This Italian Chopped Salad is a copycat of the famous California Pizza Kitchen's 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.
DRESSING: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a wide-mouth jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper -- I add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the lid on the jar and shake briskly to combine. Place jar 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 and 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 2) and add those into the salad. Toss the salad and adjust add-ins to personal preference. (The amounts listed are general guidelines of how we like this chopped salad. But the best part of making this homemade is you can add additional toppings 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. Unfortunately the 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.
Note 1: 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: Chiffonade is the technique for 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.