Cozy Cameo: Dad n’ Me, and Italian Chopped Salad Makes Three

Italian Chopped Salad

Italian Chopped Salad

My dad and I share a love of good salad. I often playfully rib him, because he still seems to prefer buying good ol’ classic iceberg lettuce to the greener and (slightly) more nutritious and flavorful romaine that I like when crisp leaves are in order, but that’s my daddy-o. As long as there are fresh greens tossed together with other little bits of yummy goodies and a nice, flavorful zesty dressing to drizzle in, we’re a pair of happy campers.

Italian Chopped Salad

Quite a few years back when my parents would come to visit me in Los Angeles from Michigan, we would make a fun day of going to the Santa Monica pier and to the beach, then afterwards, stop for a bite at an Italian eatery on Third Street Promenade for a family meal out. It was so comforting to me. We always made it a point to get our favorite, a hearty Italian Chopped Salad, to share as an appetizer. It had so many tasty morsels in it -lots of cheese and savory dry salami, and vegetables with crunchy textures, all dressed in tangy, Italian-style vinaigrette. Each ingredient was diced up nice and small, which for some reason made it that much more delicious and fun to eat. Oh, how we enjoyed grazing on it, and catching up as a family.

Italian Chopped Salad

When dad and I visit with each other these days, I always look forward to being able to share my homemade, love-filled rendition of an Italian Chopped salad with him at some point, and to talk and laugh a little. It gives me a lot of pleasure and joy to make a little something tasty and healthy for my parents, to extend back to them at least a tiny sliver of the nurture they’ve always provided me with.

Hungry dad?

Taste what’s good and pass it on.


Italian Chopped Salad

Italian Chopped Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Salami In Herbed Red Wine Vinaigrette with Garlic Toast Wedge
Print this recipe

(Serves 4)

Salad ingredients:

4 romaine hearts, halved and chopped into small dice
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small dice
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small dice
½ red onion, chopped into small dice
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped into small dice
8 ounce ball fresh, all natural mozzarella cheese, chopped into small dice
4 ounces (about ¼ pound) Italian dry salami, chopped into small dice
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 slices French bread or other rustic bread
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, papery skin removed and halved
• Pinch salt/pepper


-Combine the romaine hearts through the parsley in a large bowl and set aside in fridge while Garlic Toast wedges and the vinaigrette are made.

-Make Garlic Toast wedges by toasting the slices of bread until golden brown; once toasted, drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto each slice, and rub the garlic clove half liberally over both slices; sprinkle with a pinch of salt/pepper, and cut the toast on the bias to make four wedges total; set aside as the salad garnish.

Herbed Red Wine Vinaigrette ingredients:

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil


-In a medium bowl, add all ingredients through sugar, and whisk to combine; next begin slowly adding the oil, whisking until vinaigrette is emulsified.

To Assemble:

-Pour the vinaigrette over the chopped salad greens and thoroughly toss to coat; check and adjust the salt/pepper, if necessary, and divide the salad equally among 4 plates; garnish each with a Garlic Toast wedge.

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Katie @ OhShineOn May 1, 2012, 5:47 am

    I love this recipe so much. Totally reminds me of my summer in Italy — can you believe it’s been almost a year?! I’d love to go back. Have you ever been? Oh wow, I could eat my way through that country and never have another care in the world!

  • Grub Snapper May 1, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Wow, this looks so good!! Mediterranean flavors are my favorite, and this combination sounds like Italian comfort flavors at their best. My only question is, did you find the dressing too strong in flavor since the recipe calls for raw garlic in the vinaigrette?

    • thecozyapron May 2, 2012, 9:49 am

      Hi Patrick, thanks for your comment and question. I personally really
      like the slightly spicy kick that the garlic in the vinaigrette
      provides in this particular type of salad. It’s a bold salad to begin
      with and I find that the garlic provides some added zip considering
      the quantity of ingredients in this recipe.

  • kale May 3, 2012, 12:11 am

    This looks packed full of flavor and family tradition! I love the garlic toast on the side; I would totally scoop up this salad on a wedge of that toast!

  • LP @dishclips May 4, 2012, 3:59 pm

    This is a nice twist on the traditional chopped salad. Looks delish!

