This Italian Salad Recipe doesn’t just have a great texture – it also provides the 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 of mine about when salads should be served: before, or after, the main course?
My Italian upbringing dictated that green salad recipes are served at the end of a (big) meal… before the onslaught of cheese, fruit and, of course, desserts.
What about you?
Do you have a preference?
When do you serve this Italian salad?
During the same conversation, my colleague and I also 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 put together two parts: 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?
Well, 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 a lot nuttier than the radicchio. Both of these veggies will provide you with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and even a little bit of 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 really is an easy recipe to make, and it is 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 complements the bitterness from the greens perfectly. 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 provide you and your guests with 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
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 oven roasted garlic cloves minced and smashed into a paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 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
- 1/4 cup parsley washed, dried and finely chopped
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves washed, dried and torn up
- 1 small cucumber washed, dried and chopped
- 1 celery rib washed, dried and chopped (I also chop about 1 tablespoon of the celery leaves)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes washed, dried and chopped in half (about 1 large handful)
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- 1/2 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.