Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad

published Feb 6, 2021
Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad

This make-ahead friendly salad is packed with crunchy veggies and tossed in a garlicky oregano vinaigrette. Eat as-is or serve alongside pizza.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

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Italian chopped salad sits on tablecloth near blue napkin and spices
Credit: Photo: Shelly Westerhausen

Say hello to my vegetarian chopped salad 2.0 — an epic sequel to this Mediterranean-style number. Chopped salads have been my lunch MO for well over a year now, seamlessly transitioning from packable office lunch to hearty work-from-home one. Their make-ahead quality means I’m not scrambling every day as soon as I get hangry, and they satisfy my desire for crunch and lots of veggies.

My idea to make an Italian-inspired version came after devouring one from Pizza Moto, my favorite Brooklyn pizza joint. Their Pizza Shop Chopped Salad is packed with crisp lettuce, bitter radicchio, pickled peppers, chickpeas, red onion, fontina, and mortadella (which I omitted), all tossed in a “zesty” Italian vinaigrette. It was so good and filling I almost didn’t have room for the pizza, which made me realize two things: Italian chopped salads are just as good without the meat, and they’re absolutely hearty enough to be eaten as a main.

Credit: Photo: Shelly Westerhausen

The version I’m sharing here boasts my version of that zesty dressing, complete with garlic, oregano, and an oil-to-vinegar ratio that highly favors the punchy red wine vinegar. I’ve also added celery for crunch and cherry tomatoes for their sweet, juicy flavor. If you can’t find a block of provolone, opt for mozzarella — it’s just as tasty.

The whole salad comes together fast, and you can prep it in advance. Simply toss everything but the lettuces in the vinaigrette, then let it hang out in the fridge (where it will soak in all that herby, garlicky flavor) until you’re ready to eat. Enjoy as written with the romaine and radicchio, or pile it onto a hummus bowl or into a pita pocket. To make it even heartier, add a cooked grain like farro, or double the chickpeas. If you’re not a vegetarian, top with tuna salad or chicken. And of course, you can always serve it with pizza.

Credit: Photo: Shelly Westerhausen

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad

This make-ahead friendly salad is packed with crunchy veggies and tossed in a garlicky oregano vinaigrette. Eat as-is or serve alongside pizza.

Prep time 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the dressing (yields about 1/2 cup):

  • 1

    large or 2 small cloves garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 5 ounces

    cherry tomatoes

  • 2

    large or 4 small stalks celery

  • 1/2

    small red onion

  • 6

    small pickled pepperoncinis

  • 4 ounces

    unsliced provolone cheese

  • 1 (about 15-ounce) can


  • 1

    medium romaine lettuce heart

  • 1/2

    medium head radicchio

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


Make the vinaigrette:

  1. Mince 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and several grinds black pepper and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Pour half into an airtight container and refrigerate.

Make the salad:

  1. Prep the following ingredients, adding each one to the bowl of vinaigrette as you complete it: Halve 5 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 1 cup). Dice 2 large or 4 small celery stalks (about 1 cup). Thinly slice 1/2 small red onion into half-moons (about 3/4 cup). Slice 6 small pepperoncinis (about 1/4 cup). Cut 4 ounces provolone cheese into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 cup). Drain and rinse 1 can chickpeas. Toss to coat everything in the vinaigrette. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

  2. When you’re ready to eat, core and chop 1 head romaine lettuce crosswise into thin strips (5 to 6 packed cups). Core and chop 1/2 head radicchio crosswise into thin strips (2 packed cups). Add to the bowl with the vegetables and vinaigrette and toss to coat. Drizzle with the desired amount of reserved vinaigrette. Taste and season with more salt as needed (likely about 1/4 teaspoon). Finish with several grinds black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The veggie mixture, reserved dressing, and greens can be refrigerated separately up to 5 days.

Cheese substitutions: If you can’t find a block of provolone, you can substitute bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls), torn fresh mozzarella, or diced low-moisture mozzarella cubes.