This Simple Italian Salad with homemade zesty vinaigrette pairs perfectly with any Italian meal. It’s quick and easy and rivals any restaurant. Pair it with cheesy garlic bread to really complete your meal!
Italian salad is our go-to side salad. Not only is it the best salad to serve with Lasagna, but also with Three Cheese Baked Mostaccioli, One-Pot Spaghetti, Cheesy Ravioli Bake or really any pasta dish.
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Simple Italian Salad
Believe it or not but this old recipe has been in my mom’s recipe box for years! We always make it for holiday meals and parties and referred to it as the “Rich and Charlie’s salad” (a St. Louis Italian restaurant for over 50 years). You might also recognize this side salad as a copycat Pasta House salad recipe.
No matter what you call it, once thing always stands true with this Italian salad, it’s one of the best there is out there! Let’s face it, one of the best parts of going to an Italian restaurant is the amazing restaurant-style side salad that really sets the tone for the rest of the meal.
Now you can enjoy your favorite Italian side dish from the comfort of your own, home! Make it any time you want, for whoever you want because this recipe makes enough to feed all your family and friends too!
What’s In A Simple Italian Salad?
LikeI mentioned before, the Italian side salad holds a special place in my heart, so I knew I needed all the ingredients to be spot on before I ever shared the recipe with you guys. With these ingredients, you’ll come as close as you can get the traditional Pasta House or Rich and Charlie’s salad.
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- Hearts of palm, drained and chopped
- Diced pimentos, drained
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Italian Dressing
How To Make A Simple Italian Salad Dressing
The dressing is really one of the best parts of the salad, so I highly recommend taking a few minutes to make it, instead of opting for premade salad dressing. You would think that with as many topping as you have on this salad, that the dressing wouldn’t really matter, but oh it does.
It only takes a few minutes to throw together, and it’s so simple!
What You’ll Need For an Italian salad dressing:
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine olive oil, vinegar, cheese and sugar in a salad cruet or jar with a lid. Secure the lid on the jar and shake until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake again and refrigerate until ready to serve.
What Goes With A Resturant Style Salad?
You are going to absolutely love how versatile this salad really is. It goes with just about any main dish, which means you should have this recipe saved for any occasion. It’s that perfect side salad to accompany all your Italian pasta, chicken or fish dinners, or anything you can think of.
If you’re hosting a dinner party, serve it up as a first course, along with some garlic cheese bread, followed by the main dish, and then a dessert of your choice.
If you’re hosting a buffet-style party, place it on the table along with a few accompanying side dishes like Cheesy Baked Tomatoes, and Asparagus Pasta Salad.
Tips For Making The Best Italian Salad
- Prep and chop all your ingredients first. This way you can just toss everything in instead of stopping every few minutes to go back to the cutting board.
- If you’re preparing this salad recipe in advance, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad or you’ll end up with a soggy salad.
- To switch things up and make it a little more filling, add in some cooked and cooled pasta noodles and turn it inot an italian pasta salad.
- Hearts of palm can be found near the canned artichoke hearts at the grocery store. They don’t have a ton of flavor and can be left out if you’d prefer.
How Long Does A Resturant Style Salad Keep?
Like with any salad, the lettuce doesn’t keep very long, so, while you can make the salad sitghly in advance, it’s not a recipe you can leave sitting in the refrigerator for half the week.
To make ahead of time, add the ingredients to the bowl, cover with a slightly damp paper towel and loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
As mentioned above, be sure you remember to not add the dressing until just about to serve.
More Salad Recipes You’ll Want To Make
– Sweet, salty, cheesy with a hint of lemon and mint. This salad is like summer on a fork! and blows a garden salad out of the water.
Spinach Salad with Apples & Pecans in an Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette – This deliciously flavorful Spinach Salad contains only five ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make. Perfect for lunch or dinner!
Pecan Grilled Chicken Salad – Try this fruity grilled chicken salad for a fresh, fast, and delicious meal any time of day! It’s a healthier version of my favorite O’Charley’s Pecan Chicken Tender Salad
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – This healthy vegetarian quinoa salad makes for a simple lunch or dinner, thanks to staples like roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives and feta from your fridge and pantry.
BBQ Chicken Salad – A flavorful dinner salad recipe that’s off the hook delicious! It’s super easy to make but tastes like it’s straight from a restaurant. It’s sure to become a favorite salad recipe at your house too!
Avocado Bacon Butternut Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette – f there was ever a salad that represented Fall, I truly believe it’s this salad It’s truly a burst of fall flavors in an amazing healthy salad that you can serve with any meal, or for a meal itself.
Tools used to make this simple Italian salad
Salad dressing shaker: Make sure you never have separated, or chunky dressing that’s not properly mixed and use a dressing shaker instead. It will make any homemade dressing taste like it came out of a restaurant.
Salad bowl: A good wooden salad bowl never goes unused in my house. I love having a bowl that’s big enough to serve a large salad and still looks good too.
Salad tongs: You never want to forget to mix your salad up before serving, so make sure you have a good set of salad tongs on hand.
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This simple Italian Salad with homemade zesty vinaigrette pairs perfectly with any Italian meal. It's quick and easy and rivals any restaurant. Pair it with cheesy garlic bread to really complete your meal!
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 (8 or 10 ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 (10 ounce) can of hearts of palm, drained and chopped
- 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Tear up lettuce into a large bowl. Add artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, pimentos, and red onion. Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Combine olive oil, vinegar, cheese and sugar in a salad cruet or jar with a lid. Secure lid on the jar and shake until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake again and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve; shake dressing and pour over salad. Toss and plate.
Hearts of palm can be found near the canned artichoke hearts at the grocery store. They don't have a ton of flavor and can be left out if you'd prefer.
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