Italian Chopped Salad
Published May 18, 2022, Updated Jul 24, 2023
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This Italian chopped salad is packed with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, chickpeas, mozzarella cheese and pepperoncini peppers all tossed in a homemade Italian dressing. It’s vegetarian and can easily be made vegan.
I love all salads, but chopped salads are definitely one of my favorites. I love how all the ingredients are chopped in similar sizes so you get a little bit of everything in one bite!
Recently, I was craving a big Italian salad and realized that I’ve never actually shared a recipe here on EBF, so I’m finally doing it!
You’ll find a lot of the classic Italian salad ingredients in this recipe (like romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella, peperoncini and onion), but I decided to add a few new ingredients like green cabbage for some added crunch and nutrients and chickpeas for a protein boost!
Why You’ll love This Recipe
- This salad is packed full of fresh produce and loaded with flavor.
- All of the ingredients are chopped so you’ll get a little bit of everything in each bite!
- It’s filling enough to be served on its own, but also makes for a great side salad.
- Can easily be customized to include ingredients you have on hand.
- romaine lettuce – the base of this salad! The romaine adds a nice crunch and pairs well with the rest of the ingredients, but you can swap for any leafy green you have on hand if needed. Iceberg lettuce or leaf lettuce would probably be my next choices.
- green cabbage – another base of this salad!
- chickpeas – for some plant-based protein. Try my air fryer chickpeas for extra crunch!
- mozzarella cheese – can’t have Italian salad without cheese! I love the softness and neutral flavor of the cubbed mozzarella, but pearl mozzarella or provolone would be good alternatives. To make this salad vegan, use dairy-free cheese or skip the cheese altogether.
- cucumber – adds a more refreshing crunch.
- parsley – flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley both work well in this recipe. Make sure your bunch of parsley is washed and dried well before chopping it!
- red onion – for a little zest!
- cherry tomatoes – grape tomatoes work as well. I love the sweet flavor explosion that small tomatoes add to this salad.
- pepperoncini peppers – I love the tangy and sweet peppery taste the pepperoncini peppers add to this salad!
- Italian dressing – I love topping this salad with my homemade Italian dressing.
How to Make Italian Chopped Salad
This salad is so easy to whip up. Once your dressing is made and veggies are chopped this salad comes together in a matter of minutes!
Make dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Or add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake to combine.
Prepare salads: Place romaine in a large bowl, top with cabbage, chickpeas, mozzarella, cucumbers, parsley, red onion, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini peppers. Portion salad into bowls for serving. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!
I topped this salad with a zesty homemade Italian dressing. It’s a mixture of red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and various seasonings. This dressing pairs perfectly with this salad.
If you don’t have the ingredients on hand for this homemade dressing, you can also use your favorite store-bought dressing. This Primal Kitchen Italian Vinaigrette would be my first pick for a store-bought option. It’s sugar-free, dairy-free and is made with avocado oil instead of canola or vegetable oil.
Customize Your Salad
This salad is completely customizable! Here are some suggestions for variations and substitutions:
- Switch up the greens – if you’re not a fan of romaine, feel free to use your favorite lettuce or leafy green instead.
- Use different veggies – have different veggies on hand? Toss them in!
- Add olives – green or black olives would be a great addition to this salad.
- Make this dairy-free and vegan – simply skip the mozzarella (or use a vegan option).
- Add more protein – chop up salami and toss it in this salad for an added protein boost!
- Switch up the dressing – craving a different dressing? This red wine vinaigrette, white balsamic vinaigrette, creamy balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette dressing would be delicious on this salad!
- Add fresh herbs – I love adding fresh herbs to my salads. Fresh oregano or fresh basil would both be delicious in this salad.
With the chickpeas and mozzarella, this Italian chopped salad is filling enough to be eaten as a meal on its own. Pair it with a side of fresh bread (like this homemade sourdough) for a light lunch or top it with a protein (like this apple cider vinegar chicken or air fryer salmon) for a meal-sized salad to enjoy for dinner.
It also makes for a great side salad. Here are some recipes that would be delicious with it:
- Penne alla Vodka
- Healthy Chicken Parmesan
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Tempeh Veggie Burgers
- Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
- Vegetable Soup
- One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- Spaghetti Squash Baked Feta Pasta
Meal Prepping This Salad
This salad is super simple to throw together in the moment, but you can also meal prep it in advance so you have a simple salad on hand throughout the week.
To make this salad in advance, I would add all your ingredients to a large airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store your dressing separately in a small airtight container. I use these 8 oz mason jars and plastic lids for storing so I can easily shake to re-mix the ingredients before serving.
More Salad Recipes to Try
- Mediterranean Salmon Salad
- Blackened Chicken Cobb Salad
- Strawberry Salad
- Easy Spinach Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Lemon Orzo Salad
- Vegan Cobb Salad
- Greek Salad
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Tuna, Broccoli and Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
- Bella Hadid Salad
- Antipasto Salad
Be sure to check out the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!
Italian Chopped Salad
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce, about 3-4 cups, finely chopped
- 2 cups green cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup chopped mozzarella cheese, ¼ inch chunks
- 3 mini cucumbers, about 1 ½ cups, chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- ⅓ cup Pepperoncini peppers, drained well and finely chopped
- Dried oregano, for serving
- Italian Dressing
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Or add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Place romaine in a large mixing bowl, top with cabbage, chickpeas, mozzarella, cucumbers, parsley, red onion, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini peppers.
- Portion salad into bowls for serving. You can drizzle the dressing over the salad (start with half and add more as desired), taste and add more dressing if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with oregano and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.