Take everything you love about Italian antipasto or a charcuterie board and chop it up into a salad! A big glug of zesty Italian dressing gets poured over chopped antipasto salad chock full of salami, soppressata, picante provolone cheese and crispy veggies. This main course salad is one to whip up for game day or an easy weeknight meal.
Throwing together a big, huge salad for dinner is one of my favorite things to eat. Seriously, if I had my way, we'd have salad for dinner probably 3 nights a week. I'm not talking greens in a bowl (although I will never turn up my nose to a bright green arugula salad - ever).
I'm talking salads that are packed full of meats, cheeses, farro or pasta, crunchy veggies, and a really luscious, mouth-puckering, vinegar-heavy dressing.
Which is why I call salads like this super impressive antipasto chopped salad "main course salads". They are —and rightly so— always the star of the show.
And they'll fill you and your people up.
The beginnings of a great antipasto salad start here
There are a few things about this Italian antipasto salad that we need to talk about:
- Don't be alarmed that the the measurements for the salad itself are a little loosey-goosey. What that means is you can add more or less of each ingredient to your liking. (Don't worry - the dressing measurements are on point. It's so good you just might want to drink it or maybe just dunk some really crispy focaccia bread in it.)
- Your favorite chef's knife is going to get a little workout because there's some chopping and slicing that's going to be happening. And that's okkkkkkk!
Not your typical Italian antipasto salad
I set out to create an antipasto chopped salad recipe that was a little different than the usual pepperoncini and salami salads (not that there's anything wrong with those).
Instead, I went for a variety of flavors and textures:
Sharp. Brought by the sharpest provolone or fontinella you can find. I love the Picante Provolone from Boar's Head you can get at the deli (or in the linked charcuterie pack) and pretty much always have it in my deli drawer.
Briny. In case you haven't met them in my mediterranean farro salad, allow me to introduce you to lupini beans. They're bright gold in color and have a firm texture with a great briny flavor that is perfect in this salad. And they're great to snack on!
Crispy. Chopped up celery and shredded romaine bring the crispy, crunchy texture.
Savory. Thanks to thin slices of savory salami and spicy sopressata, a big handful of rich sun dried tomatoes and finally crispy diced pancetta.
Sweet and spicy. It wouldn't be an antipasto salad without a little sweet heat. And banana peppers and sweet cherry peppers totally bring them both! (And they both come in mild, sweet and hot versions!)
How to make antipasto chopped salad
Chopped salad tips
Make ahead and storage hints
To make ahead: Chop up and prep ingredients and dressing up to 2 days ahead. Store each ingredient in its own container or plastic bag and refrigerate. Assemble the salad per the recipe.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container up to 3 days.
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Antipasto Salad with Zesty Italian Dressing
For the salad
- 3 oz package of pancetta
- 1 large head fresh romaine
- 4 oz Genoa Salami, sliced thin
- 3 oz sliced sopressata, sliced thin
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced thin
- 8 oz sharp provolone, cubed
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup banana peppers, drained and sliced thin; or more. Can use hot or mild.
- ¼ cup cherry peppers, drained and sliced thin; or more. Can use hot or mild.
- ½ cup lupini beans, drained
- sliced black olives, optional
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
For the salad
- In a small skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until crispy. About 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Wash and dry the lettuce. Stack the leaves one on top of each other and use a sharp knife to thinly slice the lettuce. If the leaves are really large, cut them lengthwise down the middle first before slicing crosswise.Add the lettuce to a large bowl
- Thinly slice the salami, sopressata and sun dried tomatoes. Cube the cheese and dice the celery.Prep the rest of the ingredients (draining pepper rings; olives, if using; and lupini beans.
For the dressing
- Add both oils to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until an emulsion is formed and the seasoning is all mixed. Taste and correct for seasoning.½ c canola oil, ½ c olive oil, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, ½ c red wine vinegar, ½ cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 T sugar, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Add the ingredients, one by one, in sections to the large serving bowl. Toss with about ⅓ of the dressing. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan and toss again with more dressing as needed. Garnish with more peppers.
- Can be made up to a week ahead. Store in a mason jar or airtight container.
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.