Fresh, easy and loaded with so much flavor! This is hands down one of my favorite salads & makes such a great weeknight dinner option too!
While I’ve always been a lover of all types of salads, I have to admit… I tend to play favorites. And this loaded Italian salad is definitely one of them! It’s bright and vibrant, made with so many fresh ingredients and it’s flavor is just one zesty and tangy bite after another! Needless to say, we probably have this for dinner at least once…maybe twice every other week. It’s that good loves! And then you add my homemade red wine vinaigrette that is probabaly the easiest dressing in the world to make… Ohhh baby have you got one delicious meal!
- Leafy green lettuce: Any type of green leafy lettuce will work for this recipe. (Just make sure it’s not wilty!)
- Salami: Every good Italian salad needs to have salami! I personally love using Italian dry salami and cutting it into cubes myself but presliced “deli” salami would also work too.
- Pepperoni: Really ups the Italian feel of your salad! (Feel free to use regular pepperoni or turkey pepperoni.)
- Mozzarella balls: Adds some creaminess to your salad to help balance out the tang from your dressing and pepperonicis. (I love using the “pearl” size because they’re small enough that I don’t need to cut them.)
- Tomatoes: I love using cherry or grape tomatoes for this salad because they have so much flavor. Look for ones that are plump and bright red that give slightly when you squeeze them.
- Pepperonicis: Packs a punch of flavor and really gives your salad that zippy (Is “zippy” even a word?!😂) vinegary taste! You can use presliced pepperonicis or buy them whole and slice them yourself.
- Red onion: Adds a little bit of crunch and compliments the rest of your flavors.
- Black olives: I usually buy pre-sliced olives to make it easier.
- Red wine vinaigrette: Ties the whole salad together! (You can use your favorite homemade or store-bought dressing for this. See below for my go-to homemade red wine vinaigette!)
How to make a loaded Italian salad
- Make your red wine vinaigrette and place it in the fridge to chill.
- Then chopped all of the ingredients for your salad (except the cheese) and add them to a large bowl. Remove your vinaigrette from the fridge and drizzle your desired amount over the top. Toss the salad until it’s fully coated in your dressing.
- Serve immediately as is or with your favorite garlic bread!
How to make an easy red wine vinaigrette
This dressing is one of my personal favorites and I love that it’s so simple to make too! You can use it as a dressing for almost any type of green salad or even for an Italian pasta salad too!
- 6 Tbsp olive oil (I like using extra light tasting oil)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Sprinkle of salt, to taste
- Add all of your ingredients to a small jar and shake them together (or whisk them together in a bowl). Keep the dressing stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
- Switch up the salami! Most of the time we’ll use pre-sliced genoa salami for this recipe but feel to use your favorite too! (Ypu can even buy a log of dry salami and cut it yourself if you prefer thicker/bigger pieces.)
- Add some chickpeas or diced cooked chicken for some extra protein. We’ll usually do this if we want a heartier meal. (It’s always a great option for a quick dinner during the week!)
- Replace the mozzarella for shredded parmesan. Adding parmesan cheese really ups the flavor of this salad and brings out all of it’s tangy flavors! (The mozzarella tends to mellow out your flavors and makes the salad more creamy.)
- Add croutons for a little extra crunch! Any type of seasoned or garlic crouton would be perfect with this salad!
I hope you all enjoy this loaded Italian salad just as much as our family does! Have the very best day!
More recipes you might like:
- Avocado, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
- Easy Pizza Pasta Salad
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- Healthy Italian Sub Salad
- Citrus & Pomegranate Kale Salad (One of my most popular recipes on the blog!)
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Loaded Italian Salad
For the salad:
- 6 cups leafy green lettuce (I use green leaf or romaine)
- 4 ounces salami, pre-sliced & quartered
- 4 ounces pepperoni, cut in half
- ¾ cup mozzarella pearls*
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ cup black olives, sliced
- ¼ cup pepperoncini (can be pre-sliced or whole & then sliced)
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
For the red wine vinaigrette:
- 6 Tbsp olive oil (I like using extra light tasting olive oil)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves, miced
- Salt, to taste
To make the red wine vinaigrette:
- Add your dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake them together (or whisk them together in a bowl). Keep the dressing stored in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.
To make the salad:
- Add all of your salad ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss your salad until everything is fully coated and serve immediately.