These simple mini antipasto skewers are a perfect party appetizer for just about any occasion! With cheese tortellini and ciliegine mozzarella tossed in pesto, sweet cherry tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, and a tasty little cornichon, you’ll delight your party guests – if you can keep yourself from eating them all before they arrive!
Mini Antipasto Skewers
Antipasto is an Italian first course that traditionally consists of cured meats, olives, cheese, peperoncini, artichokes, mushrooms, and pickled vegetables. Antipasto is similar to what we would call a charcuterie plate, but with less focus on the meats, and a greater variety of nibbles.
This mini appetizer version of antipasto is so easy to make, they can be made the day before the party and they look so pretty! I love adding a little bit of rosemary and flowers to the tops to give them extra charm!
I served these at a summer barbecue with Italian bean salad, lemon orzo, and a trio of grilled skewers: lamb, chicken and shrimp! I was doing so much prep with the main courses and sides, I didn’t want to fuss about with a tricky appetizer. These were so easy and got “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” from all of my guests!
The Simple Process
- First, we’ll boil the tortellini, removing it 1 minute before the package says we should, so that they’re extra al dente.
- Then, we’ll let it cool and stir it with pesto and white balsamic vinegar.
- Next, we’ll stir the ciliegine (mozzarella balls) with pesto and vinegar as well.
- Finally, we’ll assemble bamboo skewers with tortellini, ciliegine, cherry tomatoes, olives, and a cornichon in any order we choose!
tortellini – I used cheese tortellini, but feel free to use any kind you wish. The key is to just be sure it’s cooked al dente so it’s easy to skewer.
ciliegine – These are tasty, little mozzarella balls. You’ll usually find them in the fancy cheese section of the food store. If you can’t find them, however, you can also cut fresh mozzarella into cubes and that will work just fine.
cherry tomatoes – If you can, choose multi-colored ones. They just look so pretty.
pesto – You can use store-bought pesto if you’re in a rush, but if you really want to make these appetizers shine, I highly suggest you make your own! Take a look at my simple pesto recipe to find out how!
olives – I used Castelvetrano olives because I love their mild, meaty texture and flavor, but you can use just about any kind of olive. Just be sure they’re pitted first!
cornichons – Also known as gherkins. If you have trouble finding them, and you still want to add a pickle flavor to your appetizer, a pickled onion makes a lovely substitute.
white balsamic vinegar – White balsamic vinegar is better than dark balsamic vinegar for this recipe, simply because dark balsamic will make the pesto look a little unappetizing. It’s just as delicious though, so if you don’t have white, I’d suggest drizzling it on the antipasto, as opposed to stirring it in with the pesto, or making a balsamic glaze like in my burrata salad recipe.
How to Make This Recipe – Step by Step
1. Boil 9 oz. tortellini. Follow the instructions on your package, but boil for 1 minute less than it says. This will ensure it’s just firm enough to skewer easily. Remove, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and cool for about 15 minutes in the fridge. Once cool, place in a mixing bowl and stir with 4 tbsp. pesto and 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar.
2. Remove the tortellini, and mix ciliegine in 4 tbsp. pesto and 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar. I like to mix the tortellini and ciliegine separately because the tortellini is more delicate than the mozzarella.
3. Skewer your ingredients in any order you like. I start with tortellini, then tomato, cillegine, olive, then cornichon.
4. It’s also nice to add a little sprig of rosemary with a delicate flower to make them look extra pretty.
They’ll be tasty for up to 5 days in a refrigerated, sealed container, but the pesto will begin to dry a bit and the balsamic vinegar flavor will begin to fade after 24 hours, so I would only make these 1 day ahead (ideally only 8 hours ahead) if I want them to be most fresh.
Antipasto means “1 appetizer,” antipasti means “a group of appetizers,” or more specifically, all of the ingredients that would go into an appetizer platter or on a skewer.
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More Tasty Italian Recipes
Mini Antipasto Skewers
- 1 pot to boil tortellini
- 1 mixing bowl
- 24 4-inch bamboo skewers
- 9 oz. tortellini
- 8 tbsp. pesto – divided
- 4 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 16 oz. cillegine – about 24 balls
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 24 Castelvetrano olives
- 24 cornichons
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- a few sprigs of rosemary – optional
- Boil 9 oz. tortellini. Follow the instructions on your package, but boil for 1 minute less than it says. This will ensure it’s just firm enough to skewer easily. Remove, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and cool for about 15 minutes in the fridge. Once cool, place in a mixing bowl and stir with 4 tbsp. pesto and 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar.
- Remove the tortellini, and mix ciliegine in 4 tbsp. pesto and 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar. I like to mix the tortellini and ciliegine separately because the tortellini is more delicate than the mozzarella.
- Skewer your ingredients in any order you like. I start with tortellini, then tomato, cillegine, olive, then cornichon. It’s also nice to add a little sprig of rosemary with a delicate flower to make them look extra pretty.