  • Suzanne May 6, 2012, 3:55 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a big hit! Simply delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

  • thecozyapron May 6, 2012, 6:27 pm

    Hi Suzanne, so thrilled you gave the recipe a try and came back to comment on your experience- thank YOU! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Esther May 8, 2012, 7:09 am

    My mom makes a very similar dish every summer, so I can imagine how good it tastes.
    She boils curly pasta and lets it cool off. In the meanwhile she chops up onions, cucumber, tomatoes, red bell peppers, rucola salad, dry salami and mozarella cheese. She mingles it then in a bowl with the pasta and tops it off with salt, pepper and olive oil. It was always a huge hit on warm summer evenings!

    • thecozyapron May 8, 2012, 11:34 am

      Hi Esther, sounds really tasty- thanks for coming by to share!

  • Delora May 28, 2012, 9:34 am

    Do you use all of the salad dressing for the four servings of salad?


    • thecozyapron May 28, 2012, 6:48 pm

      Hi Delora, I would use all of the dressing for the four servings, but my recommendation to you would be to start slowly, and add a little at a time, depending on your personal taste. Try about half at first, toss the salad to combine, and if you feel you need more, go ahead and add more; you can always add, you can’t take away, right?

  • Pam February 12, 2013, 5:27 pm

    Cozy Apron,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I made it for my family and it was a big hit. I added some chopped up chic peas and a little more olive oil to the dressing with some freshly squeezed lemon. It was delish!!!!

    • The Cozy Apron February 12, 2013, 6:25 pm

      Hi Pam, thank you for coming back to share with me your experience with this recipe! Your additions sound great – a little extra protein from the chickpeas is always a plus! Glad you and your family enjoyed this.

  • Michelle March 29, 2014, 7:40 pm

    This salad was great, and the dressing was fabulous! We will have to put it into the weekly rotation!

    • The Cozy Apron March 31, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Michelle, thanks so much for sharing that! And I’m honored to potentially have it go into the weekly rotation—perfect for spring/summer!

  • Diane Cooper June 14, 2014, 9:21 pm

    This looks wonderful- 4 romaine hearts seems like a lot of lettuce to me, so perhaps I am not thinking of the same thing. In our grocery stores we get 3 romaine hearts to a bag- is this the same as yours roughly? If not, how may leaves would this be? Might be a stupid question!

    • The Cozy Apron June 15, 2014, 5:48 pm

      Hi Diane, no such thing as stupid questions! :-) My reasoning was 1 romaine heart per person roughly, as when you chop it up finely, it isn’t all that much. I bought the 3 pack plus used one more heart; but just go with the 3 hearts—a 3 pack—if you prefer (or if you think the 4 would be too much for your needs) and you should be just fine. (My portion size was fairly large on this salad.) Hope you enjoy!

  • Maggie Kopischke September 24, 2015, 5:52 am

    This recipe was so delicious! I did modify the salad ingredients to my family’s preference, for instance, I added only a sprinkling of onions and omitted the pepper. The dressing has excellent flavors with no modification.

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, this one will be in made again very soon!

    • The Cozy Apron September 26, 2015, 12:02 pm

      Maggie, so glad you and your family enjoyed this salad! It’s great that you modified to your family’s taste, too. Thank you for your comments!

  • Monique London January 5, 2016, 8:18 am

    I made this salad last night for our lunches this week. I’m eating it now and there is a party in my mouth. I normally hate salad but this sald is so delicious. Thank you for sharing.

    • The Cozy Apron January 5, 2016, 7:17 pm

      Hi Monique! Being the self-professed hater of salads that you say you are, I’m thrilled that you actually decided to even make this recipe! :-) I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, and I thank you for taking the time to share your comment with me. Happy grazing!

  • Suz May 5, 2016, 3:13 pm

    The directions are not very clear it doesn’t state when to add the ingredients

    • The Cozy Apron May 5, 2016, 4:53 pm

      Hi Suz, so sorry it’s not clear! This was one of our early recipes, and I can see that the wording could be better. What I’m saying is to combine the romaine hearts with the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the parsley in a large bowl. Hope that helps! Please enjoy. 😉

Leave a Comment

Google Analytics Alternative