This Italian Anti Pasti Salad is a stunning, different kind of salad that yells “easy” whilst, of course, at the same time being utterly delicious 🥰. I love a good salad, but I am the first one to fall quickly into the trap of doing the same salad (or the same sauce) again, and again. Let us be honest, variety is always more fun. So, I created something a bit different for you today.
And boy – this salad is different. It is nothing like you would likely expect a “normal” green salad to be – but it also does not have to be. Juicy, grilled vegetables (kind of like Italian anti pasti – literally just let them roast in the oven) meet a pesto dressing. I have strewn gorgeous buffalo mozzarella on top, but I would presume regular mozzarella will work just as well. I shot the recipe and was invited for a BBQ after, to which I brought the salad. Everyone loved it – one for their uniqueness, but also because it is very light, delicious and pairs well with whatever else you are serving on your summery evening meals 😉.
Why is this Italian Anti Pasti Salad good for you?
Germans are true asparagus lovers – albeit it is usually the white or purple variety. I love this mighty vegetable both for its taste and versatile usage! Green Asparagus contains Vitamin C, E, A, and K, as well as Folate, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Vitamin K is essential in our body for blood clotting and is particularly high in dark-green vegetables. Green Asparagus is also loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants combat oxidative stress in our cells. Oxidative stress can cause inflammation in the body, lead to premature aging, and contribute to disease building. The antioxidants found in green asparagus help to lower blood pressure, have anti-inflammatory effects, as well as anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.
Mushrooms are such an underrated little health gem. They are an edible fungus. Each mushroom has a slightly different nutritional profile, so it is best if you consume this in variety. Mushrooms contain several nutrients that double as antioxidants in the body, including Selenium, Vitamin C, and Choline. Selenium may help in protecting against certain types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer. Choline, amongst others, is used in the body as neurotransmitter synthesis, as well as cell-membrane signaling. Some studies suggest that Choline can reduce certain types of cancer. Mushrooms also contain Potassium, which may also positively contribute to your heart health by lowering blood pressure levels.
Mighty – Courgette – vegetable. Again, such a versatile little friend that you can use in so many recipes – from savory (like my Courgette Fritters) to sweet (like my Chocolate Courgette Mini Muffins). Whereas we tend to use courgettes as a vegetable, it is botanically classified as a fruit, and contains high amounts of Vitamin A, C, Magnesium, and Potassium. Courgettes contain a number of antioxidants. The ones found in Courgettes are particularly beneficial for your eyes, heart, and skin. Courgettes also contain healthy amounts of fiber – both insoluble and soluble. As you probably know by now, both types of fiber are so important for optimal gut health – whereas the former helps to bulk up your stool, keeps you full for longer, and moves everything along nicely, the later is a great feeding ground for your beneficial gut bacteria.
How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?
This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. If you would like to make this recipe both vegan and paleo, I suggest to omit the mozzarella and make a vegan pesto instead. I found this awesome Easy Vegan Pesto from the Minimalist Baker, which should pair nicely with the salad.
And there you have it for this week 🤗. Enjoy this delicious, summery delight – I hope it will give you as much inspiration as it did me to try something different in the “salad” department 😉. Please let me know in the comments below and/or over on Instagram how you are finding the recipe 💫. Happy cooking everyone!
Italian Anti Pasti SaladCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
35 – 40minutes
A spin on a classic Anti Pasti platter – this Italian Anti Pasti salad contains vegetables, a lovely pesto, and gorgeous buffalo mozzarella strewn on top.
- For the vegetables
400 gr. green asparagus
250 gr mushrooms
1 red onion
1 red or yellow pepper
1 medium-sized courgette
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
- For the pesto sauce
15 gr. (about a packed ½ cup) basil leaves
½ cup (75 gr.) cashews
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Ca. 50 gr. parmesan
¼ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
- Additional ingredients
Additional basil for garnish
Optional: About ¼ – ½ cup (45 – 90 gr.) of olives
- Start by preheating the oven on a grill setting to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Prep a baking tray with parchment paper
- Wash and cut all of the veggies in the following way: (1) Cut the asparagus into ca. 1 inch (2.5 cm) long pieces. (2) Cut the pepper into thin strips. (3) Half or quarter the mushrooms (4) Cut the courgette into small medallions (5) Cut the onion into thin stripes
- Place all veggies on the baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything through with your hands once, before putting into the oven as close to the top (a.k.a. the grill) as possible. Let roast for ca. 35 – 40 minutes until the veggies are softened but still have a bit to a bite to them
- Meanwhile, make the pesto sauce by adding all of the ingredients to a small food processor. It does not have to be super-smooth as I find the cashews provide a slight crunch to this dish
- Once the veggies are done, take out and let cool. Add the veggies to a bowl and mix with the sauce. Put on a serving platter, tear up some buffalo mozzarella on top and garnish with additional basil before serving. ENJOY this summery, delicious salad!!