Italian Chopped Salad (CPK Copycat)

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Italian Chopped Salad is a copycat of the famous California Pizza Kitchen salad. This Italian Chopped Salad is loaded with ham, salami, chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, lettuce and all tossed in an easy lemon and dijon vinaigrette.

Serve this Italian chopped salad alongside some Margherita PizzaChicken Alfredo, or this Italian Chicken Marinade.

Colorful and vibrant italian chopped salad with wooden serving spoons in the bowl.

California Pizza Kitchen Copycat

Several months ago during a trip to Vegas with my friends, we dined at the California Pizza Kitchen® in our hotel and I tried a salad that inspired me. I was determined to recreate it at home, and I’m thrilled with the result – it’s even better than the original!

This recipe gained immense popularity on social media (hi viral Edible Cookie Dough) for its versatility and deliciousness. It’s packed with ingredients like chickpeas and tomatoes, but the beauty of this chopped salad is its adaptability. You can easily modify the ingredients and quantities to your taste, maintaining a balanced proportion of flavors.

Savory italian salad dressing being whisked and poured.

Ingredients In Italian Chopped Salad

  • Romaine Lettuce: Forms the base of the salad, providing a crisp texture.
  • Chickpeas and Cherry Tomatoes: Add heartiness and a juicy, sweet flavor.
  • Red Onion: Brings a sharp, slightly sweet taste.
  • Salami and Ham: Contribute a savory, meaty flavor.
  • Mozzarella Pearls: Offer a creamy, mild cheese taste.
  • Pepperoncini: Gives a mild, tangy kick.
  • Basil Leaves: Infuse a fresh, herby smell. Use extra basil in this Tomato Basil Soup.


  • Lemon Juice and Red Wine Vinegar: For tanginess and acidity.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a delicious, slightly spicy flavor.
  • Sugar, Oregano, and Parsley: Provide sweetness and herby notes.
  • Garlic: Introduces a strong, aromatic taste in this Italian Chopped Salad.
  • Olive Oil: Acts as a binder, creating a smooth texture. Use a good olive oil.

Salami, vegetables, and garbanzo beans layered over crisp lettuce.

How To Make Italian Chopped Salad

  1. Dressing: Mix lemon juice, Dijon mustard, vinegar, sugar, oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake and chill.
  2. Lettuce: Wash, chop, and dry romaine lettuce.
  3. Salad: Toss lettuce with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onion, salami, ham, mozzarella, pepperoncini, and basil.
  4. Serve: Dress the salad just before serving to avoid sogginess.


Roll the romaine lettuce into thin cigars and thinly slice. Chop the thin slices to get thin and short ribbons of lettuce. This gives the lettuce more surface area for the dressing to coat and integrate better with all the other Italian chopped salad ingredients.

Overhead image of all the ingredients in a bowl fully dressed ready to be mixed together


Switch Things Up

  • The California Pizza Kitchen’s version of this Italian chopped salad uses chopped turkey, which can be used in place of the ham.
  • Swap out chickpeas for drained and rinsed white beans. Use extra white beans in this White Bean Soup.
  • Add another type of cheese: Add in small cubes of Provolone or a finely grated Parmesan cheese in addition to the mozzarella pearls.
  • Instead of just using romaine lettuce, use a mix of two different lettuces like iceberg and romaine. 

Chopped italian salad, fresh and dressed, ready to be enjoyed.

Chopped Italian Salad Storage

For storing Italian Chopped Salad, only dress the amount you’ll eat immediately as the dressing makes it soggy.

Keep undressed salad and dressing separate for later use. Prep components ahead and store dressing in the fridge; shake well before use.

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Italian Chopped Salad (CPK Copycat)

4.88 from 32 votes
This Italian Chopped Salad is a copycat of the famous California Pizza Kitchen salad. It's loaded with ham, salami, chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and lettuce. It is tossed in an easy lemon, Dijon, and herb vinaigrette.
Colorful and vibrant italian chopped salad with wooden serving spoons in the bowl.
Print Recipe

Italian Chopped Salad (CPK Copycat)

Colorful and vibrant italian chopped salad with wooden serving spoons in the bowl.
4.88 from 32 votes
This Italian Chopped Salad is a copycat of the famous California Pizza Kitchen salad. It's loaded with ham, salami, chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and lettuce. It is tossed in an easy lemon, Dijon, and herb vinaigrette.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian Chopped Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 as a side
Chelsea Lords
Calories 313kcal
Cost $8.12



  • 1 large head (4 cups) romaine lettuce (Note 1)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped salami
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup (5oz.) fresh mozzarella pearls, halved
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced pepperoncini
  • 10-12 large fresh basil leaves

Dressing (Note 2)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 clove garlic (1/2 teaspoon minced)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Fine sea salt & pepper


