I love antipasti plates!!
Antipasto means “before the meal” and is the first course of a formal Italian dinner. Now, I know traditional antipasti plates have cured meats on them as well, but personally I say “who needs it” when you have all sorts of yummy pickled and marinated vegetables with different kinds of cheeses thrown in for good measure. The contents of a traditional Italian antipasto vary greatly according to regional cuisine, and this salad is something you can easily vary according to your own tastes..
This Antipasto Salad is something I threw together to go with an Italian dinner I was making years ago, and have continued making it ever since. I do not think I have ever made it exactly the same way twice; there is plenty of room for your own experimentation, but the basic idea is always the same. In this version I used a combination of spinach, rocket (arugula), and fresh basil leaves as the greens, with artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, peppadew peppers, and pan fried haloumi on top, but marinated mushrooms, cocktail onions, olives, roasted red peppers, pepperoncinis, marinated garlic, fresh mozzerella, parmesan, feta or numerous other marinated or pickled vegetables and fresh cheeses are all other options.
None of the measurements below are exact, it all depends how much of the different ingredients you want to add to your salad. This salad can be made vegan, by leaving off the cheese and it still has plenty of flavor.
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 1/2 a bag of rocket (arugula)
- a large handful of fresh basil leaves
- 2 -3 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup peppadew peppers, chopped
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1 packet haloumi
- olive oil
for the dressing
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried mixed italian herbs
- pinch of dried chili flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix your greens together in a large bowl.
Roughly chop your marinated and pickled vegetables, and add them into the bowl along with the capers.
Add your cheese and dressing on top of the salad.
If using haloumi: On a medium high temperature, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cut the haloumi into 5mm or 1/8 inch slices and add them to the pan, once the oil has been heated. Let the cheese brown on each side for about 2-3 minutes. If your haloumi looks like it is starting to melt, you probably have your heat too high.Let the cheese cool slightly but add to the salad and serve still warm.
For the dressing: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk or fork until they looked combined.