Big Italian Chopped Salad

A big jumble of a salad packed with a mélange of bitter greens and our favorite Mediterranean ingredients, all messy and delicious and the perfect foil for a lasagna feast or a big holiday meal short on the vitality of fresh vegetables or a salad base for fish, eggs, burrata and more.

Big Italian Chopped Salad, another fresh salad recipe ♥ Perfect with lasagna and holiday meals short on fresh vegetables.

Whole Food, Fresh & Family Approved. A Celebratory Salad, a Big Addition to Italian Feasts, Especially Lasagna. An Intentional Salad, Long on Ingredients, Short on Difficulty. Hearty & Filling. Fun Picnic Food. Potluck & Party Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. So Good!!

  • "OMG. This salad." ~ Neil, tasting a sample.

Exactly What Is a "Chopped Salad"?

My city of St. Louis' one-time unofficial slogan was "first in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League." But the phrase missed a headline feature that lives on nearly a century later: Italian heritage.

It's fun to visit "The Hill" just outside downtown St. Louis, a walking neighborhood filled with Italian groceries and gelato shops; Italian restaurants and bakeries; an Italian sausage maker; a bocce court; a church where mass is celebrated in Latin; plus the boyhood homes of Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola sitting across from one another.

And it's on The Hill where I first encountered an Italian chopped salad: loaded with ingredients, wet with dressing. Truth? I wasn't impressed. But in the two decades I've now lived in St. Louis, I've learned to not only appreciate but love a really good Italian chopped salad.

But what is a "chopped salad", exactly? Aren't nearly all salads mostly chopped vegetables and thus chopped salads?

Well, no.

A chopped salad's ingredients are chopped small so that every bite incudes what might appear to be a hodgepodge of tastes but instead is an intentional collection of favorite Italian ingredients with different tastes and textures all wedded (and wetted!) by a generous savory dressing, together creating something momentous and distinctive.

An Italian chopped salad is no skimpy salad that leaves you hungry. It's a lusty salad that pairs especially well with Italian pastas and meats but may also be a meal in itself.

I started making chopped salads at home a few years back when I wanted something fresh and green to pair with our Christmas Even gumbo and imagined what I soon came to call my Big Cajun Chopped Salad. This Italian version repeats the magical proportions of greens to extras to dressing but substitutes Mediterranean ingredients for Cajun ingredients.

Big Italian Chopped Salad, another fresh salad recipe ♥ Perfect with lasagna and holiday meals short on fresh vegetables.

About This Recipe: Big Italian Chopped Salad

  • This is a big mostly-raw salad packed with many Italian ingredients, including small bits of salami and Parmesan. The salad greens and other ingredients are chopped small, dressed with a homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette and served cold as a side salad, a dinner salad or as the base for proteins like fish or chicken.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Bitter Greens + Marinated Artichokes + Green Olives + Red Wine Vinaigrette
  • The Bitter Greens (What Are Bitter Greens?) = arugula + radicchio + romaine + endive + parsley
  • Other Vegetables = cabbage + bell pepper + red onion
  • The Extras That "Make" the Salad = parmesan + salami + chickpeas
  • In all honesty, this salad takes time to shop for and assemble. The good news is, nothing is complicated, no special techniques, just a little knife work. More good news, some of the ingredients (including the homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette) may be prepped the day before or early in the day: that really speeds the final preparations.
  • To my eyes, this Big Italian Chopped Salad is quite pretty, that's thanks to the color contrast of the radicchio and bell pepper, the roundness of the chickpeas, the surprising color of the salami.
  • This is party-friendly recipe, easy to assemble and serve in a big salad bowl in a buffet.
  • This salad serves a good dozen or more people in a meal where it's the only side dish, obviously fewer if it's used for a main dish salad.
  • So good! I hope you love it!

  • For a chopped salad that works with classic foods from New Orleans, you'll want to try my Big Cajun Chopped Salad.
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other salad recipes.

Hungry Yet?
A Fun, Casual Italian Menu

Easy Italian Appetizers
Red Pepper Crostini
Olivada & Olivada Appetizers
Parmesan Crisps

Lasagna or
Chicken Cacciatore
Warm Garlic Bread
Big Italian Chopped Salad
(recipe below)

Easy-Easy Jam Tart (Crostata Della Nonna)

Big Italian Chopped Salad, another fresh salad recipe ♥ Perfect with lasagna and holiday meals short on fresh vegetables.

Some Other Serving Ideas

My personal style for serving a big salad like this is to put it in a biiiiiig bowl and add it to the buffet line on the kitchen island. Our extended family loves big salads, they're always a hit at family dinners and holiday gatherings.

