Big Italian Salad

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This Italian salad pairs nicely with Italian comfort food. You’ll love the homemade dressing!

This big Italian salad is my go-to for spaghetti and meatballs, fettucini bolognese, pasta e fagioli, baked ziti, focaccia or anything else in that Italian comfort food realm. The homemade dressing is what makes it so good: think of it as a much, much improved version of that bottled Italian dressing sitting in your fridge door.

The dressing takes just a few minutes to make — and, if you’re used to the beige bottled stuff, you’ll be surprised to see how fresh herbs make this vinaigrette a beautiful and vibrant green. That’s how it should be!

What You’ll Need To Make My Big Italian Salad

ingredients for big Italian saladI suggest buying pre-washed romaine hearts so you don’t have to bother rinsing the leaves. If you buy a full head of romaine, be sure to dry the leaves completely after rinsing, otherwise the wet leaves will turn the dressing watery. I’m a big fan of salad spinners for this task, but if you don’t have one, a clean kitchen towel or paper towels both work well.

As for the veggies and cheese, I love a colorful mix of bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrot ribbons, olives, cucumbers and a salty, tangy cheese such as ricotta salata or — if I’m in a Greek mood — feta. But feel free to improvise with whatever vegetables and cheese that you like.

How To Make A Big Italian Salad

Step 1: Make the Homemade Italian Dressing

Italian dressing ingredients in food processorCombine the parsley, basil, oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and honey in the bowl of a food processor; blitz to blend.

blended Italian dressingStep Two: Assemble and Toss the Salad

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing little by little as necessary; be sure to dress greens very generously, otherwise salad will be bland. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve the leftover dressing for another use.

tossing Italian salad with Italian dressing

Pair this salad with a good bread and some Italian comfort food. Or, for a main course, top it with grilled chicken, shrimp or steak. Enjoy!

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Big Italian Salad

This Italian salad pairs nicely with Italian comfort food. You’ll love the homemade dressing!

Servings: 6


For the Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, best quality such as Pompeian Gourmet
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • Heaping 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons honey

For the Salad

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce (or 3 hearts), washed, dried and cut into large, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped hothouse cucumbers
  • 1 to 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • Handful grape tomatoes, halved
  • Handful pitted olives
  • Ricotta Salata (see note) or Feta, crumbled to taste


  1. Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor and blitz to blend.
  2. Place all of the salad ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing little by little as necessary; be sure to dress greens very generously, otherwise salad will be bland. Toss in the cheese, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  3. Note: Ricotta salata is an Italian sheep's milk cheese that has a salty, slightly tangy flavor, almost like a dry Italian feta. It is not the same as the wet ricotta in the tub. You can find it at Whole Foods, gourmet grocers or specialty cheese shops.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • What a hit this salad was last night! Had it with Turkey lasagna. The dressing is so delicious! Will certainly make this again. Would be great as a main course with grilled chicken.

    • — Pia on September 25, 2020
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  • I bought all the ingredients to make the salad and dressing for dinner tonight and then realized I forgot to buy the parsley.

    Do you think it’ll make much of a difference if I don’t put the parsley in?

    • — Diana on September 17, 2020
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    • Hi Diana, assuming you have enough, you can just use more basil in place of the parsley. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2020
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  • This is absolutely fantastic! Wow. Keeper. I’m going to attempt do a reduced olive oil/fat version today. Has anyone tried freezing it?

    • — Laura on September 6, 2020
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  • Made this for our Italian friends and they agreed, it is delicious. I added an avocado which allowed the dressing to adhere to the lettuce. So flavorful! This will be a staple with large crowds. Thank you

    • — Nancy Hearty on September 2, 2020
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  • Making this salad today. Are the olives in this salad Kalamata?

    • — Pam Heule on August 28, 2020
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    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2020
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  • Rave reviews! “I could eat this everyday!”, “best salad of my life!” were the comments around the table. Made with your turkey spinach meatballs and Parmesan potatoes which were also big hits. Love your recipes!

    • — Linda on August 27, 2020
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    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 27, 2020
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  • Dressing is delicious, salad was a BIG hit. Will be my new favorite.
    Rave reviews from dinner guests.

    • — Marguerite Nagle on August 9, 2020
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  • Delicious

    • — Marguerite Nagle on August 9, 2020
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  • This is my all- time favorite salad dressing! The fresh herbs are the key ingredient.

    • — Denise on July 27, 2020
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  • I have made this salad and the dressing several times, and it is always a hit! The dressing is delicious — Even those who do not like any type of salad dressing have loved this one!!!

    • — Tracy Allen on July 22, 2020
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  • Can you use parmesan cheese instead of feta to go with a Lasagne?

    • — Kelly stone on July 21, 2020
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    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on July 22, 2020
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  • Every time I make this salad it gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe! It’s my favorite salad by far. The dressing is so good and versatile for other uses too!

