I love Italian Chopped Salads! There is something about them that is so substantial and satisfying. Just makes me happy!! Several years ago, a friend of mine and I would frequently head to this old school Italian joint, Antonio’s Pizzeria, in our neighborhood to get an Italian Chopped Salad. Actually, we would always order the Italian Salad (for 2) and then one day she suggested we should get it chopped. What?!? Change up the usual??? Well, $1 later (that’s how much extra you pay to get it chopped) and we found a new favorite! That $1 extra was totally worth it!
It was around that time that I started experimenting and making Italian Chopped Salads at home, too, with the ingredients I loved most…which means I added a few more ingredients than Antonio. Thinking back to some of the items that my Grandpa would include in his antipasto spread, I had to add the Roasted Red Peppers! They are just so good in this salad. You can find them everywhere…they usually come in a jar.
However, if you want to take a page from Grandma who used to roast them herself, it’s really simple to do. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:
- Throw the red bell peppers on the grill until they starts to char and blister. Don’t worry about them burning…that’s what you want.
- Once they are thoroughly charred, toss them in one of those paper bags you get at the grocery store. Fold over the top. The steam in there will help to continue to cook the peppers and will help the skin separate from the pepper so that after a few minutes…
- Peel back the blistered skin…and voila, a roasted red bell pepper.
- Just cut around the stem and you can usually remove the stem and seeds is one fell swoop.
Until you have a lazy weekend to roast your own, just get them in the jar. They’re gonna be great!
For the meats—the pepperoni and salami—and the provolone cheese, I recommend getting them from the deli. And get them sliced about a 1/4 inch thick. The idea it to have all the ingredients in this salad about the same size. If you prefer to buy the prepackaged meats and cheese for convenience, no problem. I won’t judge. It’s still gonna be great!
I like using red onion, but by all means, you can use a sweet onion, white onion, yellow onion…who cares what color it is…whatever you like. It’s still gonna be great!
If you sense a bit of a laissez-faire attitude on my part, you would be correct. The ingredients we are adding are all great, so just tailor it to your liking and it’s gonna work!
The pepperoncini peppers add a great tang to the salad without the heat. So do the olives…which I prefer using the Kalamata olives than the mild black olive variety you find in a can.
I equate the garbanzos to the croutons…they just make the salad. Plus they add a little protein, which along with the meat and cheese, makes this one hearty salad. Literally, you could have it as your meal and feel completely satisfied.
Presentation is important with this salad because it is easy to make it look great. Alternate colors around the bowl or put everything into separate lines. Again, whatever. It’s gonna be great…and when you’re ready to serve, throw in some salad dressing and toss.
You’re gonna love this one…and I can’t wait for you to share some of your creative arrangements when you craft your own Italian Chopped Salad.
Until then, Buon appetito!
Italian Chopped Salad
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Chop up the Romaine lettuce into 1/4 inch pieces. Add to salad bowl.
- Chop all the other ingredients (Pepperoni, Provolone Cheese, Salami, Red Onion, Roasted Red Pepper, Pepperoncini Peppers, Garbanzo Beans, Kalamata Olives) about 1/4 inch in size. (The garbanzo beans can remain whole. Arrange on top of the salad alternating colors around the bowl. I like to put the olives in the center.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and it’s ready to present.
- Before you’re ready to serve, add Salad Dressing and toss.
Traditional Italian Salad Dressing
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
YOU'LL ALSO NEED:
- Combine all ingredients into a salad dressing mason jar. Cover with lid and shake until thoroughly mixed.