But! There are definitely other attractive ways to serve this salad, no big bowl or buffet required.

  • Spread generously across a large platter, dotted with mini balls of fresh mozzarella.
  • As a luncheon salad or light supper salad, just pair with crackers, a little bread or even Fried Bread (Skillet Toast)
  • As the salad base topped with a piece of fish or a chicken breast or even thin slices of steak.
  • As a bistro-style dinner, the salad topped by runny eggs (poached or steamed or fried).
  • As a summer indulgence, topped with a ball of buratta, that amazing fresh mozzarella wrapped around a thick cream that spills like creamy lava out when the mozzarella is broken into.
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe for a big exuberant chopped salad inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Big Italian Chopped Salad, another fresh salad recipe ♥ Perfect with lasagna and holiday meals short on fresh vegetables.


Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Time-to-table: 45 minutes
Makes about 9 cups

Don't be stymied by the number of ingredients, they come together quite quickly. I've marked with an asterisk * the ingredients which may be prepped and refrigerated the day before or early in the day.
  • Liquid from marinated artichokes or 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Generous salt & pepper
  • 4 cups (8 ounces/212g) arugula
  • 4 cups (8 ounces/212g) chopped red romaine or another lettuce
  • 2 cups (1 small/100g) thinly sliced radicchio
  • 1 cup (65g) thinly sliced green or savoy cabbage
  • 1 large (100g) thinly sliced endive
  • 1 large (150g) orange, yellow or red bell pepper, thinly sliced and cut into bite-size lengths
  • 1 12-ounce jar marinated artichokes *, drained (save the liquid for the dressing) and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (12g) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup (35g) finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup (55g) shaved Parmesan *
  • 1/2 cup (50g) finely diced salami *
  • 1 cup (166g) drained chickpeas *
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives *

RED WINE VINAIGRETTE Whisk the ingredients together. If it's made ahead of time, refrigerate but an hour or so before serving, bring the Vinaigrette to room temperature.

SALAD An hour or two before serving, collect all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate the bowl and its contents until just before serving.

TO SERVE Toss the Salad with about half the Vinaigrette, really working the ingredients to distribute the dressing. Taste and season the salad with salt and pepper. Taste again and decide how much Vinaigrette to use; this can vary based on using more/fewer ingredients.

Serve immediately.

TIMING TIP This is no quick salad. First, it's big. Second, it takes time to gather and prep so many ingredients. Here's the great news. A few of the ingredients may be prepped the day before and stored in small containers in the fridge. If some time is spent prepping beforehand, the salad is quite quick to assemble shortly before serving. The make-ahead ingredients are the Red Wine Vinaigrette, the marinated artichokes, the Parmesan, the salami, the chickpeas and the olives.

LEFTOVERS You'll be happy for leftovers! That said, it's definitely best when first dressed and served.

ALANNA's TIPS For marinated artichokes, I'm happy with the Trader Joe's Marinated Artichokes but often see other brands in grocery stores and even on the shelves at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, the like. The artichokes are small and tender but you'll still want to chop them up a bit. The marinade liquid tastes good so I also use it in the Red Wine Vinaigrette. Waste not, want not! As long as you're at Trader Joe's, pick up a bag of arugula, some uncured salami, some chickpeas, some green olives, a red onion, a bell pepper, a piece of Parmesan for grating or a container of shaved Parmesan. You're almost done shopping! Maybe add one more item to your Trader Joe's shopping list? Instead of plain green olives, I often turn to a partial jar of Trader Joe's Cracked Olive Salad, we really like it with salmon (recipe coming soon!). I mention several Trader Joe's products here but this recipe is NOT sponsored, these are just ingredients that I often purchase and have come to rely on. My Disclosure Promise

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Sorry, due to technical issues during a laptop conversion, nutrition info and Weight Watchers points will be added later.
Adapted from my Big Cajun Chopped Salad at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.

More "Big" Salads

A collection of seasonal Salad Recipes ♥ Side salads to supper salads and everything in between.
~ salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ chopped salads ~
from A Veggie Venture
Big Cajun Chopped Salad, another fresh, flexible & healthy salad ♥ Great with gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole, crawfish boils and more.

Detox Chopped Salad, another healthy salad ♥ A Veggie Venture with broccoli, cauliflower, dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Vegan, great for potlucks and parties.

Green Cabbage Salad with Fresh Lime Vinaigrette, another fresh, healthy salad ♥ A Veggie Venture. Vegan. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.