Classic Italian Salad

Clasic Italian Salad
The Classic Italian Salad

The Classic Italian Salad, also known as the Insalata Mista, is a timeless dish that showcases the vibrant flavours and fresh ingredients that are characteristic of Italian cuisine. This simple yet elegant salad is a staple in Italian households and restaurants, beloved for its refreshing taste and versatility.

The key components of the Classic Italian Salad typically include a variety of crisp, mixed salad greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, and radicchio. These greens provide a satisfying crunch and a range of flavours, from peppery to slightly bitter, creating a well-balanced base for the salad.

A Salad With Colourful Vegetables

In addition to the mixed greens, the salad often features an assortment of colourful and flavourful vegetables, such as ripe tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, red onions, and bell peppers. These fresh vegetables contribute to the salad’s visual appeal and provide a range of textures and tastes, adding depth to each bite.

Italian Salad
Dressing the Salad

To enhance the salad’s flavour profile, classic Italian vinaigrette is drizzled over the greens and vegetables. The vinaigrette is typically made with a combination of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and a blend of dried Italian herbs, such as oregano and basil. This tangy and aromatic dressing ties the ingredients together and elevates the overall taste of the salad.

To add a touch of richness and complexity, the Classic Italian Salad often incorporates savoury elements such as briny olives, salty capers, and sharp Parmesan cheese. These ingredients provide a contrast to the fresh vegetables and greens, creating a harmonious blend of flavours that is characteristic of Italian cuisine.

Assemble the Classic Salad

The salad is typically assembled by arranging the mixed greens and vegetables on a large serving platter or in a bowl. The vinaigrette is then drizzled over the salad, and the ingredients are gently tossed to ensure even distribution of the dressing. The olives, capers, and Parmesan cheese are sprinkled over the top of the salad, adding a final flourish of flavor and visual interest.

Served as a Starter

The Classic Italian Salad is a versatile dish that can be served as a starter before a meal, as a light and refreshing side dish, or as a standalone meal when paired with crusty bread and a glass of wine. Its vibrant colors, array of textures, and harmonious flavors make it a beloved classic that is perfect for any occasion.

How to Make the Italian Classic Salad


1 Tbsp. unsalted butter                                                                                                                              7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided                                                                                                        1 14.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed                                                                                                              2 small garlic cloves, divided                                                                                                                    3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar                                                                                                                            1½ tsp. honey                                                                                                                                                1 tsp. Dijon mustard                                                                                                                                  ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes                                                                                                            1 head of radicchio, thinly sliced                                                                                                              2 endive, thinly sliced                                                                                                                              2½ oz. sharp provolone cheese, thinly sliced, torn                                                                                2 oz. cured fennel salami, thinly sliced, cut into half-moons                                                                   Freshly ground black pepper                                                                                                                      Kosher salt


  1. Heat butter and 2 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until butter melts. Add chickpeas and 1 garlic clove; season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until chickpeas are browned and crisp, 6–8 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, honey, mustard, red pepper flakes, and remaining 5 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl to combine. Finely chop half of remaining garlic clove (discard the rest unless you really, really like garlic) and add to dressing; season with salt and black pepper.
  1. Add radicchio, endive, provolone, and salami to the dressing and toss to coat; season with salt. Add chickpeas and toss again to combine.

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