It’s charcuterie in pasta salad form! Fusilli pasta, Genoa salami, sourdough bread croutons, Asiago cheese, red onion and arugula, all tossed in a homemade balsamic and mustard vinaigrette Italian dressing.
Why you’ll love this pasta salad with salami
- When it comes to Summer salads, it’s nice to have options. If you’re looking for a pasta salad that uses a vinaigrette dressing instead of creamy dressing, this is it!
- And if you’re looking for a pasta salad that is hearty enough for a meal, this pasta salad is it, too. With meat, cheese and bread, it’s charcuterie in pasta salad form.
- The homemade dressing marries balsamic vinegar with Dijon mustard and some honey, which perfectly complements the salami and greens in this salad.
- Finally, this salad keeps really well in the fridge for several days, so it’s great to make and enjoy throughout the week.
Ingredients and substitutions
Salami – I like to use a stick of Genoa Salami for this salad, which I slice myself. You can use any salami or cold meat that you enjoy, either cut from a chunk or pre-cut.
Not a fan of salami? Swap it out for cubed ham or try chunked tuna!
Asiago Cheese – I used pre-shredded Asiago cheese here, or can shred yourself from a block of Asiago. Alternatively, shredded Parmesan or Pecorino would be nice.
Sourdough Bread – Sourdough croutons have a wonderful flavour, but you can make the croutons from any bread. I think making the croutons is nicer than store-bought croutons, as they are softer and absorb the delicious dressing perfectly.
Fusilli Pasta – this is the corkscrew pasta. Rotini would be a good alternative. You could also use penne, farfale or just about any short pasta here.
Arugula – it’s hard to beat the light peppery notes of arugula, but mesclun mix is another nice option. Baby spinach or other greens you like can also be used here.
Step 1: Boil the pasta, make the sourdough croutons and prepare the onion and salami. Note that most stick salami has a casing on it that needs to be removed and discarded before slicing.
Step 2: Making the Italian Dressing is so simple! Simply add all the dressing ingredients to a jar, cover with the lid and shake well to combine. Dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Step 3: Assembling the salad is as easy as tossing all the ingredients in a bowl.
- For best results, be sure not to overcook the pasta. Boil the pasta just until al dente, then rinse well in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- The homemade Italian dressing is full of great flavour, so a little goes a long way. No need to over-dress this salad.
Making ahead and storing
Making ahead and storing this salad is where this salad shines! While you can assemble this salad, dress and enjoy it right away, I like to partially assemble it, store it in the fridge, and then finish assembling and enjoying it “as wanted”. That way I have a big bowl of the salad in the fridge that will keep for days and can be enjoyed anytime.
To partially assemble, stir together the cooked pasta, red onion, Asiago cheese and salami. Store the croutons separately and save the greens to add when dressing to serve. Make the dressing and store in a jar in the fridge. When you want a bowl, add the base mixture to a bowl, scatter with croutons and greens, then drizzle with dressing. Toss to combine and enjoy!
Get the Recipe: Pasta Salad with Salami
- 1/2 lb. (226 g) fusilli pasta, 8oz
- 2 large slices sourdough bread
- 1/2 medium (170 ml) red onion, sliced about 3/4 cup
- 3 – 4 oz. (113 g) Genoa salami, sliced, then quartered
- 3/4 cup (170 ml) Asiago cheese, shredded (or Parmesan or Pecorino)
- 2 cups (464 ml) arugula
- Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup (57 ml) Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup (57 ml) Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) runny honey
- 5 Tablespoons (72 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- Start a large pot of water to boil. When boiling, add a generous sprinkling of salt to the water, then add the pasta and cook just until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse well under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Add the cooled, drained pasta to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, make the sourdough croutons: Preheat broiler in the oven, with rack about 6 inches from the heat. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil, until golden, then flip the bread and broil the other side. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, cut bread slices into small cubes/croutons. Set aside. **Note: I have done step this in the toaster, as well, when I have something else in my oven. Just toast a couple of times on lower heat, to really dry out the bread without scorching it.
- Make the dressing by adding all the dressing ingredients to a jar. Cover with a lid and shake well to combine. Set aside. *The dressing will probably be more than you need, but any extra is great on any salad and keeps well in the fridge.
- To the bowl with the pasta, add the onion, salami and cheese. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil (you can maybe skip this if eating right away, but it you are storing to eat and dress later, the bit of oil will help to keep the pasta from drying out) and season with a just bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper. **If making ahead, stop here, cover bowl and refrigerate. Store the croutons separately in an airtight container at room temperature. You can refrigerate for 3 or 4 days and prepare some or all of it at any time by adding the arugula and croutons and some of the dressing, as needed. If serving right away, add the arugula and sourdough croutons and toss to combine. Drizzle with some of the dressing, to taste, and toss to combine. Top with a bit of extra cheese and croutons, if you like. Serve immediately.
Props to the wonderful Maman cookbook, from which this recipe was adapted.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!