Italian Salad

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A delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies. This easy dinner salad is easy to customize to add your favorites.

For a great Italian meal, pair this salad with bruschetta and this amazing beef ragu.

Bowl of Italian Salad

This Italian salad is my go to! We eat it all the time and it pairs so well with so many different entrees. (Especially meat-heavy meals like this crockpot roast, Shepherd’s pie, or crockpot chili!)

So while your main entree is cooking, you can toss together this simple salad. It’s a very versatile salad and you can customize the veggies to include all your favorites. OR simplify it to include just 1-2 of your favorites. 

How to make an Italian salad

  • Make the dressing: in a small food prep food processor, pulse all the dressing ingredients to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil to emulsify.
  • Add salad ingredients to a large bowl: chopped lettuce, cucumbers, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, avocado, and pepperonicinis. See below for alternate salad addition ideas!
  • Toss: toss everything together with the dressing and then add the salad toppings: croutons and parmesan cheese! 

Image of the ready to eat Italian salad served in a bowl

Italian Salad Tips

  • Only add avocado, dressing, cheese, and croutons to the amount of salad that will be finished the same day you make it. The lettuce/veggies don’t sit well with the dressing, the croutons will get soggy, and avocado will brown in any leftover salad.
  • Make ahead: you can make everything for this salad ahead of time, just store everything (lettuce, salad ingredients, dressing, toppings) separately. Toss together right before eating! 
  • Good quality olive oil: the higher quality olive oil you use, the better and more flavorful the dressing will be.
  • Homemade croutons? Even better! Try this recipe.
Image of me pouring olive oil over the Italian salad

This salad is very easy to adjust to personal preference and doesn’t take long to throw together. The best part is the dressing! The dressing, adapted from Once Upon a Chef, is my favorite — so fresh tasting and filled with flavor. 

Variation ideas for this Italian salad

Replace one of the existing veggies in the salad or add in any of the following: 

  • Thinly sliced baby sweet bell peppers
  • Chopped green bell pepper (see how to cut a bell pepper here!)
  • Thinly sliced or chopped red onion
  • Banana peppers
  • Grated carrots
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Sicilian pitted green olives
  • Sun dried tomatoes

You can also amp up the protein in this Italian salad by adding some meat or beans. Below are some ideas:

  • Thinly sliced pepperoni 
  • Thinly sliced salami
  • Drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • Grill some chicken (grilled chicken marinade) to thinly slice and add into this salad
  • Grill some steak (steak marinade) to thinly slice and add into this salad

Up close image of all the ingredients in the Italian salad not yet mixed together in the salad

More Italian Style Dishes:

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Easy Italian Salad

5 from 9 votes
A delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies. This easy dinner salad is easy to customize to add your favorites.
Print Recipe

Easy Italian Salad

5 from 9 votes
A delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies. This easy dinner salad is easy to customize to add your favorites.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 234kcal
Author Chelsea, dressing adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Cost $5.60

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped (measured into 1 cup before chopping)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup English cucumbers, halved and quartered
  • 1/2 cup artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped (Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1 large avocado, chopped or thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional to top salad with
  • Croutons, store-bought or homemade, parmesan cheese, added to preference
  • Optional: pepperoncinis

Instructions

  • Make the dressing: Combine the chopped parsley, chopped basil, oregano, garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper (to taste, I use 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt) in a food processor or blender and pulse to combine and chop the herbs. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Don't over pulse/mix or your olive oil can become metallic tasting. Place in the fridge in a mason jar while preparing other ingredients. Shake to recombine dressing ingredients as needed before adding to the salad.
  • Place the following salad ingredients in a large bowl: the chopped lettuce, cucumbers, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, and pepperoncinis if desired. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing, avocado, parmesan cheese, and toss well. Add more dressing as needed making sure to very generously coat the lettuce (you'll likely use more dressing that you think to really get the flavor perfect!). Add some more salt and pepper to taste to the salad and finally top with croutons and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
  • *Only add avocado, dressing, cheese, and croutons to the amount of salad that will be finished immediately. This salad doesn't sit well with the dressing. Additionally the croutons will get soggy and avocado will brown in any leftover salad.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: often I'll trade out artichokes for thinly sliced baby sweet bell peppers.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 234kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Nutrition Facts in Italian salad

The ultimate BEST EVER Italian Salad with a healthy herb-packed dressing! via chelseasmessyapron.com #italian #salad #green #salad #easy #healthy #best #ever #quick #meal #dinner #croutons #artichoke #tomato #avocado #easy
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Recipe Rating




19 Comments

  1. Excited to try Michael Angelo’s options. We always keep freezer options on hand for quick weeknight meals — I wish I was cool enough to be hosting a mid-week party! — but these look like great meals to have on hand that I can feel good about feeding my kids. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve eaten three batches of this salad using my original dressing. I swear I could eat it every day! Making for a party next week too. Best dressing ever!

  3. 5 stars
    LOVE this dressing!! It makes the salad next level! Even my “ranch dressing only” daughter liked the dressing!! Thanks.

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