This easy Italian House Salad recipe is perfect for all those times you need just a little something on the side. Zesty pepperoncini and parmesan add lots of flavor, but it’s the restaurant-style Italian dressing that really takes this salad to the next level. Serve it with pizza, pasta, or just about anything—it’s completely versatile!
Italian House Salad – The EASY Way!
When you make a big pasta dinner, you don’t want to make a big elaborate side too. But sometimes you need a little something extra to round things out. Garlic bread is good, but let’s face it: you may want something a little lighter for an everyday meal. Make this restaurant-style Italian House Salad and dinner is done.
This is quite possibly the perfect side dish. You’ll instantly up the veggies in your dinner, and it’s a salad, so you don’t have to cook it. Picky eaters will love that you can switch up the ingredients (or pick out the ones they don’t like and sneak them onto mom’s plate), and did I mention that it tastes amazing too?
It’s a zesty, zippy salad with an herbaceous vinaigrette; the tomatoes are sweet and juicy, the pepperoncini are tangy and just spicy enough, and the red onion is sliced thin to add pungent flavor without being distracting. Shaved parmesan is the perfect finishing touch.
One bite of this Italian House Salad and you might think you’re at your favorite Italian restaurant!
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Quick – This isn’t the kind of salad that has you prepping tons of different veggies. Slice the onion, mix the dressing, and put it all together!
- Healthy – If you’re always trying to work more veggies into your day, a side salad is the best way to do it.
- Customizable – While I modeled my recipe on the ingredients in a classic Italian House Salad, you can use what’s in your crisper drawer and pantry. It’s easy like that!
- Restaurant-style – This is like one of those good salads you get from Italian restaurants and pizzerias- think Olive Garden, with a super flavorful vinaigrette.
What to Serve with Italian House Salad
Since this dish has the classic flavors of Italian food, it will pair well with many of your favorite Italian dishes. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Main Dish Ideas
- Mozzarella Chicken– This is a slam dunk family favorite!
- Garlic Bread Pizza
- Cheesy Skillet Lasagna – This salad is ideal for pairing with a hearty lasagna recipe!
- One Pan Italian Chicken and Veggie Skillet
- Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta – Or any of your favorite pasta dishes.
- Tuscan Tomato Tortellini Soup – Who doesn’t love a simple soup-and-salad dinner?
- Spinach Ravioli Bake – The fastest easiest dinner that the whole family enjoys!
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Italian House Salad recipe is as simple as promised! Just a few minutes for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks how to make a house salad to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
For the House Salad
- Spring mix – You can use any lettuce you like or have on hand here. Arugula will give you some peppery bite, mild romaine is kid-friendly, and spinach is full of iron.
- Grape tomatoes – I like grape tomatoes because you don’t have to cut them. If you use cherry tomatoes, cut them in half; a diced regular tomato works too.
- Pepperoncini peppers – These add loads of flavor, but if they’re not your thing, try black olives instead.
- Red onion
- Shaved parmesan cheese – Shaved parm will give you a little more bang for your buck—it won’t be as evenly distributed as grated cheese, but when do you get a piece on your fork, it’s good.
For the Italian Dressing
- Olive oil – If ever there’s a time to break out the fancy olive oil, it’s when you’re making an Italian House Salad dressing. But an everyday extra-virgin olive oil is just fine, too.
- Red wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Granulated sugar – Just a bit will help cut the acid in the dressing.
- Spices- We use a simple combination of dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper for a great flavor punch!
- Mix the dressing well – You want it to emulsify, which means the oil and vinegar come together. You’ll need to whisk it vigorously, or put it in a mason jar and shake it. You can also use a hand blender to save your arms some work.
- Make sure the veggies are dry – Use a salad spinner after washing the lettuce; if you don’t have one, set the lettuce leaves on a towel to dry. Any water that’s still clinging to the leaves will water down your dressing and make your salad limp and sad.
- Slice the onion thin – We’re talking practically shaved here. When you cut onion super-thin, the dressing can work its magic and tame some of the sharp flavor.
- Don’t toss the salad with the dressing – Instead, plate each portion and then add the dressing. This will help keep your lettuce crisp and it will pay off if you have any leftovers. (More on that below!)
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Buy sliced pepperoncini – You’ll save yourself some time when you don’t have to slice them yourself!
- Make the dressing ahead– This salad dressing can be made up to a week in advance!
- Meal prep it – Assemble the salad and place it in a large container. Then, mix the dressing. Store them separately in the refrigerator and put them together when you’re ready to serve.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Make it a meal – This Italian House Salad is the perfect side, but you can make it your whole dinner by adding Spinach Pesto Baked Chicken, or even just a simple grilled chicken breast, on top.
- Use it for a pizza – Ever had salad pizza? It’s good! Brush a pizza crust or flatbread with olive oil, bake it according to the package directions, and then pile your salad on top.
- Serve it antipasto style – Add thin-sliced salami and pepperoni, add some olives and maybe cubes of provolone, and you’ve got a salad with all the flavors of an antipasto platter.
Italian House Salad Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making Italian House Salad, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
The amount of time your Italian House Salad will last in the fridge depends on two factors:
- First, is it dressed or undressed? Once you add the dressing, your salad won’t last more than a day in the refrigerator.
- The second factor is the freshness of the ingredients you used; if your lettuce was already on its last leg, your assembled salad won’t last long either. But assuming your ingredients were as fresh as possible, your undressed salad will last 3 to 5 days.
As for the vinaigrette, it will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks.
More Side Salad Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my side dish recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite side salad recipes below.
- Chef Salad
- Spring Chopped Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
- Easy Caprese Salad
- Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
For the House Salad
- 5 ounces spring mix
- 4 ounces grape tomatoes
- 1 cup pepperoncini peppers
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the salad
- Assemble each salad by placing 1 heaping cup of lettuce on a salad plate.
- Top with 1/4 of each ingredient: tomato, peppers, onion, and parmesan.
- Top with dressing as desired.
For the house Italian dressing
- Combine all ingredients and whisk rapidly to emulsify (combine ingredients.)
- Top salads with desired amount.