This is such a fresh and delicious “recipe” for a Big Italian Salad. It makes a great entrée when you are craving a veggie heavy dinner. Or when you are having a nice Italian dinner or Pasta entrée it makes a killer side dish.
Bonus- I’m including all my favorite salad tips so the yummy bits don’t end up at the bottom of the salad bowl. Read on….
Pictured are the veggies that you need to make your Big Italian Salad. Of course if you like different veggies or have some in your fridge that need to be used up, sub in whatever you like!!
This Homemade Basil Vinaigrette makes the perfect dressing for this salad. But if you have another favorite Italian dressing or store bought dressing you can absolutely sub that in. You will need about 1 cup of dressing plus some extra for serving on the side.
Salad as a Side Dish
This salad makes a great side dish to any Italian Dinner. Here are some main dish ideas for serving this salad:
My number one tip when making just about any salad is to serve it on a platter instead of in a large bowl. When you mix a salad in a bowl all the yummy bits tend to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Then the first person served gets a big plate of lettuce and none of the good stuff!
Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette, then separately toss the veggies. This ensures that everything gets a little bit of the salad dressing.
Don’t over dress the salad. Just coat everything with dressing and then serve extra on the side if needed.
Wait until serving time to toss the salad with the dressing. This is not the time to make-ahead.
Big ‘ol Italian Salad
- 1 head of romaine or green leaf lettuce washed and chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup pitted black olives (or favorite pitted Italian Olives, Castelvetrano olives would be delicious too!!)
- 1 small raw fennel bulb core removed and discarded, halved and sliced thin
- 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in brine drained
- ½ English cucumber sliced
- ½ red onion sliced thin and rinsed under cool water*
- a lot of shaved parmesan cheese
- Seasoned Croutons store bought or homemade
- 1 recipe of Basil Vinaigrette
- Salad Tip! I know we are all used to serving salad in a bowl. BUT try serving this salad on a large platter. That way all the yummy veggies, croutons and cheese don't end up at the bottom of the bowl. Also dress the lettuce and the veggies separate, that way everything gets seasoned.
- In a large bowl toss the romaine with about 3 tablespoon of the Basil Vinaigrette. Then lay on a large serving platter.
- Add all the veggies to the now empty bowl and toss with the remaining dressing.
- Pour the veggies over the salad on the platter.
- Add the croutons and lots of shaved parmesan.
- Serve right away!
- Note- if you like your salad with extra vinaigrette, make a double batch of the Basil Vinaigrette, dress the lettuce with about 3 tbsp, then the veggies with about ½ cup. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.