Big Easy Italian Salad

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Big Easy Italian Salad is part leafy green salad and part antipasto salad. Dressed in our Creamy Italian Salad Dressing which makes the flavor pop, it’s the perfect side salad and can hold its own as a dinner salad paired with some warm crusty bread.

This Big Italian Salad will change the way you think about salad! It’s so versatile too, eat it as is or toss in more of your favorite ingredients. Plus you’re making the dressing which is superior to any bottled brand you could possibly buy. No preservatives or stabilizers needed, just fast fresh dressing that’s perfect for this salad and many more. 

Close up of Big Easy Italian Salad in a white bowl garnished with fresh parmesan cheese

Keep in mind: Be sure after washing your lettuce that it’s thoroughly dry using a salad spinner or clean kitchen towels (non-terry). Wet lettuce turns wimpy fast and nobody likes a wimpy wet salad. Drain the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm well too. 

Big Easy Italian Salad in a large stainless steel bowl with dressing

Read on to learn for yourself how quickly this salad comes together and how to make our super-simple homemade Creamy Italian Salad Dressing that you’re going to want to put on everything!

Yes, just follow a few tips and your salad will be perfect! 

  • To make the salad ahead of time be sure to tear the leaves of the lettuces and radicchio, cutting lettuce (or herbs for that matter) accelerates bruising and wilting of the leaves.
  • Once all of your lettuce is prepped cover with a damp paper towel and then with cling wrap, store in the fridge up to 24 hours.
  • Toss in the remaining ingredients just before serving.
  • And of course, if you’re prepping this salad recipe in advance, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve or the salad will be wimpy. 
Big Easy Italian Salad in a white bowl with a fork to the right on the countertop

How to Make Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing just takes a few minutes and a few ingredients. It can be stored in your fridge for up to 2 weeks, so it’s perfect if you need to make quick weeknight salads!

Not only is this creamy dressing quick to make, it’s also made with easy to find ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. 

  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 4 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 4 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt or Kosher Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper,

Toss the ingredients into the food processor, blitz and serve. It’s that easy! Make it ahead and let the flavors marry in the fridge.

Chef’s Tip: When making the dressing add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add a dash of heat. Also, to mellow the vinegar, add a 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon of turbinado sugar. We prefer ours with a little bite so we opt to leave it out but it’s up to you. 

What Ingredients Can I Add to an Italian Salad?

One of the things I adore about making this salad is the fact it’s so versatile. You can toss in anything you like to make it your own! 

  • tomatoes
  • chick peas
  • navy beans
  • cucumber
  • bell pepper
  • radishes
  • shrimp
  • steak
  • tofu
  • salmon
  • fresh basil
  • roasted red peppers
A clear glass jug filled with Creamy Italian Salad Dressing, accompanied by a bundle of fresh green lettuce and a cork for the bottle on the left-hand side, on a marble countertop.
Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
Bowls of Alfredo with a glass of spilled red wine.
Homemade Alfredo
Bowl of Pasta Pescatore served up with a sweet slow roasted tomato.
Pasta Pescatore
Two bowls of Pasta e Fagioli with crackers.
Pasta Fagioli

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Big Easy Italian Salad in a white bowl with a fork to the right on the countertop

How to Make Big Easy Italian Salad

Close up of Big Easy Italian Salad in a white bowl garnished with fresh parmesan cheese

Big Easy Italian Salad

Big Easy Italian Salad is part leafy green salad and part antipasto salad. Dressed in our Creamy Italian Salad Dressing which makes the flavor pop it's the perfect side salad or can hold it's own as a dinner salad paired with some warm crusty bread.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Equipment

  • Food Processor or Blender (to make dressing)
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Large Bowl for tossing

Ingredients

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing (see recipe here)

  • 2-3 small garlic cloves, smashed + skinned
  • 4 Tablespoons (56 grams) mayonnaise
  • 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) red wine vinegar,
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt or Kosher Sea Salt, finely ground or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

Big Easy Italian Salad

  • 1 large romaine head, washed + spun dry + hand torn
  • 1 small head of radicchio, rinsed + halved + cored + thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce, washed + cored + halved + hand torn
  • 1 can (220 grams) hearts of palm, drained + sliced into coins
  • 1 can (397 grams) artichoke hearts, drained + halved or quartered
  • 1/4 cup (90 grams) pitted kalamata olives, whole or halved
  • 1/4 cup (90 grams) green olives, whole or halved
  • 1 cup (90 grams) parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

Instructions

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

  • Combine ALL ingredients, smashed garlic, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, dried basil, EVOO, sea salt, and freshly cracked back pepper to the food processor or blender.
    Ingredients for Creamy Italian Salad Dressing in the food processor
  • Blitz about 30-60 seconds until combined and creamy.
    Creamy Italian Salad Dressing after being blitzed in the food processor.

