Classic Chopped Italian Salad

Classic chopped Italian salad has a pleasing mix of pickled vegetables, cured meats, and cheeses. Serve as a colorful dinner on its own, or a starter with pasta or pizza.

Plate of Italian Chopped Salad with More in a Large Bowl in the Background

Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

Salads come in many shapes and sizes. Some are almost an afterthought of lettuce and fridge-drawer vegetables, but the Italian chopped salad is much more iconic. A thick bed of dressed Romaine lettuce topped with ALL the good toppings. A good chopped salad will have a mix of tangy pickled vegetables, cured meats, cheeses, and crunchy fresh vegetables. 

While this salad was made to be served alongside hearty fare like pizza, chicken parmesan, or pasta dishes, it is plenty hearty enough to be the star of dinner on its own. It also makes wonderful lunches!

Homemade Italian Vinaigrette

I make my vinaigrette by combining fresh lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in a glass jar with a lid. Shake it up for a few seconds to combine the ingredients and its ready to go!

You can definitely store this in the fridge for up to 1 week, but it’ll separate and solidify in the fridge so run the jar under some warm water and give it a shake to bring the dressing back to room temperature before serving.

You don’t have to make your own vinaigrette for this salad though. There is enough going on here that you could get away with a good quality store-bought vinaigrette like Newman's Own. You don’t want a vinaigrette that’s overly sweet and it should have lots of herbs and acidity. 

Large Bowl of Cheese, Peppers, Salami, Olives, Chickpeas, and Lettuce for Italian Chopped Salad

Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

Pickled Vegetables Are the Star

The thing I love most about a good Italian chopped salad is a mix of pickled vegetables. I used pepperoncini and roasted red peppers for this version, but you could experiment with other options. Chopped up pickled vegetables like cabbage, okra, or even spicy pickles would all be fine additions to the salad. 

The saltiness and tanginess of the pickled vegetables is important here because it cuts through some of the richness in this salad that comes from the cheese and meat. Don’t skip it!

Easy Substitutions  

  • Trade out the meat with other cured meats like pepperoni or capicola. Or leave out the meat entirely for a vegetarian version.
  • Add even more pickled items like olives or capers to the salad if you’d like 
  • Change up the base of the salad with slivered kale or baby spinach.

Make it a Meal!

This is a pretty hearty salad as-is, but if you wanted to make it a full on entrée, serve it with some baked salmon like this easy baked salmon, yogurt grilled chicken, or even sliced flank steak.

Large Bowl of Cheese, Peppers, Salami, Olives, Chickpeas, Onions, and Lettuce for Italian Chopped Salad

Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

Try These Satisfying Salad Recipes

Classic Chopped Italian Salad

Prep Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 6 servings


For the Italian vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 ounces genoa salami, chopped

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped

  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini

  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted red peppers

  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped


  1. Making the dressing: 

    In a jar with a lid add the lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, sugar, oregano, olive oil, kosher, salt, and black pepper. Add the lid and shake for 10 seconds until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

    Simple Tip!

    The vinaigrette can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. It’s best served at room temperature.

    The dressing will separate and solidify in the fridge, so run the jar under some warm water and give it a shake to bring the dressing back to room temperature before serving.

    Jar of Dressing for Italian Salad Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

    Salad Dressing Spooned from Jar for Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

  2. Make the salad: 

    Add the chopped Romaine to a large bowl and drizzle with a few tablespoons of dressing. Top the romaine with the red onion, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers and basil. Stir together well before serving. Add more dressing, if desired.

    Bowl of Lettuce for Italian Chopped Salad

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

    Two Serving Spoons Mixing a Bowl of Italian Chopped Salad

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

  3. Serve: 

    Serve the salad in bowls with pasta or pizza for a classic Italian meal.

  4. Leftovers and storage:

    If you are planning to store this salad for later, I would recommend storing it without the dressing. 

    If you do dress it and have some leftovers, that’s okay—the dressed salad will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. The greens just wilt pretty quickly once they are dressed. 

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below! 

    Plate of Italian Chopped Salad Next to a Bowl with More

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
457 Calories
34g Fat
25g Carbs
17g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 457
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 923mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 44mg 219%
Calcium 265mg 20%
Iron 4mg 19%
Potassium 857mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.