Crisp and Sweet Italian Chopped Salad

This Best Italian Chopped Salad Greens Recipe doesn’t just have a great texture – it also provides the wonderful flavor combinations of tangy and mildly bitter, with a hint of salt and sweetness that will leave you wanting more.

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When should salads be served: before, or after, the main course? My Italian upbringing dictated that salads were always served and eaten at the end of a (big) meal… before the onslaught of cheese, fruit and, of course, desserts. What about you? Do you have a preference?

Also a point of discussion: easy vs complicated recipes. I don’t know about you, but when hosting, especially during the holidays, I like to have a balance between the two. The presence of easy recipes gives me a sense of security and creates an illusion that I have everything under control, and nothing can be easier than a salad like this one.

I can also assure you that it does not get any tastier than this Best Italian Chopped Salad Greens Recipe. Even if you are stuffed, you will always manage to have a few extra bites of this salad.

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As in most salad recipes, you must put together two parts: the actual salad, and the dressing. I will usually combine the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, shake it vigorously, refrigerate it, and forget about it until I am ready to dress my salad. I will usually prepare the salad dressing the day before the big event.

As far as the actual salad recipe is concerned, I like to use a mixture of greens such as romaine, radicchio and endive.

I think everyone is familiar with romaine lettuce. But what about these white veined purplish leaves? Well, radicchio belongs to the chicory family, and has a distinctive, slightly bitter taste. According to Wikipedia, the vegetable can be traced back to the fifteenth century in the Veneto region of Italy. Radicchio is extremely pleasing to look at, and it’s a slightly healthier green than, say, iceberg lettuce!

As far as the endive is concerned, it also belongs to the chicory family. It is equally crispy, providing a slightly bitter taste, but is a lot nuttier than the radicchio. Both of these veggies will provide you with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and even a little bit of fiber.

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You are probably familiar with the rest of the salad ingredients. I would like to bring your attention to just two others. The first are the Roasted Garlic Cloves. I’ve already shared how easy roasted garlic cloves are to make, and I truly think you will be amazed at how much flavor a roasted garlic will provide.

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The second is the ricotta salata. As you probably know, ricotta is a sheep milk’s cheese. Unlike its fresh, moist and wet counterpart (if you recall, I have already shared how easy it is to make your own Creamy Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese at home), ricotta salata is an aged, pressed cheese whose final product has a crumbly, yet firm texture, with a salty, almost tangy flavor. It is great to use in salads as it complements the bitterness from the greens perfectly. You should be able to find this cheese in your specialty cheese shop.

I will usually toss all the salad ingredients together… and then, when the time is right, just pour the dressing over the top, toss, plate and serve with a nice crusty bread. Whole wheat, of course!

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ORIGINS OF THE BEST ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD GREENS RECIPE:

Along with this Refreshing Italian Fennel Citrus Salad, this was one of my Mom’s signature salads. Both of these salads are so ridiculously easy to put together and, as an added bonus, they are definite crowd pleasers.

This Best Italian Chopped Salad Greens Recipe will provide you and your guests with a colorful and tasty way to end any meal. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for your continued support of She Loves Biscotti. I am extremely grateful to all of you.

Wishing all of you and your dear ones many blessings of health and happiness for 2017!

Crisp and Sweet Italian Chopped Salad
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Side dish
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
The Dressing:
  • ? cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 oven roasted garlic cloves, minced and smashed into a paste
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano (I use Litehouse)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • generous pinch of pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
The Salad:
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 head radicchio, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 head endive, washed, dried and chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, washed, dried and torn up
  • 1 small cucumber, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, washed, dried and chopped (I also chop about 1 tablespoon of the celery leaves)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, washed, dried and chopped in half (about 1 large handful)
  • ½ cup pitted green olives
  • ½ cup crumbled Ricotta Salata (in a pinch, can substitute with feta cheese)
Instructions
The Dressing:
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake vigorously.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to be used (I will usually make the dressing the day before I need it).
The Salad:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the salad ingredients.
  2. Toss to combine.
  3. Shake the dressing one final time before pouring over your salad.
  4. Toss well.
  5. Transfer to your serving platter.
  6. Serve immediately.

 

Maria Vee

Maria Vee

Hello! My name is Maria, Canadian-born and Italian-raised. By day, I work in a health institution, but by night, I cook, bake, and blog. I guess I get it from my mom, who I truly believe spent most of her adult life in the kitchen (and loved every second of it)! Recently it became important to me to fix up, document, and post some of her treasured recipes; I wanted my own kids to get a taste for the legacy she left behind and to continue to honour the traditions she set up when she was alive. I crave the simple things in life, most of all enjoying some good food with my beloved family and friends.

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