This Italian Salad Recipe doesn’t just have a great texture – it also provides wonderful flavor combinations of tangy and mildly bitter, with a hint of salt and sweetness that will leave you wanting more.
I recently had a conversation with a colleague about when salads should be served: before or after the main course?
A seafood salad is undoubtedly the best appetizer salad and an Italian Potato Salad is a great side salad dish.
My Italian upbringing dictated that green salad recipes are served at the end of a (big) meal… before the onslaught of cheese, fruit and desserts.
What about you?
Do you have a preference?
When do you serve this Italian salad?
During the same conversation, my colleague and I discussed easy vs. complicated recipes.
I don’t know about you, but I like to have a balance between the two when hosting, especially during the holidays.
The presence of easy recipes gives me a sense of security and creates an illusion that I have everything under control 😉 And nothing can be easier than a salad like this one.
I can also assure you that it does not get any tastier than this tossed Italian salad. It’s so good that you always manage to have a few extra bites of it even after a large meal.
As in most salad recipes, you must combine the actual salad and the dressing.
I like to combine the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, shake it vigorously, refrigerate it, and forget about it until I am ready to dress my salad. I will usually prepare the salad dressing the day before the big event.
As far as the actual salad recipe is concerned, I like to use a mixture of greens such as romaine, radicchio and endive.
I think everyone is familiar with romaine lettuce.
But what about these white-veined purplish leaves?
Radicchio belongs to the chicory family and has a distinctive, slightly bitter taste. According to Wikipedia, the vegetable can be traced back to the fifteenth century in Italy’s Veneto region. Radicchio is extremely pleasing to look at, and it’s a slightly healthier green than, say, iceberg lettuce!
As far as the endive is concerned, it also belongs to the chicory family. It is equally crispy, providing a slightly bitter taste, but is much nuttier than the radicchio. These veggies will provide you with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and even a little fiber.
You are probably familiar with the rest of the salad ingredients. I want to bring your attention to just two others. The first is the Roasted Garlic Cloves. It is an easy recipe to make and a game-changer as far as taste is concerned.
The second is the ricotta salata. As you probably know, ricotta is a sheep milk cheese. Unlike its fresh, moist and wet counterpart, homemade ricotta Cheese, Ricotta Salata is an aged, pressed cheese whose final product has a crumbly yet firm texture, with a salty, almost tangy flavor.
It is great to use in salads as it perfectly complements the greens’ bitterness. You should be able to find this cheese in your specialty cheese shop.
I will usually toss all the salad ingredients together. Then, when the time is right, pour the dressing over the top, toss and plate. Serve with a piece of nice crusty bread. Whole wheat, of course!
Along with this Refreshing Italian Fennel Citrus Salad, this was one of my Mom’s signature salads. Both of these salads are so ridiculously easy to put together. As a bonus, they are definite crowd-pleasers.
This Italian green salad will give you and your guests a colorful and tasty way to end any meal. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this Italian chopped salad recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Italian Salad Recipe
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 oven roasted garlic cloves minced and smashed into a paste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- generous pinch of pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 large head romaine lettuce washed, dried and chopped
- 1 head radicchio washed, dried and chopped
- 1 head endive washed, dried and chopped
- ¼ cup parsley fresh, finely chopped
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves fresh, torn up
- 1 small cucumber chopped
- 1 celery rib chopped (I also chop about 1 tablespoon of the celery leaves)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped in half (about 1 large handful)
- ½ cup pitted green olives
- ½ cup crumbled Ricotta Salata in a pinch, can substitute with feta cheese
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar.
- Cover and shake vigorously.
- Refrigerate until ready to be used (I will usually make the dressing the day before I need it).
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the salad ingredients.
- Toss to combine.
- Shake the dressing one final time before pouring over your salad.
- Toss well.
- Transfer to your serving platter.
- Serve immediately.
Very similar to our family salad, always served at the end of our meal. My friends still don’t understand. After Sunday dinner eating it on the same plate mixing with the bit of leftover sauce from the pasta.
Yes! I can totally relate to this comment Marianne ♥ Thank you!
I’ve been making this salad for the last year or so and it has become a favorite. Thank you so much for a delicious salad and salad dressing!
My pleasure Elaine! Thanks for taking the time to share!
It’s only 7 am here in Colorado but looking through this recipe first thing as I have my coffee, you have got me drooling for some! I most definitely will pick up the fresh greens for later today and try it!
lol… thanks so much Autumn. Enjoy!
Had lots of radicchio and I’m so glad I found this recipe.
It was simply perfect! Thank you!
Fantastic Nella! Glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate it!
Thank you so much for posting this. My fiance declared that this was the best salad he ever had in his life!
Fantastic Amy! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, truly appreciate it ♥
This is my kind of salad! Lovely, delicious and so nutritious! Loved seeing the use of radicchio, together with romaine and endive, and also ricotta salata. No cucumbers, for me, though, but that’s my personal taste 🙂 . I’ve always known that the salad has to be enjoyed at the end of the meal or as a side to the “secondo”. I’ve never seen anyone in Italy starting with a salad, unless it is in antipasto form (like insalata di mare with seafood). Pinned it, so beautiful!
Thank-you Nicoletta! We are so lucky to have so much wonderful produce in the dead of winter… Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
Always after the meal…no question. That being said this salad is a meal in and of itself and your instructions for preparing it as part of a large meal are spot on.
Thanks so much Paula. I just love salads. In my mind I am already planning my summer garden… can’t wait! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂
Sonia and mom
My dear Mary and family thinking about you and wishing you all health ❤️ ✌???? thanks for the greatest recipes and your wonderful precious memories of your loving family god bless
Thank you so much Sonia and mom ♥♥♥