This Italian Chopped Salad will give your favorite restaurant’s version a run for its money! Loaded with crisp lettuce, tangy olives, garbanzo beans, hearty meats, and plenty of cheese, it’s topped with a homemade tahini vinaigrette that adds a unique Middle Eastern twist. Serve it solo or with your favorite sides for a healthy meal that will knock everyone’s socks off.

Overhead image of a bowl of Italian chopped salad.

What Is the History of Italian Chopped Salad? 

Also known as a La Scala chopped salad, the original Italian chopped salad recipe was created in the late 1950s by Jean Leon at Ritzy La Scala, his restaurant in Beverly Hills. A well-known upscale establishment, Leon’s restaurant was known for serving the Hollywood elite. 

As a result, it is said that the salad was born out of a need to accommodate the well-dressed diners. So, in an effort to make salad easier and less messy to eat, it was chopped into tiny pieces. 

Regardless of whether this origin story is true, the salad quickly exploded in popularity and became a staple in celebrity diets. Today, the restaurant is still serving its original Italian chop salad, and the recipe remains wildly popular across the United States! 

What Is This Italian Chopped Salad Recipe Made Of? 

For our homemade chopped Italian salad recipe, we stuck to the original basic ingredients and added a slight twist for a hint of Mediterranean flare! Here’s what you need:  

For the Salad

  • Lettuce – This forms the base of the salad. Romaine lettuce is best, but any greens you like can be used. 
  • Olives – Briny and full of healthy fats, these add a satisfying zing of flavor. 
  • Tomatoes – We recommend using grape tomatoes because they have a sweeter flavor and sturdier texture than larger tomato varieties. 
  • Garbanzo Beans – Also known as garbanzo beans, these add some plant-based protein to the salad. 
  • Pepperoncini – Sweet, mild peppers that are often served pickled. 
  • Artichoke Hearts – Find these in the canned vegetable section of your local grocery store. 
  • Cucumber – Use burpless cucumbers with small seeds and thin skin like English or Persian cucumbers. 
  • Red Onion – Slice them super thinly. 
  • Meat – Include beef salami or summer sausage for a salty, hearty protein source that transforms this salad into a meal. 
  • Cheese – For the best results, use fresh parmesan cheese, and grate it yourself. Feel free to omit it completely to make this Italian chop salad dairy-free.  
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley adds a hint of peppery flavor that pairs wonderfully with the rest of the ingredients. 

For the Dressing

  • Tahini – Not found in your typical Italian chopped salad recipe, we love the earthy, nutty flavor that tahini adds! 
  • Olive Oil – Used to form the base of the dressing. 
  • Red Wine Vinegar – Adds a sweet, sharp taste that cuts through the heaviness of the fats. 
  • Dijon Mustard – Make sure it’s Dijon and not yellow mustard! 
  • Seasonings – Dried oregano, salt, and pepper create a savory taste. 
  • Garlic – Whole, fresh cloves work best. 
  • Lime Juice – Just a squeeze helps add a hint of citrus that creates a refreshing taste. 
Ingredients for an Italian chopped salad recipe in a bowl waiting to be combined.

Slice, Combine, Eat! How to Make the Best Chopped Italian Salad Recipe

This salad comes together in a matter of minutes and couldn’t be any easier to make! 

  1. Prepare the Dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. 
  2. Combine the Salad. Add all the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Serve. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine and coat the ingredients. Enjoy right away! 
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Flavor Variations

There are endless variations on the classic Italian chop salad. So, feel free to experiment and make this recipe your own! 

  • Cheese – Swap out the parmesan for fresh mozzarella or provolone. 
  • Herbs – Replace the parsley with fresh basil or cilantro instead. 
  • Protein – Add to or replace the protein with options like grilled shrimp, shredded chicken, or hard-boiled eggs. 
  • Extras – Boost the flavor even more with the addition of ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, nuts, seeds, or croutons. 
  • Dressing – Replace the dressing with any other store-bought or homemade version you like best. 
A fork in a bowl of dressed Italian chopped salad.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is a complete, filling meal on its own. However, if you’re feeding a large crowd or want to really go all out, try pairing it with any number of sides, appetizers, and main courses like: 

Common Questions About This Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

Can I make this recipe ahead of time? 

We do not recommend making this salad ahead of time as it it likely to become soggy. However, you can prepare the dressing and store it in the fridge for up to one week. Just give it a good shake before adding it to the salad. 

How do you cut salad for an Italian chopped salad? 

The easiest way to make the perfect chopped salad is with a salad cutter

How do you keep a chopped salad from turning brown? 

The use of lime juice will help keep the salad fresh. However, there is no way to avoid salads turning brown if they aren’t enjoyed right away. 

More Satisfying Salad Recipes

Searching for more savory salads? We have you covered with these super simple salads that are chock-full of flavor.  

A bowl of Italian chopped salad.

Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Make this easy Italian chopped salad for a flavor-loaded meal that’s full of nutrients and guaranteed to satisfy your guests!

Ingredients  

Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons tahini paste stirred
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large garlic clove finely minced or pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Italian Chopped Salad

  • 6 cups Romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini thinly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup English cucumber diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 4-6 ounces beef salami or summer sausage
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese freshly shredded*
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk all the salad ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  • Add all the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and toss to combine.
  • Pour the prepared dressing over the salad, and toss to combine and coat the ingredients
  • Serve immediately!

Notes

*Omit the cheese for a dairy-free recipe. 

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Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1436mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7105IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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