. pepperoncini drained & sliced
- 1 T. capers drained
- 2 cups giardiniera liquid reserved
- 3 oz. thick sliced genoa salami roughly chopped
- 3 oz. thick sliced ham roughly chopped
- 3 oz. thick sliced mortadella roughly chopped
- 4 oz. thick sliced provolone roughly chopped
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella balls halved
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain, toss with a little giardiniera liquid or olive oil to prevent sticking, and let cool on the counter.
Toss together all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta and slowly add reserved giardiniera liquid a spoonful at a time to loosen as needed.
Serve at room temp. Keeps in the fridge for several weeks, if it lasts that long.