    • — Heidi on July 12, 2020
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  • Wondering if you can make the dressing if you do not have a blender. Thanks.

    • — Joie on July 2, 2020
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    • Hi Joie, Technically I think it’s possible, but it would require a LOT of chopping of the fresh herbs! Please LMK how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2020
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    • You can but be sure to finely chop the herbs.

      • — Denise on July 27, 2020
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  • Recently, my husband and I hosted friends on our deck. I made this salad to serve with a braided stromboli. The salad was the perfect accompaniment. I had prepped all the salad ingredients, as well as the dressing, earlier in the day. While the stromboli rested, I assembled the salad. It tasted like summer in a bowl. I completed our al fresco meal with your delicious strawberry cake. Thank you for these recipes which I know I will make repeatedly.

    • — Linda Heile on June 28, 2020
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  • Best salad I ever made! And, the dressing is to die for – so delicious. Everyone truly enjoyed it. Will be making it on a regular basis.

    • — Kelly on June 15, 2020
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  • Mmmmmm!!! Delicious recipe. I made this salad to accompany baked ziti. Everyone loved it. A friend, who typically bypasses salad, went back for for more.

    • — Deana on June 7, 2020
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  • This salad is a keeper and will be making often! Loved the dressing and the herb flavors. This is the perfect salad!!! Thanks for the great recipe.

    • — Stephanie Merrifield on May 25, 2020
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  • Delicious!

    • — Carrie Hodges on May 24, 2020
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  • I have cooked so many of your wonderful recipes…always delicious, always easy to follow, have recommended your site to friends, have bought your book…I’m a devoted follower…
    But one thing puzzles me: the ‘Big Italian Salad” include sugar. As the daughter of an Italian mother, a Greek father, and a veteran of many trips to Italy, why add sugar to this recipe? I made the salad to accompany the truly fabulous ziti, … But never made it again.

    • — Diana on May 21, 2020
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    • Hi Diana, so glad you enjoy the recipes! I add the sugar to the dressing to balance out the other flavors, but sorry that this one was a “fail” for you.

      • — Jenn on May 21, 2020
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    • Made this salad last night with baked ziti. My husband commented more than once how much he liked the salad during dinner and again today while finishing the leftovers. I’m not sure which ingredient caused the complete personality change (liking salad and eating leftovers) but keep it up and if you have a recipe that will get him to help with vacuuming please pass it on!

      • — Judy on September 13, 2020
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      • LOL — glad it was a hit!!

        • — Jenn on September 14, 2020
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  • The flavors were great. My guests raved about it. I added avocado. I couldn’t get it to “liquify” the herbs enough, it had a lot of little pieces of parsley and basil. I think it would be better made in a blender (which I don’t have) or a small food processor.

    • — SDC_CHS on May 18, 2020
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  • Very tasty salad!!! Everybody in the family approved (and these are teenage guys) thank you.. the dressing is very tasty!!

    • — Claudia on May 16, 2020
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  • Have made this salad several times. Always a hit. My nieces now ask me to make the salad with the green dressing! Simply delicious salad.

    • — WR from Canada on May 10, 2020
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  • Loved this salad and dressing!! We paired it with homemade meatballs and pasta with crusty bread. We used the left over dressing as a dipping sauce for the crusty bread YUM!! I did add some green onions which pared nicely with the other greens. We will definitely use this again and again. Thanks for sharing!

    • — Robin Hearley on April 29, 2020
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  • Made this and loved it! Will become a regular go to dressing. Thank you for posting!

    • — Sonia on April 18, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn,
    If I only have the curly parsley and not the Italian, do you think it will make a noticeable difference?

    • — Julie B on April 16, 2020
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    • No, it should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2020
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  • You (everbody) needs to try this salad dressing…
    Made today to acompany lasagne.
    I used balsamic instead of red wine vinegar, worked a treat.

    It was fantastic, really really nice & thank you, some left over for tomorrow too which I’m happy about 🙂

    I will definitely use again (after tomorrow ;p)

    Thanks again..

    • — Brendan Garry on April 11, 2020
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  • I just love this recipe! I’ve made the vinaigrette three times now and love it! (second time I made a huge mistake and used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar (that did not taste so good) lol. How long can this vinaigrette stay well? Love your recipes!! (my husband gifted me your cookbook, I’m so happy with it!)

    • — Samantha on March 25, 2020
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    • Glad you like this (and that you’re enjoying the cookbook)! The dressing should last nicely in the fridge for about 4 days.

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2020
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  • Fabulous dressing! Tasted like a restaurant-quality salad. This is my new go-to.

    • — T on February 9, 2020
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  • Served this salad with dinner at my neighbors … and everyone loved it. Since then it has been served at multiple neighborhood events … and every time someone new tries it … they ask for the recipe. The dressing has been described by some as “drinkable”! I added artichoke hearts and banana peppers for some extra “zip”. It is requested almost every time I am invited to a gathering.