Big Easy Italian Salad

  • Add the prepped romaine, radicchio, iceberg lettuce, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, green olives, creamy Italian dressing (to taste, usually about 1/2 cup) and parmesan cheese. Toss until well mixed.
    Big Easy Italian Salad in a large stainless steel bowl with dressing
  • Serve with dinner or as a meal itself with warm crusty bread.
    Close up of Big Easy Italian Salad in a white bowl garnished with fresh parmesan cheese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Indulge in the classic combination of crisp romaine lettuce and tangy blue cheese with our Romaine Blue Cheese Salad Wedge. Crisp, refreshing, and bursting with flavor, this salad is perfect as a starter or a light meal on its own.

Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Italy with our tantalizing Italian Chicken Pasta Salad. Tender grilled chicken, al dente pasta, and a medley of fresh vegetables are tossed together with a creamy Italian dressing, creating a symphony of taste and texture in every bite.

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    Please Share the Goodness!

    Join the Conversation

    1. Its perfect salad to start our day healthy

      1. Thanks, Sivaranjani, so glad that you like it! 🙂

    2. Jere Cassidy says:

      I love a salad with lots of ingredients and making your own dressing is the only way to go for a nice fresh taste.

      1. Thanks so much, Jere, agreed fresh salad needs homemade dressing! 🙂

    3. This salad looks fresh and inviting. I love that you included so many variations and the dressing looks amazing.

      1. Thank you, Christian! So glad that you like the variations, something I was taught was important when cooking. So glad that you dropped by for a visit 🙂

    4. This looks so yummy! Simple and tasty…my favorite kind of recipe!

      1. Thanks so much, Kacey, simple and tasty is the way to go for sure! 🙂

    5. This looks so easy to make. Not to mention, it is delicious and healthy. I will do anything for salad 🙂

      1. I love salad too, Saif and it’s a daily menu must! Thanks so much for visiting 🙂

    6. This has so many of my favorite antipasto items as toppings, what a delicious selection of flavors. And that dressing! I’m always on the lookout for one that is creamy, yet dairy-free. Yum.

      1. This is my favorite italian Dressing Beth, super creamy, tasy and not a drop of dairy 🙂 thanks so much for visiting!

    7. This Italian salad dressing sounds really easy to put together. I have most of the ingredients listed and will be trying it soon!

      1. The dressing is sooooo easy to make, Nart! Please be sure to share your results with us too 🙂

    8. Nothing beats a fresh salad with homemade creamy dressing! Def my favourite for summer lunches! This salad looks fantastic. On my to make list!

      1. I agree Jacqueline being that it’s always hot here 90°F in February salad is a staple. We have this at least once a week, make sure you share your salad creation with us 🙂

    9. I love easy recipes and the very name of this dish caught my attention. The salad looks wholesome and very interesting flavors in it.

      1. Thanks so much, Lathiya! It’s super easy to make, versatile and packed with flavor!

    10. That dressing looks so good. Any tips on packing a salad for lunch? Any good containers that allow the salad to remain fresh?

      1. Hi, Cindy, great question. I find the easiest way to prep a salad for the next day is just to create a layered salad in Mason Jars. Add the lettuce as the last ingredient and keep the dressing separate. When you’re ready for lunch, toss everything to a bowl and add your dressing. Lettuce never gets soggy being packed last and adding the dressing when eating keeps it super fresh!

    11. Looks delicious and not too difficult to make.

      1. Thanks, Christina, it’s super easy to toss together. 🙂

    12. I love a good salad and Italian dressing is my favorite! I can’t wait to try this recipe…sounds so good I have never added mayo to mine..thank you for sharing this!

      1. I hope you love it Holly, please let me know how it turns out!

    13. Thank you for the dressing recipe! I didn’t realize that it was so simple and easy!

      1. You’re most welcome, Liz, making your own dressing is super easy and so much tastier too!

    14. This sounds wonderful. Like for lunch today…! Lol

      1. Lol, it does make for a great lunch, Debbie!

    15. This looks really good! Do you remember Green Goddess dressing? MY husband loved that and I can’t find a replacement. Do you have a recipe to make that by chance?

