Big Yummy Italian Salad Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Big Yummy Italian Salad

6 reviews / 5 average

I love a big Italian salad! Crisp romaine, salty salami and cheese, briney pepperoncini, and toasty garlic breadcrumbs. YUM!

This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo! ♡

This Big Italian Salad Hits Every Time.

I am in a salad ZONE right now. In all seasons, but especially in summer, I love a big Italian salad – salami, cheese, pepperoncini, all the spicy, briny, mouth-loving salady things.

But I do not love having to think about a dressing. I’m lazy. It’s not hard but it feels like a barrier? I don’t know.

So here’s how I’m doing Italian salads right now – and by doing, I mean, like, making every couple of days to sit outside and eat in the sun for some lunchy moments of bliss. It’s giving Olive Garden bottomless salad, but, like, more grown-up, more fun, and all-around incredible.

We’ve got shreds of romaine, chopped salami and cheese (two kinds, if you’re me), pepperoncini, paper-thin pieces of red onion, and a big spoonful of these garlic golden crispy bits that are essentially serving the purpose of a crouton in a more pleasant, less mouth-scratching format. Just a delicate, golden garlic bready crunch amidst all this flavor. Drool.

Italian salad in a bowl.

And the key component! The dressing gets slicked into every crevice of this salad – it’s just in the form of a couple of absolutely mindless, no-recipe splashes and drizzles. I use 3 things:

  • a good olive oil
  • pepperoncini brine
  • Italian seasoning

There’s already so much good stuff here with a ton of flavor, so I guess I just started to realize – why are we making a dressing for this? No need. Splish, splash, shake and done.

I’m using the DeLallo Castelvetrano Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this salad these days and it’s delightful – fruity, pleasantly bitter, with a peppery finish making it awesome for finishing which is basically all applications in this salad. Plus the squeeze bottle! Ooo baby! Love, love! It makes it THE PERFECT oil component in this recipe. I feel personally close to this bottle of olive oil right now. We’ve worked with DeLallo for years and they produce and import the best Italian products around!

To big yummy Italian salads in the sun! Let’s go!

Welcome To My House! Let’s Make An Amazing Italian Salad.


Cut Up Your Salad Stuff.

Salami, cheese, red onion, and lettuce. (I’m using romaine here.)

Chopped salad ingredients on a cutting board - romaine, red onion, cheese, and salami.


Make Your Golden Panko.

The DeLallo castelvetrano squeeze bottle oil is my good, good friend in this recipe. Just squeeze that oil onto the panko with some garlic powder to start.

Squeezing olive oil into a bowl of breadcrumbs.

Then we microwave that for about a minute, stir it up, and go back for another 20-30 seconds until it’s nice and golden. It’ll be HOT – don’t taste it yet! But add a pinch of salt and admire your crispies.

Mixing breadcrumbs in a bowl to make crispy panko topping.


Low-Key Dress Everything.

This is absolutely effortless. I just add 3 things: a few shakes of Italian seasoning, a couple squeezes of olive oil

Squeezing olive oil onto a bowl of salad.

and a splash of pepperoncini brine.

Pouring pepperoncini brine into a bowl of salad.


You’re Done! Yum!

Toss and serve! Or, in my case, take the whole big bowl for yourself.

Tossed Italian salad in a bowl with a fork.

Watch How To Make This Italian Salad

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A picture of Big Yummy Italian Salad

Big Yummy Italian Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x


I love a big Italian salad! Crisp romaine, salty salami and cheese, briney pepperoncini, and toasty garlic breadcrumbs. YUM!


Units Scale

Big Yummy Italian Salad

  • 34 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1215 pieces salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheese like Provolone
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup DeLallo Sliced Mild Pepperoncini
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Golden Crispy Garlic Panko

No-Recipe Italian Dressing:


  1. Prep Salad Stuff: Chop all your salad veggies, meat, cheese, etc.
  2. Make Golden Crispy Garlic Panko: Mix panko, oil, and garlic powder in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave again for 20-40 seconds until it’s nice and golden. (It’ll be hot! Don’t taste it yet.) Season with salt.
  3. Toss with No-Recipe Dressing: Add all your salad stuff to a large bowl. Drizzle with oil, pepperoncini brine, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, taste, adjust, you know the drill. Finish by tossing those golden panko crispies in there! YUM!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: chopped salad, Italian salad, chopped Italian salad, romaine salad

Frequently Asked Questions For This Italian Salad

How could I make this vegetarian?

Swap in chickpeas for the salami! It would be especially good with the marinated chickpeas from this recipe.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yep! Just swap in some gluten-free breadcrumbs for the panko.

Is this salad spicy?

There’s a slight kick from the sliced pepperoncini, and potentially the salame depending on what kind you buy, but overall it’s not too spicy. If you’re sensitive to spice, you could reduce the amount of pepperoncini slices and buy a salame without any heat.

Does this salad prep well?

Yes! Just keep the crispy panko and dressing separate from everything else!

How could I increase the protein?

Chicken would be delicious – grilled or made in the air fryer!

More Italian Summer Favorites

Thanks to DeLallo for sponsoring this recipe!

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Help! I need to make this salad, but I don’t have a microwave for the breadcrumbs – can I just toast them in a pan?

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The salad itself was tasty. However the dressing was a bust. It was so bitter and did not have enough tang. Glad I tasted it before putting on the whole salad. Used a bottled Italian dressing instead

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So delicious! I’m trying to eat more salads (as a non salad loving person) and this one sounded so good. It really was so yummy and easy to make, I am making again for sure.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this over the weekend along with your Marinated Chickpea Farfalle Salad. Two instant hits! Doubled them to feed a crowd and had great leftovers for the next day. Everyone was raving about them. You made me look good and they were both super easy!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This Italian salad is giving me major “Lady and the Tramp” vibes! Just look at all those delicious ingredients swirling together – it’s a flavor explosion waiting to happen. I’m so stealing this for my next potluck; it’s gonna be a hit for sure. Thanks, Pinch of Yum, for always bringing the yummy in such a fun and approachable way. You guys are the real MVPs of my kitchen!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was fantastic! I kept going back for more. This is a salad I will definitely crave!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was fantastic! I kept going back for more. This is definitely a salad I will crave!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Even my salad resenting 12 yr old son loved it. He loved the crunchies for sure. I had no idea I could toast panko in the microwave! That was the newest takeaway from this. And a way to use the brine and leftover pepperoncinis from making pizza!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love a good Italian salad and this one was so simple, I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype but it was hands down the easiest, yet best, Italian salad I’ve ever made! Will be eating it on repeat all summer.