In Italian families, every meal starts with antipasti. There is no avoiding it—trust me, I’ve tried on several occasions to remove it from the menu, but it somehow always magically appears despite my efforts. Antipasti is essentially a meat and cheese “salad” to pick at and fill up on before the main event is even on the table. In fact, the name itself (“antipasti”) literally translates to “before meal,” because god forbid Italians aren’t eating before they are eating!

There are endless combinations and ways to create your own antipasti and choosing the most delicious things to include can be overwhelming, so I’m going to take you through my personal antipasti journey to help get you inspired!

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  • Author: Dan Pelosi

What You’ll Need

  • Provolone Cheese, cut into slices
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut cubes or buy small balls
  • Prosciutto, rolled
  • Salame, rolled
  • Roasted Red Peppers, cut into slices
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Marinated Mushrooms
  • Assorted Olives
  • Lettuce Greens, rinsed and chopped
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Garlicky Oregano Dressing

Add-on ideas: Sardines, Anchovies, Chunks of Parmesan or Pecorino, Peperoncini, Pickled Onions, Oil and Vinegar for dressing, and so much more!

What You’ll Do

  1. Since making an antipasti platter is mostly an act of arranging all of your delicious ingredients perfectly on a platter, I am gonna walk you through it visually, step-by-step below. However, before you keep scrolling I just have to say this: Antipasti can be done so many ways, and there is A LOT of passion behind each and every way. Most importantly, though, none of the many ways are wrong! Each ingredient in separate vessels on a platter? Che Bella! Piles of each ingredient on a platter next to each other to encourage self-assembly? Mamma Mia!
  2. Personally, I like the visual drama of arranging everything in a sort of bullseye while simultaneously attempting to convince people they maybe are eating a salad. It’s a cute mind game I play.

Make It Step By Step With Me:

1. Grab your best and biggest platter. If you don’t have a big platter, use a rimmed baking sheet. At the end of this, you won’t see much of the platter so it really doesn’t matter too much!

2. First up, rolled salami! Space it evenly around the edge of your platter, leaving some hanging off because we love drama.

3. We call this a meat up! Salami, meet prosciutto. Prosciutto, meet salami. You guys are gonna love each other.

4. Does your provolone look provo-lonely? Tuck her in with your meat so she feels at peace and at home.

5. Strip show! Tuck your roasted red pepper strips right in there with your meats and cheese for a kinky twist!

6. Now for my mind game part. Lettuce pretend this is a salad!

7. Immediately begin hiding your lettuce by topping it with marinated artichoke hearts.

8. It may not look like there is mushroom between your artichokes, but I trust you can find some!

9. Olive and die and for this step!

10. Dairy beloved, we are gathered here today… (this is fresh mozzarella, BTW)

11. I am feeling all the feelings, from my head tomatoes…

12. We made it—literally! Congratulations on your gorgeous antipasti platter. Don’t forget a nice dressing and some serving utensils. Most importantly, remember to leave room for the next course!

13. We live here now