This easy and delicious Chopped Italian Salad is packed with bold flavors making a great light lunch or a side dish to accompany your favorite Italian meal.
Apparently, California Pizza Kitchen has a famous Italian Chopped Salad that the masses are raving about. Since I don't have a CPK in my area, I decided to re-create the salad making a few changes such as eliminating the chickpeas to keep the salad low-carb and eliminating the lettuce because I don't particularly like soggy chopped salads. My Italian Chopped Salad recipe combines a bunch of hearty and nutritious vegetables, adding in some pepperoni for protein, and then tossing it all in a simple light 4-ingredient dressing that allows the flavors of the salad ingredients to really shine. This salad is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb and keto and can easily be made vegan by swapping chickpeas for the pepperoni.
Here's what you need to make a Chopped Italian Salad:
- English cucumber
- any color bell pepper
- red onion
- grape tomatoes
- banana peppers
- black olives
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Here's how to make a Chopped Italian Salad:
Dice the cucumber, red onion, bell pepper and pepperoni. Halve the grape tomatoes and slice the basil into strips.
To make the salad dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Add the chopped cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, pepperoni, tomatoes, basil, olives and banana peppers to the bowl.
Toss everything until well-coated and serve or refrigerate up to 3 hours prior to serving.
Hint: Wash your fruits and vegetables when you get home from the store before storing them in the fridge to help make this salad come together even fast when you're ready to prepare it.
Want to substitute an ingredient in this Chopped Italian Salad? Here's how:
- Pepperoni - use salami or a different Italian meat in place of the pepperoni.
- Lemon juice - use 3 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
- English cucumber - use a regular cucumber in place of the English cucumber, just peel it prior to chopping.
- Grape tomatoes - use an equal amount of cherry tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes.
- Any of the veggies - leave out any of the vegetables and replace them with quartered artichoke hearts, shredded romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes or sliced hearts of palm.
Try one of these variations of a Chopped Italian Salad:
- Deluxe - add sliced provolone cheese or balls of baby mozzarella cheese to your salad to take it up a notch.
- Vegan - replace the pepperoni with a can of drained chickpeas to make your salad vegan.
This equipment comes in handy when making an Italian Chopped Salad:
This salad is best when eaten within 3 hours of mixing it all together. You can however prep and chop the ingredients storing them separately in airtight containers up to 3 days prior to assembling the salad.
To meal prep this salad, mix the salad ingredients together and divide it into individual containers. Then, mix the dressing together, pouring it into individual cups to store with the salad. Store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Toss the dressing with the salad just before serving.
A chopped Italian salad can have a variety of ingredients. Usually some form of salad green such as chopped romaine. Then, at least one Italian meat such as pepperoni or salami. One Italian cheese such as provolone or mozzarella. And a variety of other toppings such as tomatoes, black olives, artichoke hearts, banana peppers or red onion.
The difference between a chopped salad and a regular salad is that in a chopped salad, all the ingredients are chopped into small bite-size pieces.
Looking for other easy salad recipes like this? Try these:
Serve this Chopped Italian Salad with one of these dinner recipes for a balanced meal the whole family will love:
Chopped Italian Salad
- Dice the cucumber, red onion, bell pepper and pepperoni. Halve the grape tomatoes and slice the basil into strips.
- To make the salad dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Add the chopped cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, pepperoni, tomatoes, basil, olives and banana peppers to the bowl.
- Toss everything until well-coated and serve or refrigerate up to 3 hours prior to serving.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods