Italian Chop Salad

Italian Chop Salad | A Teaspoon of HappinessThis past Sunday, I went down to Milwaukee to hang out with Chelsea. She had a few days off, and her husband was traveling so I figured I would log in some bestie time. We spent the night chatting, watching TV and snacking, but before we snacked we filled up on something healthy – this Italian Chop Salad and some marinated chicken. That way, we didn’t have so feel bad about the popcorn and chips & dip. It was a great night. I mean, you can’t get much better than watching Selena on the DVR and hanging in your PJ’s with your best friend and her super cute dog, right?

This recipe is not dairy free. It was published before Simply Whisked went dairy free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free.


Italian Chop Salad | A Teaspoon of Happiness
The salad was inspired by the chop salad I had at Portillo’s in Chicago sometime last summer. I made a creamy Italian dressing because it’s pretty impossible to replicate a “house” dressing. The ditalini was a must-have, but I choose whatever sounded good for the rest of the ingredients. You can do the same. I even considered adding chickpeas and olives, but honestly, I forgot to add them. No matter though, you can include or omit any of the ingredients in this salad. Just choose what you love and chop it up.

Italian Chop Salad | A Teaspoon of Happiness
Note: The recipe calls for you to toss the salad with the dressing, but if you’re not going to eat all of the salad that day just toss a portion with the dressing and store the remaining salad with a clean napkin or paper towel. The rest of the salad should last a few days in the fridge.


Italian Chop Salad

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


  • 1 cup ditalini pasta
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon pecorino romano cheese (or parmesan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped or ripped
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage or raddicchio
  • 1 cup chopped bacon
  • 1 cup cubed Italian cheese (mozzarella, asiago, provolone, etc.)
  • 1 cup chopped marinated artichokes (drained)
  • 1 cup chopped peperoncini peppers
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente (rinse with cold water after straining).
  2. In a bowl, whisk together light mayo, olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, garlic, pecorino romano cheese, and salt & pepper.
  3. Add lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, bacon, cheese, artichokes, peppers and tomatoes.
  4. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    what a great looking salad with mostly clean ingredients – – thanks, can’t wait to try this.

    And LOLA is a keeper, she a beauty!!! did she get veggies too?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 25, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Oh you’re so sweet! She didn’t get any veggies, but she did get a ditalini or two that dropped. 🙂

  • Reply
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