My amazing mom has been making this amazing salad for as long as I can remember. It’s her go-to salad for good reason – the whole family loves it. Mom’s salad is inspired by the delicious house salad from a long-standing Italian joint in my hometown of St. Louis, Pasta House Company.
What makes this salad so special is the marinating technique. Lots of chopped goodies, like olives and artichoke hearts, are combined with an Italian vinaigrette for at least 15 minutes before tossing with sweet romaine lettuce. While marinating, the veggies absorb the flavorful dressing and become juicy morsels of delicious-ness. Epic.
Before serving, toss the veggies and vinaigrette with the chopped lettuce and some parmesan cheese. Just a few simple steps and less than 30 minutes of effort, and you’ve got an irresistible salad that few can turn down. You don’t even need the parmesan cheese to love this salad, so for vegans and dairy-free peeps, this is also a perfect go-to Italian salad.
You can use your favorite Italian dressing for this salad, or use my simple Italian vinaigrette recipe, included below. I obviously recommend my vinaigrette because it’s super tasty and a good recipe to know for a variety of culinary needs. Plus, I always have everything I need to make it stocked in my kitchen. And on that note, I also try to keep the canned/jarred artichoke hearts, olives, hearts of palm and pimentos used in this salad consistently stocked so that all I need to worry about when a craving strikes is grabbing some fresh lettuce (and maybe some parm cheese). Net net, there’s a whole lot to love about this salad. It’s easy, convenient, crowd-pleasing, dietary-restriction-friendly and, most importantly, totally yum. Thanks, mom!
Mom’s Classic Italian Chopped Salad
Serves: 4-6 Start to Finish: 30 minutes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, peeled & roughly chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
14-oz can artichoke hearts, liquid drained, cut into quarters and roughly chopped
14-oz can hearts of palm, liquid drained, chopped
5-oz sliced black or green olives
4-oz jar pimentos (don’t drain liquid)
2 large romaine hearts, washed & chopped
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional, omit if dairy-free/vegan)
Using an immersion blender or blender, blend all dressing ingredients except oil. With blender running, slowing drizzle in olive oil until dressing is fully blended. Set aside.
Prep artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, olives and pimentos. Add to a prep bowl or a 4-cup mason jar/container. Poor dressing over vegetables and stir/shake to fully coat. Allow vegetables to marinate for at least 15 minutes (or up to a few days).
About 10-15 minutes before serving, toss lettuce with marinated vegetables/vinaigrette. I like to hold back some of the vinaigrette to control how much goes on, but if you’re gutsy, add it all in at one time. Toss with parmesan cheese, reserving a few tablespoons for sprinkling on top, if desired. Season with more salt & pepper to taste.