Growing up, I would order an Italian salad from this pizza spot near my house—it was so satisfying—filled with pickled, spicy, savory flavors and served with the best creamy dressing. I made this salad on a whim last night, and after tasting it I realized it reminded me so much of that salad I used to love.
Okay, now I know it’s just a chopped salad, but it’s truly so ridiculously good. My husband and I couldn’t stop talking about, saying it’s the best salad we’ve ever had. I didn’t measure anything when I made the salad last night, so today I decided to recreate it and write it down so I could share this magical recipe with you.
The dressing is truly liquid gold. I first made the dressing using pickled onion liquid and I knew most people don’t have that on hand (but if you do—definitely use it here!) so I wanted to recreate that pickled onion flavor as the base. The key is to add super finely minced red onion or shallot to a bowl with the vinegar and salt and let that portion of the dressing sit for about 10 minutes (or more if you have the time!) while you make the salad to allow the onion flavor to infuse into the vinegar and for the onions to get slightly pickled.
For the salad:
1/2 large head or 1 whole small head of iceberg lettuce (about 3-4 cups)
1 head of romaine lettuce (about 1-2 cups)
1 cup radicchio
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz. can, strained and rinsed)
1/3 of a red onion, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons sliced pepperoncini
1/3 cup castelvetrano olives
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Chop all of the lettuces into small bite sized pieces. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt on the lettuce and toss. Add in the pepperoncini, thinly sliced red onion, olives, chickpeas, and dried oregano and toss with dressing.
This makes a pretty large amount of salad, so feel free to store half of the salad (undressed) in an airtight container for the next day.
For the dressing:
yields 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon finely minced red onion or shallot
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar (or 2 tbsp pickled onion liquid if you have it)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup veganaise (or regular mayo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
**optional: 1 teaspoon pepperoncini brine
Add finely minced red onion and minced garlic to a bowl with 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Stir to combine and let this sit for at least 10 minutes. Next, add in the remaining ingredients—dijon mustard, vegan mayo, olive oil, dried oregano, and pepperoncini brine if you have it. Whisk together until creamy. Makes 1/2 cup, feel free to store extra in an airtight jar in the fridge.