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Italian Chopped Salad

Salty salami, creamy mozzarella, olives, Parm, fresh basil and—oh yeah—some lettuce make this Italian chopped salad recipe truly crush-worthy.


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  • Salads
  • Gluten Free
Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Italian Chopped Salad is the Best Chopped Salad (It Just Is)

You know it’s true. Or maybe you don’t! Maybe you’ve never had an Italian chopped salad? If you’re new to the fantastic flavor-texture joy parade that is Italian chopped salad, welcome to the greatest no-cook dinner you’ve ever had. “Chopped salads” are—just like you’d probably guess—called chopped salads because all of the ingredients are finely chopped before being tossed together. While we sometimes enjoy big leafy greens or Caesar salads that require a knife and fork, chopped salads are really delightful because they invite you to grab your fork and dive right in. They’re also a great way to incorporate non-lettuce ingredients into the mix, as you’ll see in this seriously meat-and-cheese loaded Italian chopped salad recipe! Italian chopped salad is a salad, yes, but it’s soooooo much more than that. It’s super, super filling, and majorly hearty. You can serve Italian chopped salad as a main dish—it’s especially ideal for days when you don’t want to turn on the stove, or even think about dirtying pots and pans. All you need to make it is a cutting board and a good knife, so put on some good tunes and let’s get chopping!

Ingredients for homemade Italian chopped salad in bowls on the counter including lettuce, salami, veggies, and mozzarella

What is an Italian Chopped Salad Made Of?

Get ready to get hungry. Basically an Italian chopped salad is a fever dream of all of the best Italian snacks and olive bar favorites chopped up into tiny bite-sized bits and tossed together in a tangy homemade chopped salad dressing. It’s the kind of salad that really pushes the definition of salad to the limit and is unquestionably main-dish worthy. Salty salami, creamy mozzarella, olives, Parm, fresh basil and—oh yeah—some lettuce make this Italian chopped salad recipe truly crush-worthy. The key to a really great chopped salad is uniformity. We kind of want all of these ingredients to be roughly the same size, so keep that in mind as you slice and dice! A bit smaller than bite-sized is a good rule of thumb. Pretend you’re a prep cook trying to really earn their keep—heads down, sharp knife, can’t lose. Yes, chef! Here’s everything that’s getting chopped:

  • Lettuce! We like a colorful, flavorful combo of romaine and radicchio.

  • Salami

  • Black olives

  • Bell pepper

  • Pepperoncini

  • Fresh mini mozzarella balls

  • Cucumber

  • Fresh basil

  • Parmesan cheese

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Pickled onions

dijon, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and oregano in bowl for making homemade Italian salad dressing
dijon, garlic, salt, pepper lemon juice, oregano, red wine vinegar and vegetable oil in a bowl for Italian salad dressing

Italian Chopped Salad Dressing

There are those who argue that a chopped salad is all about the dressing and to that we say—no way. At least not when the chopped salad is an Italian chopped salad and it has as much salami and cheese and pickly things as ours does. However! The dressing is really, really important. When a salad has so much heft to it—and this Italian chopped salad recipe is nothing if not incredibly hefty!—the salad dressing plays a completely essential balancing role. Fatty cured meat and salty olives and milky fresh mozzarella need lightness and lift and something to both balance and meet their intensity. Tangy, sharp and assertive, our chopped salad dressing recipe is up to the task! And it’s quick to make—just mix together:

  • Dijon mustard

  • Fresh lemon juice

  • Oregano

  • Fresh garlic

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Vegetable oil

  • Salt & pepper

homemade italian salad dressing in a bowl with a spoon on the counter
ingredients for homemade Italian chopped salad in a bowl together including lettuce, salami, pickled onions and mozzarella

How to Make The Best Chopped Salad Ever

Whether you’re whipping up a meal for your super hungry family or you’re heading to a backyard party where you’re not sure how filling the food will be, this trusty chopped salad recipe is a great one to have in your recipe rotation. It’s easy-going food that everyone loves—how could they not?! And it’s so loaded with goodies that it really feels like a treat to eat and a generous thing to share with others. Plus, it requires absolutely zero cooking! Just open a few cans and jars, chop like mad and toss together! While you can’t really make it ahead of time—the lettuce will wilt and the mozzarella balls will get pretty sad after a few hours—you can mix up the dressing up to 5 days ahead of time. And the rest of the prep should only take 10-15 minutes, so it’s still a really fast no-cook meal. Here’s how to make our Italian chopped salad recipe:

  1. Whip up that dressing! You can shake all of the ingredients together in a jar, or you can simply dump them all into the bottom of the bowl you plan to serve the salad in and give them a quick whisk.

  2. Chop! Here’s how we set it up—you’ve got the dressing in the bottom of the bowl. Set that big salad bowl next to your cutting board and chop an ingredient and add it to the bowl. Chop the next ingredient and add it to the bowl. And on and on and on until that salad bowl is full to the brim!

  3. Toss and serve. YUM!

Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter
Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter

Tools You’ll Need:

More Main Dish Salad Recipes to Try

Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter
Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter

Chop Chop Chop!

Sharpen those knives and chop your way to the best dinner ever! Or at least, one of the best and easiest dinners ever. We hope you adore this chopped salad recipe, and we really want to hear about how it turns out for you! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Italian Chopped Salad

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 399


Italian Dressing

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably labeled “extra-light tasting”
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  • 1 romaine heart, chopped, about 4 cups
  • 1 small head radicchio, cored and chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper
  • 8 to 10 Pepperoncini, thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 12-ounce mini mozzarella balls, drained and halved
  • 1 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 6 to 8 ounces salami, cut into matchsticks
  • ½ cup Pickled red onions
  • 1 ounce fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons


  1. Make the dressing. In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid or a medium bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Vigorously shake or whisk until mixed well.

  2. Make the salad. In a large bowl, combine the romaine, radicchio, tomatoes, bell pepper, pepperoncini, cucumber, both cheeses, olives, salami, onions and basil. Toss gently to combine.

  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well coated. Serve immediately, or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories399
  • Protein16 g
  • Carbohydrates11 g
  • Total Fat32 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol19 mg
  • sodium580 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Italian Chopped Salad

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Pina

    Love all the ingredients and the brightness of this salad!

    We agree! Such a fun recipe. I love it when food looks as good as it tastes!

  • Katie

    This is my go to summer salad recipe and the dressing is to die for!

    Thanks Katie, so glad you love it!

  • lourdes

    I want to thank you for putting out a great salad. The dressing was awesome, not too vinegary and using the mild extra virgin olive oil was a great idea! It was a big hit at our get together last night. Thank you again.

    Thanks Lourdes, we are so happy that you love it!

  • Katie

    I think I've made this three times now?! An awesome salad, we have had it with grilled chicken or even just some bread for dinner. I've made a lot of pickled onions in the past but this recipe and technique are the best!

    Thanks Katie, we are so glad you loved this salad and the pickled onions!

  • Angèle

    Delish salad recipe! Followed it to the letter but left the salami on the side for my veg friends at a dinner party. I was aiming for the most yum salad from your favorite Italian restaurant - this is it!

    Thank you Angèle! So happy everyone enjoyed it!

  • El

    This salad is perfect! I did double up on the garlic, because yeah. So delicious, would not change a thing, well minus adding more garlic.

    Thanks El, so glad you loved it!