This Italian chopped salad is loaded with delicious ingredients and beautiful colors.  It looks great, but tastes even better!  The vinaigrette is super simple with only 5 ingredients and might just become your go-to Italian salad dressing!

Italian chopped salad in white plate on wood table.

It’s a simpler dressing than the one we use in our Via Carota inspired green salad.  That’s a great salad too but a bit fancier than this one.  

I really think this is the best chopped salad.  We’ve been making it this way for years.  It has romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Tuscan peppers (pepperoncini), salami, provolone, red onion, fresh basil, and oil-cured olives.

There are so many ways to kick it up.  Adding chickpeas, artichoke hearts, endive, fennel or radicchio are all awesome additions.

And if you love radicchio, we do, check out this radicchio salad in a delicious orange vinaigrette.   If you’re a fennel lover, give this grilled fennel salad with shaved parmesan a try!

Ingredients shown: romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, salami, provolone, Tuscan peppers and oil cured olives.

How to make the best chopped salad

  1. Begin by chopping 3 heads of romaine hearts.  Remove the outer bruised leaves and cut an inch off the top.  Then, cut off the core and chop the lettuce into bite size pieces like shown.
  2. Chop the 1 medium red onion into bite size pieces.

Italian chopped salad recipe process collage number one.

  1. Chop the salami into bite size pieces.  Note: Purchase one thick slice (about a 1/4 pound) of salami from your deli counter if possible.  Also, cut 3/8 pound of provolone into bite size pieces and chop a 1/4 cup of fresh basil.
  2. Cut a 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes into halves.
  3. Chop a 1/4 cup worth of Tuscan peppers into bite size pieces.
  4. Place all the ingredients except the chopped tomatoes into a large bowl.

Recipe process collage number two.

  1. Make the Italian salad dressing by whisking together 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 3/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add some of the dressing to the salad and toss to coat.  If the salad is too dry, add more of the dressing.  Note: It’s better to under dress the salad than to use to much and make it soggy.

Right before serving, add the tomatoes toss once more, then plate.  It’s better to hold off on the tomatoes until the end to avoid crushing them.

There’s nothing better than making this salad and enjoying it outside with some nice rosemary grilled pork chops or provolone and prosciutto steak pinwheels.  A refreshing drink like a Hugo Cocktail or an Aperol Spritz would be great!

Chopped salad in white plate on wood table.

So that’s how to make an easy and delicious Italian chopped salad.  Cutting all the ingredients into roughly the same size creates a nice texture, where every bite is composed of so many irresistible flavors!

Top tips

  • Chopping all the ingredients into the same size pieces is completely optional.  In fact, some salads rely on big leaves to hold puddles of dressing.  Do what you like, but for this salad having the ingredients chopped to roughly the same size is a nice touch.
  • Oil-cured olives are quite salty.  Rinse them to remove some of their salt content before adding to the salad.
  • Either sharp or mild provolone can be used.
  • Hold off on adding the tomatoes until exactly before serving.  The halved cherry tomatoes will make the salad soggy and get crushed if added too early.
  • Start off by using some, not all, of the dressing.  It’s better to have an underdressed salad that can be added to, than a soggy one.

Overhead shot of plated Italian chopped salad on blue background.

More salads you’ll love

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Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Super easy Italian chopped salad loaded with salami, provolone, Tuscan peppers, oil cured olives, red onion, cherry tomatoes and basil in a simple vinaigrette.

Ingredients 

For the vinaigrette

  • 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the salad

  • 3 large romaine hearts
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/4 pound salami
  • 3/8 pound provolone
  • 1/3 cup oil cured black olives
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Tuscan peppers (pepperoncini)

Instructions 

For the vinaigrette

  • Whisk together 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil.

For the salad

  • Remove outer bruised leaves of romaine, chop off top 1", and cut off core. Chop the romaine into bite size pieces.
  • Rinse 1/3 cup of pitted oil cured olives to remove some of the salt. Chop the red onion, 3/8 pound provolone, 1/4 pound salami and 1/4 cup of Tuscan peppers into bite size pieces. Chop the basil and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, except the tomatoes. Give the vinaigrette one final whisk and pour half over the salad. Toss the salad to combine and if required add a little bit more vinaigrette being careful to not use too much, making the salad soggy.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and toss one last time. Plate and enjoy!

Notes

  • Oil cured olives are quite salty.  Rinse them to remove some of their salt content before adding to salad.
  • Either sharp or mild provolone can be used.
  • If possible, buy 1 large 1/4 pound piece of salami from deli counter.
  • Hold off on adding the tomatoes until right before serving.  The halved cherry tomatoes will make the salad soggy and get crushed if added to early.
  • Start off by using some, not all, of the dressing.  It's better to have an under dressed salad that can be added to, than a soggy one.

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.4g | Protein: 17.2g | Fat: 36.7g | Saturated Fat: 12.8g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 705mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2.5g | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 3.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4 Comments

  1. Deborah A Hutchinson says:

    5 stars
    I think James is a very talented chef. I only wish he were my son & lived at home. I’m 75 yo & live alone so don’t cook much but if he’d cook for me I’d just love it! God bless that talented mind & hands!!♥️♥️

  2. Carolyn says:

    Love stuffed peppers! This recipe has some awesome tips to make them even better than mine!

  3. Carolyn says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! One of my favorite salads!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Carolyn, thank you and so happy you enjoyed this salad!