Vegan Food Hacks

Vegan Antipasto Platter & Pasta Dinner

Vegan antipasto platter & pasta

If it’s summer, chances are that company will be coming at some point, and that you’ll have to gather your resources and brain cells to make a last minute-meal. Whether it’s the in-laws or friends you haven’t seen in forever, you’ll want that meal to be a crowd-pleaser, designed to impressed.

The dilemma is that it is summer, after all, and you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. A vegan antipasto platter can be the answer to your warm-weather entertaining quandaries. Served with fresh bread and pesto, it can make an almost instant lunch for four to six. Add a big pot of spaghetti or linguini with good store-bought sauce, and it becomes a fantastic dinner.

No one will suspect that you didn’t really slave over a hot stove for hours, because it all looks and tastes so appealing! And since you’ve saved all this time and effort, you can add some grilled vegetables and/or plant-based proteins if you’re feeding a larger crowd and are inclined to outdoor cooking. 

And of course, you don’t have to save this company. It’s easy and fast enough for a weeknight meal for the family as well.

Vegan antipasto platter

What you need

For the antipasto: Here are some possible components of appetizing and beautiful platter. Choose 8 or so. What’s nice is that only a handful need any cutting or prep at all!

  • Fresh bell peppers or jarred roasted red peppers (drained), cut into strips
  • Cured olives, black and/or green
  • Baby carrots
  • Sliced red onion
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Pepperoncini or other hot peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cut celery stalks
  • Chickpeas
  • Diced vegan cheese
  • Pickled garlic (from the olive bar)
  • Pickled giardiniera (from the olive bar or a jar)
  • Small slender green beans, trimmed
  • Baby spinach or mixed baby greens to line the platter

For the pasta

  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
  • 28-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce
  • 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Vegan Parmesan for topping, homemade or store-bought


  • Fresh whole grain baguette (or other bread)
  • Vegan pesto
  • A good wine never hurts, right?

Vegan antipasto platter & pesto

What to do

1  If you’re adding pasta to the meal, start bringing a large pot of water to a boil and cooking the pasta while preparing the antipasto. Otherwise, skip this step.

2  Arrange the antipasto ingredients of choice on a large platter.

3  Put store-bought or homemade pesto into a small bowl; cut the baguette into slices and place on a platter or in a bowl.

4 When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Stir in the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes. Warm up as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves, if using.

5  Serve the pasta and let everyone take what they wish from the antipasto platter.

Vegan antipasto and pasta dinner'

Photos: Evan Atlas

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