Crisp romaine lettuce and radicchio loaded with antipasto favorites like salami, cheese, olives, and pepperoncini as well as fresh tomatoes and chickpeas. Top it all with the most gorgeous lemon basil vinaigrette. This truly is the best Italian chopped salad!
There is no better salad than a salad that is packed with all kinds of tasty treats and textures and flavors. This Italian Chopped Salad is one of those salads. It may seem presumptuous to label it 'The Best Italian Chopped Salad', and for evidence, I submit that we ate this salad on repeat for a couple of weeks this past summer and our family's love for it still lives on today.
It's one of those salads that is anything but boring and it's layered with both texture and flavor. Spicy, creamy, sweet, bitter, salty, this salad has got it ALL going on - and the basil dressing? It's absolutely to die for.
For the best salad experience, you're going to want to start with top quality ingredients. This is definitely the time to splurge on fancy salami and olives. The more amazing the flavor to start with, the more amazing it will be when we mix it all together and dress it!
Why you're going to love this!
- Quick, easy, and versatile. This salad comes together so easily and it will taste great with any number of different antipasto items. Love marinated mushrooms? Throw some in! Vegetarian? Trade the salami for some sundried tomatoes. You really can't go wrong!
- Full of flavor and texture. The crisp romaine, the slight bitterness of the radicchio, toothy chickpeas, briny olives, etc. Each ingredient adds another layer of texture and flavor to this dish making it a truly great salad.
- Perfect for a light meal. While this salad is truly a side salad, it is substantial enough for a light dinner and it makes a great lunch too!
- Romaine lettuce - I love the flavor and color of romaine lettuce in this salad, but you could easily substitute it for iceberg lettuce and have the same satisfying crunch.
- Radicchio - brings a hint of bitterness to the salad which is a nice contrast to the flavors of the other components, along with a beautiful pop of purple. If you can't find it you can substitute it with Belgian endive.
- Bocconcini cheese - I've called for the cocktail size here, but you could use any size you like. Just make sure to chop it into small pieces.
- Chickpeas - these are a nice bit of protein to round out the salad, and I love the slightly nutty earthy taste they bring to it!
- Salami - I used cacciatore salami. It's a nice dry salami that you can cut as thick or thin as you'd like.
- Pepperoncini - these are totally optional if you're not into heat, but I love the spicy briny flavor they add to this dish.
- Black olives - make sure you pick up good quality olives that are bursting with flavor. None of that canned stuff here!
- Cherry tomatoes - I love the look of these in this salad and they add a nice sweetness, but you could substitute with any chopped tomato in a pinch.
- Parmesan cheese - I like to use a grater that shaves off little pieces so you get a nice piece in a bite.
- Olive oil - quality extra virgin olive oil is best here, you really want that flavor to shine!
- Lemon juice - either fresh or prepared work well.
- Red wine vinegar - you could substitute this for more lemon juice, but it helps round out the flavor of the dressing if you've got it.
- Garlic - 100% use fresh cloves here, the pre-minced stuff just won't cut it!
- Basil - this is the star of the dressing! Fresh is best, and the more the better!
How to make it
Prep the ingredients for the salad. Chop and dice everything up so you are ready to go.
Blitz up the dressing. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, and sea salt to a mini food processor and blend until the dressing is smooth.
Put it together. Add all the salad ingredients (reserving the parmesan) into a bowl, then add the dressing and mix well.
Serve. Divide onto 4 plates and top with parmesan cheese.
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The Best Italian Chopped Salad
- 1 cup radicchio - chopped
- 1 heart of romaine - chopped
- 12 cocktail sized bocconcini - halved
- 1⁄2 can chickpeas - drained
- 2.5 oz salami - sliced and halved
- 6-8 pepperoncini - thinly sliced
- 8 pitted black olives - halved
- 12 cherry tomatoes - halved
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese - freshly grated
- 6 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large handful basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Gather all your salad ingredients and get everything chopped and then put it into a bowl.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, and sea salt to a mini food processer and blend until the dressing is smooth.
- Add the dressing to the salad and then toss well.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.