The Kitchn: This no-wilt Italian chopped salad is the make-ahead lunch you need
Chopped salads have been my lunch M.O. 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.
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.
Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad
Serves 4 to 6
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