In this incredible Italian Chopped Salad; chopped iceberg, romaine and radicchio is tossed with tomatoes, an italian blend of olives, chickpeas, sliced pepperoncinis, Genoa salami, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella pearls. The salad is then tossed in a sweet basil and parmesan vinaigrette. Serves 10 to 20 depending on portions.
This chopped Italian salad is a favorite in our house.
It’s a finely chopped salad with a plethora of toppings all tossed together in an incredible sweet basil and parmesan vinaigrette. The recipe itself is pretty easy, although there is some chopping. However, I promise you the results are restaurant quality.
What I love most about this salad? Is that it makes a lot! Which is great if you’re bringing it to a get together or serving a small crowd.
To be honest, Italian chopped salad could be a meal all on its own, but I like to make it when we’re having pizza or a simple pasta dish like spaghetti.
To Make This Italian Chopped Salad You Will Need:
for the vinaigrette:
- garlic (fresh) – Adds delicious punchy flavor.
- parmesan cheese – Freshly grated. Lends a fruity, nutty and slightly salty flavor.
- basil – For distinct fresh herbaceous flavor.
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavors of this dressing.
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds flavor with some subtle bite.
- dijon mustard – Helps with emulsion and also gives the dressing a nice tanginess.
- honey – For a touch of sweetness.
- white balsamic vinegar – Lends a mild floral and fruity vinegar flavor.
- extra virgin olive oil – Lends richness and flavor.
for the salad:
- radicchio (aka Italian chicory)- Is very bitter and you can tone down the bitterness by soaking the cut leaves in ice water.
- iceberg lettuce – Adds crisp fresh texture with a mild sweet flavor.
- romaine lettuce – Lends crisp, slightly bitter flavor and a pop of dark green to the salad.
- tomatoes – I prefer to use halved cherry tomatoes, but any will do in this recipe.
- olives – Pitted and sliced in half. Olives add distinct buttery and briny flavor.
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – Adds texture along with additional protein and fiber!
- red onion – Soaking onions in ice water will remove a lot of the bite. You still get onion flavor but it mellows out considerably.
- pepperoncini – Thinly sliced sweet, mild chili peppers add deliciously pickled flavor.
- fresh mozzarella pearls – You could also cut an 8 ounce ball into pieces.
- Genoa salami – Lends a bright, tangy and meaty flavor.
- sandwich pepperoni – Adds salty, spicy and somewhat tangy flavor.
Make The Vinaigrette:
In a bowl, measure and add; 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 clove freshly grated garlic, 10 medium basil leaves – chopped, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 6 tablespoons olive oil.
Whisk well to incorporate and set off to the side.
Make The Salad:
Thinly slice 1/2 a small head of radicchio and add to a bowl of ice water. Let this soak for 10 to 20 minutes, preferably while you prep the remaining ingredients of the salad. Soaking radicchio in ice water will remove some of the bitter flavor. Grilling or roasting will also work to remove the bitterness – maybe just not for this recipe.
In a large (and I mean LARGE) mixing bowl, add in 1 small head chopped iceberg, 1 to 2 heads (small-ish) romaine and the radicchio. I like to soak each lettuce in cold water, drain and spin dry using a salad spinner.
Use tongs to toss and combine.
Next add in 2 cups cherry tomato halves, 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas -rinsed and drained, 1/2 a red onion – thinly sliced, 3/4 cup halved pitted italian olives and 1/2 cup (packed) sliced pepperoncini.
Lastly, add 4 ounces each thinly sliced genoa salami and sandwich pepperoni with 8 ounces pearled mozzarella.
Again, gently toss to combine.
So colorful right?
Drizzle with desired amount of dressing…
Tossing again until the dressing coats the salad evenly.
Or simply serve the salad with the dressing on the side.
This recipe yields roughly 20 cups of salad, which will serve 10 (2 cup) or 20 (1 cup) portions/servings.
- Pre-sliced pepperoncini and pearled mozzarella are great short cuts.
- I find my Italian olives at Kroger or anywhere that sells Murray’s. I also add castelvetrano olives.
- Don’t skip soaking the radicchio. It really helps wash out the bitter flavor it releases when cut or chewed.
- Love onion but not how strong it can be? Consider soaking it in ice water as well.
- This salad doesn’t do well if made too far in advance. I have eaten leftovers the next day and although the dressing was left off of it, it was still a bit wilted.
Italian Chopped Salad
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 10 medium basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, fresh and finely grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1/2 small radicchio, thinly sliced
- 1 medium iceberg lettuce, chopped, rinsed and spun-dry
- 1 medium head romaine, (or 2 if small) chopped, rinsed and spun-dry
- 2 cups cherry tomato halves
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup pitted italian olive mix, halved
- 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncinis, packed
- 4 ounces Genoa salami slices, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces sandwich pepperoni slices, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:
- In a bowl measure and add; garlic, basil, parmesan, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, dijon, salt, pepper and olive oil.Whisk thoroughly until combined.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Thinly slice the radicchio and place in a bowl filled with ice water. Let this soak while you gather and prep the remaining ingredients for the salad. When ready, drain and spin dry.Soaking radicchio removes a lot of the bitter flavor.
- In a (very) large bowl add the chopped iceberg, romaine and radicchio. Use tongs to toss and combine.
- Next add in the cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, red onion, olives, pepperoncinis, salami, pepperoni and mozzarella pearls.
- Gently toss to combine.
- Serve dressed with desired amount of the vinaigrette or serve with the dressing on the side.
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