Maggie’s 15-minute Italian Chopped Salad

Appetizers & Side Dishes

Enjoy this super fresh and delicious Italian Chopped Salad inspired by one of my favorite restaurants here in Chicago that looks beautiful as a starter on your table and comes together easily in just 15 minutes.

Italian Chopped Salad

Beautifully colored with purple hues and a bright green base of romaine, this Italian chopped salad is fresh, flavorful and absolutely hits the spot as a starter salad on your table. It would be perfect paired with pasta or any other protein like chicken, steak or fish and special enough for Valentine’s Day at home or any other date night in situation when you want to make something slightly elevated.

What I love most about this salad is the variety of flavors that come together in every bite to make it delicious. The crisp crunchiness from the romaine is topped with salty olives, salami, spicy red onion and pepperoncini, cool tomatoes and chickpeas and topped with a creamy red wine vinaigrette that brings it all together.

Inspired by one of my favorite restaurants here in Chicago called Alla Vita, this recipe is a spin on their incredibly fresh and delicious chopped salad that is a must anytime I’m getting dinner there. My version has chickpeas that perfectly complement the rest of the salad toppings for some added plant-based protein and fiber.

Maybe you’ve had the California Pizza Kitchen Italian chopped salad which is a similar take on this Italian chopped salad too. There’s has added turkey and basil which you could definitely also add to my version.

I love that my version of the Italian chopped salad comes together quickly in just 15 minutes yet feels like a fancy salad from a trendy Italian restaurant you just made at home. Wow your guests, your partner or just yourself with how easy it is to make and how delicious it turns out!

Easy Italian Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad Ingredients

  • Romaine Lettucecrunchy and cool, romaine is going to complement the radicchio so well to make up the base of this salad.
  • Radicchio this beautiful purple leaf vegetable adds so much depth of flavor and color to this salad — don’t skip it!
  • Grape Tomatoesa must on any Italian salad, I like using little grape tomatoes in this recipe the best.
  • Red Onionthinly sliced red onion adds to the beautiful purple colors in the salad and gives it crunch and a little bit of spiciness.
  • Chickpeaschickpeas give this salad more fiber and plant-based protein. They go so well with the other ingredients in this salad.
  • Pepperonciniit wouldn’t be an Italian salad without these tangy yellow peppers.
  • Kalamata Olivesolives add more healthy fat and saltiness to balance out the flavors.
  • Salamiyou could definitely sub for turkey pepperoni if that’s more your style.
  • Parmesan Cheese spring for the good parmesan for this salad — bonus points for grating it from a block of parmesan Olive Garden style.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Equipment / Utensils

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • mixing/serving bowl
  • small bowl
  • whisk or fork
  • salad scissors (totally optional but these help give you a perfectly chopped, chopped salad!)
Italian chopped salad ingredients

Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

You can feel good knowing this chopped salad is balanced with sources of health fat, fiber and protein, but if you’re looking to make this chopped salad more of a main dish salad I recommend adding more protein like chicken or salmon. This would give it a bit more staying power for a more filling option.

Another option? Add avocado. Upping the healthy fat of this recipe would also give it more staying power as a main dish.

There is a lot of talk about boring salads out there and I have to say this one is the exact opposite of boring. The flavors are bold and satisfying and it’s the perfect complement to pasta or any protein dish. And the best part is it comes together quickly in 15 minutes or less. Win, win!

Italian Chopped Salad Dressing

The dressing for this special salad is definitely truly the cherry on top. It’s creamy, bright and tangy and super easy to make. Simply whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, dried oregano, garlic powder, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper until smooth and creamy.

You could definitely make this dressing ahead of time, pop it into the fridge and dress the salad when you’re ready to eat it!

Make a Chopped Salad Sandwich

Another fun way I’ve been enjoying this salad is chopped up on a piece of toasted sourdough — it’s like eating salad on a big crouton and honestly I may never eat it another way. The crunch from the bread paired with the salad flavors covered with the creamy Italian dressing is truly next level!

For inspiration, you can see exactly how I made it here and adding chicken or avocado would give it more staying power that makes for a great lunch.

Make a Italian Pasta Salad

To make this chopped salad into a pasta salad, sub the romaine lettuce for pasta of your choice. I recommend Jovial Foods gluten free pasta if you’re looking for a gluten free pasta option. In my opinion, bow tie pasta is the best for pasta salads so I always grab a box for that reason. Depending on how much pasta salad you make you may need a little more dressing.

Once you’ve tossed it all together, stash it in the fridge so it gets nice and cold and the flavors have a chance to marinate!

Italian Chopped Salad

Maggie’s 15-minute Italian Chopped Salad

Enjoy this super fresh and delicious Italian Chopped Salad inspired by one of my favorite restaurants here in Chicago that looks beautiful as a starter on your table and comes together easily in just 15 minutes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • cutting board
  • knife
  • Serving Bowl
  • small bowl
  • Whisk/Fork


  • 4 cups romaine lettuce (roughly 3 stalks)
  • 1 cup radicchio, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced
  • 4 oz. salami, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese + more for serving

Creamy Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 juice of half a lemon
  • 2-3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  • Chop and wash the lettuce and radicchio using a salad spinner. Add to a serving bowl.
  • Slice tomatoes, red onion, olives and pepperoncini. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and slice the salami into thin strips.
  • Add all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl or jar and whisk until well combined.
  • Add all of the toppings onto the lettuce and radicchio and top with half of the parmesan. Add the dressing, toss and top with remaining parmesan and freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!


You could definitely make this salad ahead of time just don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve it. 
Keyword chopped salad, Italian Chop Salad, Italian chopped salad dressing, what does a chop salad contain

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