When it is hot and we have been outside all day the last thing you want is hot food. It is also when garden fresh vegetables are ripe for the picking. These two combinations are the reason for this Italian antipasto salad I created on a hot summer day. While this is an antipasto salad, it definitely is hearty enough to be a dinner salad with all the meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
Italian antipasto salad is a hearty dinner salad with a romaine lettuce base and filled up with salami, pepperoni, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and cheese dressed with homemade Italian dressing.
Italian Antipasto Salad Recipe Ingredients
The great thing about this salad is you can add or remove the ingredients based on what you like. If you don't like artichoke hearts, leave them out. If you love olives of every color, add more olives. For me, I use the following ingreidents:
- Italian Meats - All the cured meats from Italy are perfect for this salad. This can include large slices of pepperoni, salami, ham, prosciutto, and more.
- Vegetables - tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions. If I had mushrooms and bell peppers I would have added them too.
- Pickled vegetables - I did have a can of banana pepper rings which add great tangy flavors with the olives.
- Cheese - Top off with your favorite Italian style cheese or shredded parmesan.
- Lettuce - Romaine lettuce that has been chopped is the perfect lettuce for this antipasto salad.
How to Make Antipasto Salad?
Chop the romaine lettuce up and put in the bottom of a large bowl. Chop up the remaining fresh vegetables and place on top of the lettuce. Place the canned or jarred veggies on the lettuce as well. Slice up the meat and finish off the salad before adding the cheese.
Toss the Italian Antipasto Salad together. Then top the Italian Salad off with the shredded cheese. You can toss to combine before making the Italian Salad Dressing to finish the salad.
Homemade Italian Salad Dressing
The salad dressing is what makes the salad taste so much like the Olive Garden salad. It is easy to toss together and no reason to buy Italian dressing.
This homemade Italian salad dressing is so simple to put together and marries the flavors of this salad perfectly. Homemade Italian Salad dressing combines simple tangy red wine vinegar and lemon juice with Dijon mustard and olive oil with Italian herbs and seasonings for a simple homemade dressing recipe. Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise to make it a creamy Italian Dressing.
I don't know why I don't make homemade salad dressings more often. This dressing was so simple and used ingredients I have on hand. Start by mixing the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard together in a small jar. To the vinegar and oil add Italian herb seasonings, onion powder, garlic salt, and cracked pepper. Shake to combine and pour over the salad. If you want a slightly creamy Italian dressing, add a tablespoon of mayonnaise to the ingredients.
Toss the antipasto salad to coat completely with the Italian dressing. Serve with croutons or keep them off if you are eating keto or low-carb. This salad is the perfect keto salad to eat!
Variations to Italian Lettuce Salad
Whether it is craving the Olive Garden salad or just looking for a simple variation to this Italian lunch meat-filled salad, here are some great ways to change it up.
- Copy Cat Olive Garden Salad - Make this salad resemble everyone's favorite side salad by just adding red onion, tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, and black olives to the romaine lettuce. Top with the Italian cheese of your choice.
- Italian Salad with Chicken - Grill up my favorite lemon basil chicken recipe and add to this salad in place of the Italian meats.
- Grinder Salad - Make the grinder salad by making the Italian coleslaw dressing mix and adding it to this salad.
Easy Dinner Salad Recipes
A simple salad recipe can add fresh vegetables to every meal. Here are a few of our favorite salad recipes.
Antipasto Salad Pairings
Italian Antipasto Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
Italian Antipasto Salad
- 2 heads heart of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 4 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 4 ounces pepperoni and salami, chopped
- 8 ounces deli ham, sliced
- ⅓ cup banana pepper rings
- ½ cup artichoke hearts, chopped
- ¼ cup olives, green, black, or kalamata olives, chopped
- ½ whole red onion, sliced
- 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
Homemade Italian Dressing
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Tuscan Sunset Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Place the chopped lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl like a trifle bowl. Top off with the remaining ingredients for the salad.
- Toss to combine.
- In a small jar with a lid, combine the salad dressing ingredients.
- Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine.
- Pour over the salad and toss to completely coat the salad.
- May serve with croutons if not eating low carb.
Linked up at Meal Plan Monday.