  • DRESSING: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a container with a lid. Season to taste with salt and pepper -- I add about 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cover and shake briskly to combine. Place in the fridge and store there until ready to dress the salad.
  • LETTUCE: Wash and chop the lettuce. I like to cut the lettuce into ribbons (roll up the pieces into cigars and then thinly slice) and then halve the ribbons -- thinner salad pieces allow for more surface area for the dressing to adhere to. Use a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce is 100% dry before adding any other ingredients.
  • SALAD INGREDIENTS: Add in the drained & rinsed chickpeas, quartered cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced salami, chopped ham, halved mozzarella pearls, and thinly sliced pepperoncini. Chiffonade the basil pieces (see Note 3) and add those to the salad. Toss the salad and adjust add-ins to personal preference.
  • ADD DRESSING: Remove the dressing from the fridge and shake again to recombine. Only add the dressing to the quantity of salad you will be enjoying immediately (see Note 2). Unfortunately, this salad doesn't sit well with dressing, so keep it separate until right ready to eat!
  • LEFTOVER DRESSING: You may not use all the dressing in this salad (dress to preference). Leftover dressing keeps up to a week in the fridge.


Recipe Notes

Note 1: Lettuce: For crunch and variety, use two different types of lettuce -- romaine and iceberg. If you do mix and match use 1/2 head of iceberg and 1/2 head of romaine. (I typically just use romaine though)
Note 2: Dressing: This is more dressing than you'll need for this salad, but I'd rather you have more than not enough! Dress salad slowly and to taste; save leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week. Don’t be alarmed if the dressing separates or forms clumps. It’s just the olive oil solidifying, which it does at cold temps. Take the vinaigrette out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes or so before you need it and let it return to temperature. Then shake it up to remix.
Note 3: Chiffonade: Chiffonade is the technique of cutting thin ribbons, usually from lettuces or herbs. To chiffonade basil, gather the leaves together into a stack, and roll up like a cigar. Make thin slices through the rolled bundle, and unroll to see the delicate ribbons. For shorter chiffonade, cut each slice in half before unrolling the leaves.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6as a side | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.5g | Protein: 21.2g | Fat: 18.1g | Cholesterol: 35.1mg | Sodium: 376.5mg | Fiber: 5.6g | Sugar: 5g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


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4.88 from 32 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for my kids and I. They loved it and begged for this salad only for future salads.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this salad lastnight to go with stuffed shells and it was DELICIOUS. The dressing in particular is something I will use whenever I get the chance. Great recipe!

  3. 5 stars

    This looks delicious and plan on trying this weekend. For the pepperoncini,do you use pickled or fresh?

    Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    I loved this salad sooo much and so did our wine group that I made it for!! Making it again tonight.. But I love all your salads and so does everyone else I make them for.. yummy!!!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Your recipes look amazing! I’m making my grocery list now, as I plan on trying a few very soon. May I ask where you got your wood salad servers with the twisted handles? I love them.

    Thank you and wish me luck!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope you love this salad & good luck! 🙂 I’m sure this isn’t the answer you’re hoping for, but they were bought in Johannesburg Africa (my in-laws lived there for a bit) at the Joburg market. Wish I had a link to share for them

  6. 5 stars
    Used the salad recipe as a base but added cut up mortadella instead of ham. Gotta say, the dressing recipe is a keeper ( cut it down to 2 teaspoons though ). Be sure to let it chill in fridge for a bit!

  7. 5 stars
    wow – my husband and teenage boys are not salad fans but they sucked this down and asked if we could have it every week! plus it was super easy to modify for the vegetarian daughter and still give her plenty of protein. that dressing is the bomb. this is a new whole family staple – thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Made for a family gathering last week and making again tonight. Delicious and will be in my regular rotation. Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    This salad:dressing is phenomenal! Loved the Chiffonade technique too. It not only makes for a beautiful presentation but helps to get a little bit of everything on your fork!! 😊 Delicious, thank you!!

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious!! Made a humongous bowl of this for an Italian themed dinner party for 16 people and it was devoured. People had 2-3 servings and when does that ever happen with a salad? It was a little tedious cutting the meats and tomatoes for a salad this large, but I’d still make it again!! Very very good.

  11. 5 stars
    This salad is amazing! Tastes like an Italian sub. My only issue was the chickpeas. To me they didn’t make sense in the salad and added a gross texture. Next time I make it… and I for sure will, I will leave them out. Otherwise everything about it was perfection.

  12. 5 stars
    Love this so much! Have made a few times. A fun shortcut is buying the applegate mini salami bites so you don’t need to chop:).

  13. 5 stars
    I was in the mood for a new flavor combination and this recipe hit the spot. I left out the ham and used some chopped bacon instead. Swapped the red wine vinegar for white. I believe I’m going to eat the whole thing! Thank you.

  14. 5 stars
    Delicious! We ate the whole salad it’s that good. Definitely will make again.
    Substituted balsamic vinegar in dressing..tasted great.
    Added eggs and diced ham and. pepperoni for protein.

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