This Italian Chopped Salad recipe is a delightful combination of Italian-inspired ingredients like asparagus, white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, pepperoncini, chickpeas, and red onion. They are chopped to perfection and then this hearty salad is then sprinkled with Italian Spice Mix. The combination of textures and flavors is pure perfection and is the perfect hearty vegetarian salad.
Italian Chopped Salad Recipe
This Italian Chopped Salad recipe is the kind of salad you can feel good eating and will actually fill you up. This hearty vegetarian salad has lots of fresh and yummy vegetables like romaine lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, green bell pepper, and red onion. It also has some yummy filling toppers like chickpeas and tiny cubes of yummy sharp white cheddar cheese. The addition of fresh chopped pepperoncini really brings that fresh Italian flavor to the bowl.
If you aren't familiar with chopped salads, they are salads that are filled with lots of bite-size ingredients. You can dive in without a lot of work, making it a delicious and tasty meal.
Don't you LOVE the way chopped salads allow you to get the perfect taste in bite? This salad does just that and is absolutely bursting with flavor, colors, and textures.
Why You'll Love this Italian Chopped Salad Recipe...
- This Italian Chopped Salad recipe is filled with flavor!
- You can make this in less than 15 minutes with lots of ingredients you probably already have.
- It's a hearty vegetarian salad with a nice protein boost from the chickpeas and cheese making it a filling meal.
- This is hearty enough for a meal, but you can divide it into smaller portions for a side salad with pizza.
- You can customize it for the vegetables you have fresh.
- If you are in a hurry, you can use your favorite bottle dressing or take the extra few minutes to make one of my homemade dressings: Zesty Italian Dressing or Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing.
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make my Italian Chopped Salad, but keep scrolling for the full printable recipe.
- Romaine Lettuce: Lots of Italian salads have iceberg lettuce, but I like adding crispy romaine for a nice crunch. You can sub your favorite green too. Radicchio is also a fun addition.
- Cherry Tomatoes: I call for cherry tomatoes, but you can use whatever chopped tomato you have on hand. Just cut it into bite-sized pieces to keep this a chopped salad.
- Green Pepper: I like adding a green bell pepper for crunch, flavor, and texture.
- Red Onion: A red onion or purple onion gives this salad a rich bite and flavor.
- Peperoncini: I feel like the pepperoncini elevates this salad from a simple one to a special one with many Italian flavors.
- Chickpeas: I use canned chickpeas to add more protein and heartiness to the salad. Just make sure to rinse and drain them well.
- Asparagus: I love the unexpected asparagus in this salad! It does require a bit of prep work. Follow my instructions below to blanch it for the salad. You could also substitute cucumber or another vegetable if you didn't want to fuss with the prep work on the asparagus.
- Dressing: Use your favorite store-bought Italian Dressing or my Zesty Italian Dressing or Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. You can also just use nice olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic.
- Italian Spice Mix: I like to add an extra sprinkle of my Homemade Italian Spice Mix on top.
- Salt and Black Pepper
Favorite Storebought Italian Dressings
Don't want to make your own dressing? Here are a few of my favorite store-bought ones.
This is just an overview of how to make Italian Chopped Salad, the full printable recipe is below.
- Gather all of the ingredients. Wash, chop and prepare the romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, pepperoncini, chickpeas, and sharp white cheddar.
- Follow the instructions below to blanch the asparagus.
- Get out your dressing or prepare the Zesty Italian Dressing or Red Wine Vinegar Dressing.
- To assemble the Italian Chopped Salad, put the romaine lettuce in a large bowl or individual bowls. Carefully arrange the ingredients in a triangle wedge around the bowl.
- Sprinkle the Italian Spice Mix on the top and serve with the dressing.
- Serve as shown above or toss together with the dressing like shown below.
How to Blanch the Asparagus for Salad:
- To make the asparagus for this Italian Chopped Salad, you'll need to blanch it. First, remove the woody ends and chop the asparagus into bite pieces.
- In a large pot, boil salted water.
- Drop the asparagus into the water and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Drain the asparagus and quickly rinse cold water over it to stop the cooking process.
- The asparagus is now ready to add to your salad.
I love this Italian Chopped Salad as written, but here are some fun ways to mix it up.
- Make it Vegan: Remove the cheese. It's still great without it even dairy-free.
- Make it Olive: Add your favorite olives including black olives or kalamata olives.
- Make it Mozzarella: Substitute fresh mozzarella bites for the sharp cheddar cheese.
- Make it Parmesan: Add fresh parmesan cheese on top.
- Make it Meaty: Add salami or other favorite Italian meats.
- Make it Herby: Feel free to use your favorite fresh herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley.
Can I make this ahead of time?
The ingredients in this salad are pretty hearty, so you can make it up to a day ahead of time WITHOUT the dressing. Once you add dressing, you'll need to eat it within the hour to keep it from getting soggy.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftovers without the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Any dressed salad needs to be eaten or tossed within the hour.
This Italian Chopped Salad Recipe is the Perfect Vegetarian Salad Meal!
This Italian Chopped Salad is really the perfect hearty meal. The addition of the cheese and chickpeas make this a filling and satisfying lunch or dinner salad anyone will love.
You can also divide it up into smaller portions as a side dish. Here's a few ideas to make it a meal. It would be fabulous with pizza or any Italian pasta.
Serve it With:
- Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
- Kale Pasta
- Pesto Pasta
- Mediterranean Pasta Bake
- Pasta with Homemade Crock Pot Marina Sauce
- Twice Baked Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Marinara
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
More Healthy Italian & Chopped Salad to Try:
- Mediterranean Chopped Salad
- Chopped Kale Salad
- Fall Harvest Chopped Salad
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Tortelli Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Bruschetta Pasta Salad
Italian Chopped Salad recipe
- Gather, prep chop, and prepare the salad ingredients.
- Prepare the asparagus by blanching it. First, remove the woody ends and chop the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. In a large pot, boil salted water. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Whisk together the Zesty Italian Dressing according to the directions in that recipe post.
- To assemble the Italian Chopped Salad, put the romaine lettuce in a bowl. Carefully arrange each ingredient into a triangle wedge around the bowl.
- Sprinkle Italian Spice Mix on top and serve with the Zesty Italian Dressing.
- Serve as shown, or toss together with the dressing.
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