An aerial view of chopped Italian salad with a towel and bowl to the side

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Why I love this Italian salad recipe

The salad was inspired by the chopped salad I had at Portillo’s in Chicago sometime last summer. I left out the cheese and 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, but I forgot at the last minute.

This salad is totally customizable though, you can include or omit any of the ingredients in this salad. Just choose what you love and chop it up.

ingredients for an Italian chopped salad recipe

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe

drizzling creamy Italian dressing into a mason jar

How to make Italian chopped salad

Make the dressing. Combine the ingredients for the creamy Italian dressing in mixing bowl or mason jar. Stir until combined and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, to taste.

Chopped ingredients that need chopping. I don’t always run my knife through the lettuce, but if the pieces seem especially large, I think it’s helpful.

It’s up to you how small or large the pieces you chop are, and you can use pre-chopped ingredients if you can find them. We usually buy sliced peperoncini and diced pepperoni to save time, but you don’t have to.

Toss the salad. If you’re serving the recipe immediately, combine it all in a large salad bowl and toss with your desired amount of dressing.

If you aren’t planning to eat it all right away, store the “wet” ingredients separately and add dressing just before eating to prevent the salad from getting soggy.

a large bowl full of delicious italian chopped salad

FAQ’s and tips for making Portillos chopped salad

What should I do if I don’t plan on eating this salad all at once?

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.

How can I make this salad dressing healthier?

You can use a low fat mayo or choose one made with healthier fats such as avocado oil mayonnaise.

Can I make this salad gluten free?

The only item in the ingredients with gluten is the noodles, you can omit those entirely or substitute for a gluten free noodle variety that is similar in size.

How long will this Italian dressing last?

If you keep the leftover (unused) dressing in a sealed container in the fridge you can get it to last several days, and maybe even up to two weeks, depending on the freshness of your ingredients, and still taste great.

Portillos chopped salad recipe

More salad recipes you’ll enjoy:

Italian recipes that taste great:

close up view of Portillo's chopped salad copycat recipe in a bowl

Italian Chopped Salad

This Italian chopped salad recipe is incredibly delicious and so easy to toss together. This filling Portillo’s copycat salad is packed with a mixture of vegetables, meat, and pasta, and topped with a simple, creamy Italian dressing (that’s also dairy free!). There are so many flavors and textures to enjoy together, that you won’t even miss the cheese.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chopping
  • Cuisine: Italian



For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 large bag Italian salad mix (romaine with red cabbage)
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped bacon
  • 1 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1 cup chopped marinated artichokes (drained)
  • 1 cup chopped peperoncini peppers


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Set aside or refridgerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Before serving toss with desired amount of dressing until evenly coated.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 156
  • Sugar: 1.3 g
  • Sodium: 166.4 mg
  • Fat: 12.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.2 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 2.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.4 mg

Keywords: dairy free, Italian, salad, copycat, creamy

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. 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?

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