Italian Salad

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Delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies is easy to customize.

For a great Italian meal, pair this salad with Bruschetta and this amazing Beef Ragu.

Image of Italian Salad, with ingredients isolated.

This Italian salad is my go-to choice! 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 entree is cooking, you can toss together this simple salad. It’s very versatile and you can customize the veggies to include all your favorites. Or simplify it to include just 1-2 of your all-star add-ins. 

How to make Italian Salad

  • Make the dressing: In a mini 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 pepperoncini all make great salad elements. See below for alternate salad addition ideas.
  • Toss: Toss everything together with the dressing; 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 and veggie mixture doesn’t sit well with the dressing; the croutons will get soggy, and the avocado will brown.
  • 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 serving! 
  • Goodquality olive oil: The better the olive oil you use, the better and more flavorful the dressing will be. ‘Nuff said.
  • Homemade croutons? Even better! Try this recipe.
Image showing olive oil being poured over the Italian Salad.

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

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 bell pepper (see how to cut a bell pepper here!)
  • Thinly sliced or chopped red onion
  • Banana peppers
  • Grated carrots
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Pitted green or black olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

QUICK TIP

Speaking of bell peppers, do you know the difference between green, yellow, orange and red bell peppers? Green bell peppers are simply unripe versions of the more brightly colored peppers, and they’re absolutely fine to eat in their green state. The colored (ripened) bell peppers are mellower and sweeter in flavor and can contain up to twice as much Vitamin C as the green ones.

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 to this salad.
  • Grill some steak (steak marinade) to thinly slice and add to this salad.

Up-close image of all the ingredients in Italian Salad, not yet mixed together.

More Italian-Style Dishes

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Easy Italian Salad

5 from 11 votes
A delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies is an easy dinner salad that you can customize.
Print Recipe

Easy Italian Salad

5 from 11 votes
A delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect herb dressing and plenty of veggies is an easy dinner salad that you can customize.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 170kcal
Author Chelsea, dressing adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Cost $5.60

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, loosely packed, 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: pepperoncini

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. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Don't overmix or the olive oil can taste metallic. Refrigerate in a Mason jar while preparing other ingredients. Shake to recombine dressing ingredients as needed before adding to the salad.
  • Place the chopped lettuce, cucumbers, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, and optional pepperoncini in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing, avocado, Parmesan cheese, and toss well. Add more dressing as needed, making sure to generously coat the lettuce (you'll likely use more dressing than you think to really get the flavor perfect!). Add some more salt and pepper (to taste) to the salad and 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. The croutons will get soggy and the 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: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 762IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

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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




21 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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