      1. Hi Jen, I actually do have a Green Goddess Dressing Recipe and will be happy to post it. Thanks for asking, I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s live! 🙂

    16. My kids are FINALLY started to get into salads as a meal. The more ideas the better!

      1. Salads are a great option for kids and they enjoy helping make them too, it’s fun to pick and choose ingredients and make your own salad. 🙂

    17. This looks so good! Now I am craving salad. I may just have to try this tonight!

      1. Thanks, Stacey, it’s on our menu tonight too 🙂

    18. I read this then went straight to the kitchen to make the dressing! Thanks!

      1. Please be sure to share your results, Diane! Thanks so much for visiting 🙂

    19. Lisa Manderino says:

      This looks so delicious! I am going to go make a salad!

      1. Thanks, Lisa! Hope you love it as much as we do!

    20. Yum! I had a spinach salad for lunch today, and it tasted great!

      1. Mmmm spinach salads are delish too, Tonya!

    21. Tricia Snow says:

      Yum! My mouth was watering reading this! I love creamy Italian. It was my go-to as a kid. I can’t wait to make it for my kids!

      1. Great, Tricia, I hope you all love it as much as we do! Please be sure to share your results 🙂

    22. Love this. Thank you for sharing

      1. Thanks, Jody, appreciate you visiting 🙂

    23. I love all your recipes that I’ve tried, and this one appears to be no exception. I will sub vegan mayo, and sub vegan cheese, but it will be just as amazing. Just made your corn chowder last night — yum! Thanks for all your hard work and sharing it with us! 😊

      1. Thanks ever so much, Ramae! I’m so glad that you are able to make your own versions of our recipes and thoroughly enjoy them, it makes me so happy! 🙂

    24. The dressing looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Thanks so much, Sandi!

    25. Now, these are the types of salads I love. Nice and hearty. I would love to throw some grilled chicken, turkey tips or steak tips on top.

      1. Yes, you could easily top with your choice of protein, Heather! Thank you 🙂

    26. This sounds amazing. Love the dressing. Pinned it! Will be trying this for sure. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Thank you, Beth! Really appreciate the pin too, please be sure to share your results.

    27. I just love the name of this salad – and it just looks so dang good!

      1. Thank you, Angela!

    28. I don’t normally say this but that salad looks delicious! 😊
      I am excited to try making that dressing.

      1. Lol, Adrienne, please be sure to share your recipe results with us 🙂

    29. Thanks for the lettuce prepping tip. I hadn’t heard of the wet paper towel idea

      1. Glad that our tip was helpful, Jennifer!

    30. This looks delicious!

      1. Thank you, Debbi!

    31. Simple and divine looking. We cannot wait to make this.

      1. Super simple to make, Lisa! Thank you 🙂

    32. Looking forward to the creamy Italian dressing recipe! Have you ever substituted greek yogurt for mayo?

      1. Hi, Judean. You can swap out the mayo for Greek yogurt, I would add that and then add the red wine vinegar to taste due to the tartness of the yogurt. Should work perfectly 🙂

    33. Suzan | It’s My Sustainable Life says:

      Looks fresh and delicious! I love that you recommend adding a pinch of crushed red pepper. I find it blooms most dishes I make. 😊

      1. I agree crushed red pepper makes everything just a little bit better, Suzan!

    34. That dressing looks delicious! I can’t wait to make it and try it!

      1. Thanks so much, Sydney, I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

    35. This looks so good, and it’s nice that it’s so versatile!

      1. Thank you, Noelle, versatile recipes are the best!

    36. Salads have been my go-to food since I’m trying to give up meat. Thanks for adding this one to my list …it looks delicious.

      1. This is a really satisfying salad, Vanessa. I eat less red meat too and a variety salad such as this is always a great stand-in!

    37. This salad looks so yummy! Especially the dressing! I am going to see if I can get John to give it a try!

      1. Yeah, tell John it’s super easy to make! I’m sure you guys will love it, thanks, Michele. 🙂

    38. Your recipe pictures always looks so delicious. The recipes I’ve tried are truly yummy. Looks like another great one to try!!

      1. Thank you, Annette! This salad is super easy to make and totally delish. 🙂

    5 from 12 votes

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