Italian Chopped Salad with Chicken is loaded with crisp fresh greens, vegetables and protein dressed with a lively vinaigrette you’ll want to drizzle on everything! It’s the perfect salad to have on hand all spring and summer long for a quick lunch or light dinner and can be assembled a day ahead of time!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
With spring’s arrival, we are crazy busy around our house trying to get some cleaning done, the garden planted and just kicking back and trying to enjoy the warmer weather. This salad has been on repeat lately in including this chopped salad recipe!
Italian Chopped Salad with Chicken is loaded with crisp fresh greens, vegetables and protein dressed with a lively vinaigrette! It’s the perfect warm-weather salad!
You’ll love how versatile it is!
- Make it with or without chicken.
- Use canned tuna or salmon instead of chicken.
- Vary the veggies and vary the proteins.
- Use cannellini beans instead of chickpeas.
You get the idea! Let’s make it!
How to Make Italian Chopped Salad with Chicken:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this chopped salad recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:
- Olive Oil: With a dizzying array of all the different types and brands of olive oil at the grocery store, it’s not always easy to select a good one. My favorite brand for everyday usage is California Olive Ranch–either the 100% California or the global blend. Both are considered “medium” which is what you want for this chopped salad recipe. With all the other flavors going on in this chopped salad recipe, anything “robust” or “bold” will be too intense for this recipe. You can also blend a heartier olive oil with something neutral like canola, vegetable or grapeseed.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh is always best!
- Romaine Lettuce: I like to use Romaine in this salad but you can also use red leaf for something more tender or iceberg for something inexpensive.
- Provolone Cheese: Provolone is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese from southern Italy. It is similar to Mozzarella but more intensely flavored. You can substitute Mozzarella if you prefer.
- Pepperoncini: The heat in these peppers can vary. I’ve found brands labeled “mild” can pack some serious heat! So, if you’re spicy-averse, go easy!
- Salami: I used Genoa, but you can also use pepperoni or soppressata which are all widely available in the deli department.
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing and let it sit so the flavors marry while prepping the ingredients for the salad. If you can make it a day ahead of time, all the better!
- MAKE AHEAD: Salad can be assembled 1 day ahead of time without being dressed. Add salad dressing just before serving.
- Toss all the chopped salad ingredients together! That’s it!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- When whisking the dressing, be sure to drizzle the olive oil in slowly so it fully emulsifies.
- Whether you use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or another type of canned bean, you always want to rinse and drain the beans thoroughly. The liquid the beans are canned in can be super salty.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes. Store the dressing and the rest of the salad separately. For the best quality, this salad is best enjoyed within 24 hours. However, it will keep WITHOUT DRESSING for up to three days.
As mentioned above, this salad is super versatile. Use canned tuna or salmon in place of the chicken or leave the meat out altogether. Use red cabbage or radicchio in place of red kale, Mozzarella in place of the Provolone, cannellini beans in place of the chickpeas, use ham instead of salami and vary the veggies.
Make it meal with:
- Spinach Artichoke Squares
- Artichoke Focaccia with Rosemary
- Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Bisque
- Raspberry Ricotta Cake with Almonds
More main course salads you’ll love!
- Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette
- Chicken BLT Salad with Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Chicken Pasta Salad with Spinach Buttermilk Dressing
- Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Spicy Lime Ginger Dressing
Get all my main course salads at Main Course and Dinner Salads – From A Chef’s Kitchen
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Italian Chopped Salad with Chicken
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- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt - to taste
- 1 large heads Romaine lettuce - (or 2 small) chopped
- 1 small bunch red kale - stems removed and chopped
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes - halved
- 8 red radishes - thinly sliced
- 1/2 large red onion - chopped
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups diced cooked chicken
- 6 ounces salami - such as Genoa, pepperoni or soppresseta or chopped (approximately 1 heaping cup)
- 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces Provolone cheese - cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini
- Combine the first 10 ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Set aside or refrigerate while preparing the salad.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl.
- When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad or allow each diner to dress their salad as desired.
- Use canned tuna or salmon in place of the chicken or leave the meat out altogether.
- Use red cabbage or radicchio in place of red kale
- Use Mozzarella in place of the Provolone
- Use cannellini beans in place of the chickpeas
- Use ham instead of salami.
- Vary the veggies!
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.