My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and my mother had primary custody of me, so I would spend every other weekend with my dad. The rest of the family wanted to see me also, so every other Friday night, my grandparents would have all of us over for dinner. My grandma would make a huge Italian dinner of pasta and marinara sauce and chicken cacciatore, chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, or sausage and meatballs. She’d always serve it with garlic bread and a huge salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. A simply dressed salad always reminds me of those special dinners and the family gathered around the big dining room table, laughing and sharing. Grandpa would always open in prayer and we’d sit at the table for hours. They were some of my favorite childhood memories.
This chopped Italian salad has different ingredients, but the dressing is very reminiscent of grandma’s simply dressed salads.
I like to use good ingredients when I’m making a simple salad. This chopped salad includes Pepperoni and Salami and I buy them in the log and then cut them up into chunks. I like to have larger bits of meat in the salad, rather than buying pre-sliced and adding thin slices. It’s really a personal preference, but I recommend buying good quality meat regardless.
The remaining ingredients are listed in the recipe card below. I suggest making the dressing about an hour in advance of serving so that all of the ingredients combine well. The pepperoncini are an optional ingredient, depending on how much heat you like. I made this chopped Italian salad with shredded provolone once and the cheese was just too sharp and overpowered the entire salad, so I prefer to use mozzarella cheese instead.
I hope you will make this salad at home and invite friends and family over to share it with you. Food is always better than shared with loved ones.
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