Simple Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

This impressive yet simple Italian Chopped Salad dresses fresh veggies, salami, mozzarella balls, and chickpeas in a delicious homemade Italian dressing. Serve it as an eye-catching side dish or for a flavor-packed main!

Ditch the boring salads for this impressive Italian Salad! It perfectly captures the best of Italian cuisine, with vibrant veggies and mouthwatering flavors in every bite.

Much like other Italian salad recipes, this salad doesn’t hold back! It layers fresh vegetables, two kinds of cheese, cured meats, and protein-packed beans over leafy greens before being finished with a zingy homemade Italian dressing. 

A perfect light lunch, dazzling dinner, or potluck appetizer, this dish fits in at any occasion. Plus, with endless ways to customize it, you can tailor the recipe precisely to your taste buds.

Ingredients needed for italian salad in small bowls on counter.

Ingredients needed

  • Lettuce – Use any salad green you like, such as romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, a spring mix, spinach, or baby kale.
  • Salami – Choose a high-quality salami, such as Genoa or Milano. Its saltiness complements the creamy cheeses and tart-tangy vegetables perfectly.
  • Parmesan cheese – Opt for freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano for the best taste and texture.
  • Mini mozzarella balls – These are sometimes labeled as bocconcini. If you can’t find mini mozzarella balls, shred a regular ball of mozzarella yourself or top the assembled salad with torn burrata cheese.
  • Vegetables – I layered red onion, cherry tomatoes, and black olives in the salad, but these can be changed depending on what veggies you have on hand or prefer to use. Find more ideas in the Variations section below.
  • Chickpeas – Canned chickpeas are very convenient and give this salad extra protein.
  • Easy Italian dressing You’ll need extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper to make this easy salad dressing.

How to make Italian salad 

Make the homemade dressing by shaking the Italian salad dressing ingredients together in a sealed jar until they’re well combined and emulsified. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Assemble the salad by placing the lettuce and all of the toppings in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top and gently toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Tips and tricks

  • For the best and most authentic flavors, take a trip to your local Italian market to find the highest-quality meats and cheeses for this salad. 
  • Cut the vegetables into evenly sized pieces so you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
  • Don’t overdress the salad or else it will become soggy. Instead, toss the salad ingredients with just enough dressing until everything is lightly coated. You can always serve extra dressing on the side if needed.
  • Serve the salad as soon as it’s dressed. If it sits too long, the dressing will pool at the bottom of the bowl and the veggies will become soggy.

Variations

The beauty of this big Italian salad is that there is plenty of room to make it your own. Here are some delicious ideas:

  • Add extra vegetables: Like diced bell peppers, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, hearts of palm, or roasted red peppers.
  • Experiment with Italian cheeses: Mix and match the mozzarella and parmesan with provolone, fontina, burrata, or asiago. 
  • Use a variety of Italian cold cuts: Lean into the Italian sub-inspiration by mixing and matching the Italian cold cuts. You can use prosciutto, coppa, pepperoni, mortadella, and more.
  • Instead of classic Italian dressing: Consider dressing the salad in this Homemade Zesty Italian Dressing, Lemon Pesto Salad Dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or creamy Caesar Dressing for a different flavor profile.
  • Add soft fresh herbs: Give the salad a touch of freshness by tossing in fresh basil, parsley, or mint.
Italian chopped salad in large bowl on white table.

Serving suggestions

Whether you’re hosting a casual dinner party or an extravagant meal, these main courses complement the vibrant flavors of the Italian salad beautifully. Consider serving it alongside:

FAQs

Can I make a vegetarian version of this Italian chopped salad?

Absolutely! Simply omit the salami and ensure the cheese is vegetarian-friendly. To make up for the missing elements, add extra veggies (avocado, sauteed mushrooms, fennel, radicchio, etc.) and/or plant-based protein (baked tofu, white beans, steamed tempeh, etc.).

How can I make this Italian salad more filling for a main course?

The best way to turn this salad into a main meal is to add extra protein, like grilled chicken, shrimp, or hard-boiled eggs, or cooked grains, like quinoa, brown rice, farro, or couscous

Close up of chopped italian salad in bowl.

Make ahead and storing

Make ahead: You can prep the fresh ingredients and Italian dressing 1 day in advance and keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Toss the ingredients and dressing together right before serving to maintain freshness and prevent the greens from wilting.

Storing: You can refrigerate the leftover salad in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. However, it’s best enjoyed fresh.

Wine pairings for Italian salad 

  • Pair this Italian-inspired salad with Chianti, a classic Italian red wine with medium body and bright acidity. A light to medium body Pinot Noir is a nice option, too.
  • A crisp and refreshing Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complements the fresh vegetables and tangy dressing.
Italian chopped salad in large bowl on white table.

More salad recipes

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Italian chopped salad in large bowl on white table.

Italian Chopped Salad

This simple Italian Chopped Salad dresses fresh veggies, salami, mozzarella & chickpeas in a delicious homemade Italian dressing.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chopped lettuce (rinsed, dried & chopped)
  • 4 ounces salami (diced or sliced into matchsticks)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (shaved)
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls (drained & cut in half, about 6 oz.)
  • ½ medium red onion (peeled & thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 5 pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

Dressing:

Instructions

Dressing:

  • Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined and the dressing is emulsified. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Salad:

  • To make the salad, place all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with Italian dressing and toss to combine.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Large Bowl
Small Mason Jar optional
Whisk optional

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 880mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 881IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 246mg | Iron: 2mg

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