Italian Salad is fresh and filled with crisp lettuce, ripe juicy tomatoes, olives, onions and of course zesty pepperoncinis. We add in a simple homemade Italian vinaigrette for the perfect crisp Italian salad!
This salad is perfect served alongside our favorite Italian inspired dishes from Easy Chicken Parmesan to Chicken Piccata (or top it with Oven Baked Chicken Breasts for a complete meal). Don’t forget to add in a side of focaccia bread (with olive oil for dipping).
When we go for Italian, one of the things I look forward to the most is endless bowls of fresh Italian Salad. Up there with a fresh Greek salad, this Italian salad recipe is one of my favorite fresh side dishes!
To turn this into an Italian pasta salad, add in some cooked and cooled cheese tortellini or penne! We serve this with an easy Italian vinaigrette dressing (below) but you can use any dressing you’d like from Blue Cheese Dressing to homemade ranch dressing!
How to Make Italian Salad
To make ahead of time, add the ingredients to the bowl (except croutons) and don’t cut the tomatoes. Cover with a slightly damp paper towel and loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Tearing the lettuce leaves (rather than cutting) prevents the salad from wilting or bruising as quickly if you’re preparing this salad in advance (if you’re serving it right away, cutting is just fine)
To make Italian salad:
- Wash and dry the lettuce and radicchio and tear into pieces. .
- Prep the rest of the fresh ingredients
- Prepare the Italian Dressing
- Toss everything together and serve.
If you’re preparing this salad recipe in advance, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad or it may become soggy!
How to Make Italian Salad Dressing
Homemade Italian dressing just takes a few minutes and a few ingredients. It can be stored in your fridge for up to 2 weeks, so it’s perfect if you need to make quick weeknight salads!
You can find my favorite homemade Italian dressing recipe here. To make Italian salad dressing you’ll simply need to combine oil with vinegar and seasonings. Oil and vinegar (or vinaigrette) dressings can separate it’s important you include the teaspoon of dijon or a bit of honey (or even an egg yolk like in Caesar Salad dressing) to keep the mixture from separating.
Italian Salad Dressing
Combine the following in a mason jar and shake well. Shake before serving as ingredients may settle. Printable recipe and details for Italian Salad Dressing can be found here.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or use half olive oil, half vegetable oil)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon (or 1 very small clove) garlic, optional
More Easy Salads
- Waldorf Salad – Classic!
- The BEST Chicken Salad
- Easy Kale Salad – Reader favorite!
- Fresh Tomato Salad – Fresh and easy!
- Creamy Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Classic Wedge Salad – Delicious and simple.
- 8 cups lettuce romaine or iceberg
- 2 cups radicchio
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup seasoned croutons
- ½ cup black olives pitted
- 6 pepperoncini peppers
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese or to taste, shredded
- ½ cup Italian dressing homemade or store bought
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs parsley or basil
- Wash and dry lettuce and radicchio.
- Add remaining ingredients along with dressing to taste.
- Top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)