    • — Jennifer on January 31, 2020
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  • can you make the dressing a day ahead?

    • — Karen on January 14, 2020
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    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2020
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  • Hi there!! Is there a substitute for the Italian Parsley?? Kind of hard to find a variety of fresh herbs in the dead of winter in my small town Looking forward to trying this!!

    • — Rochelle on January 12, 2020
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    • Hi Rochelle, you can just use more basil in place of the parsley. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
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      • Hi Jenn,

        Just wondering if this dressing can be made ahead??


        • — Alex on February 15, 2020
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        • Definitely – It should be good in the fridge for about 4 days. 🙂

          • — Jenn on February 16, 2020
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  • The dressing is A-MAZE-ING!!! I could drink the stuff. Hands down the best homemade salad dressing ever. Thanks Jenn! Oh, and the salads great too. 🙂

    • — Nikki on January 9, 2020
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  • This is delicious. I do lessen the amount of olive oil and slightly up the vinegar. That is a personal preference.

    The herbs add a wonderful zing and freshness. While I follow the recipe (using basil and parsley), you can substitute many varieties of fresh herbs and it would work just as well.

    • — BETSY JARVI on December 29, 2019
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    • Can l freeze the dressing?

      • — Jane on August 25, 2020
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      • Hi Jane, It’s never occurred to me to free it, but a few readers have commented that they have done so successfully. 🙂

        • — Jenn on August 26, 2020
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  • I make this salad last night to accompany a lasagna bolognese and crispy garlic toast. It was absolutely delicious and a hit with everyone. I highly recommend it! I used marinated pitted Kalamata olives from the deli, and they were perfect. I could not obtain Ricotta Insalata and I decided to not use feta. It was not missed, so don’t fret if you don’t find the cheese. This is an absolutely fantastic salad no matter what!

    • — Twyla Laakso on December 29, 2019
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  • The salad dressing for this is refreshing with a wonderful taste… give it a 10+ we had a big salad and wow the dressing was fantastic !!!!

    • — LADYEDAN62 on December 29, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn,

    I plan to make this salad for Christmas. I couldn’t find fresh basil leaves at the store today, but I’ll try a different store tomorrow. If I can’t get any, can I substitute dried basil? If so, how much would I need?

    • — Lori Schnellert on December 24, 2019
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    • Hi Lori, I wouldn’t recommend dried basil here. You could use fresh mint instead of basil though. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2019
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      • Thank you! Merry Christmas!

        • — Lori Schnellert on December 24, 2019
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  • Thank you for this recipe! How far ahead can you make and store dressing?

    • — Jodi on December 22, 2019
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    • Hi Jodi, It should be good in the fridge for up to about 4 days. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2019
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  • I have made this salad and dressing several times in the last few years and it’s a hit!! Love it, thank you.

    • — Melanie on December 13, 2019
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  • Oh my! this was delicious!
    You’re my go to chef when it comes to potlocks. I trust your recipes so much that i never have to “try them out” before showing them off. Your recipes are always a hit, and this salad was no exception. I got so many compliments. Yes I also own your cookbook and i love it! Can’t wait for the next one!

    • — Dally on December 9, 2019
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  • SOOOOO good! The dressing is amazing. Made another batch to have one hand with other salads. Love it!

    • — Ally on December 5, 2019
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  • I am a big fan of your recipes! You are my “go to” person. I recently went to the store to buy fresh basil, but they didn’t have any. Would it be okay to use “Stir in Basil paste” as a substitute? If so, how much? Thx so much!

    • — Michele on November 23, 2019
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    • Hi Michele, So glad you enjoy the recipes! Honestly, I’m not sure if the paste would work in this case so I wouldn’t recommend it. You could use fresh mint instead of basil though.

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2019
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  • Can you please post your ‘middle eastern salad’?
    Greatly appreciate it!

    • — Joojoo on November 22, 2019
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    • Hi JooJoo, If you have my cookbook, it’s on page 92. If you don’t, email me at [email protected] and I’ll reply back with the recipe.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2019
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  • This is one of the best salads , I have made. I cut down the oil to 1/4 cup.. it’s easy to make and goes well with pasta.

    • — Coco on November 17, 2019
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  • Wonderful salad – honestly, one of the best ever and for keeps, I’ll be making this regularly from now on

    • — Kishan on November 2, 2019
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  • Hello! Can I use an immersion blender instead of a food processor? This looks really wonderful but I don’t think I want to buy a food processor just to make it! Thanks!

    • — Kim on October 24, 2019
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    • Sure, Kim, that will work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 25, 2019
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  • My guests loved the salad, and I especially loved the fresh-tasting salad dressing. I did use a whole red bell pepper, and a lot of it was left on guests’ salad plates.
    I made this salad again just for my husband and me with some of the leftover dressing. I used less red pepper but we loved the addition of some cubed avocado.

    • — Phyllis on October 24, 2019
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  • Jenn,
    How long do you think the dressing will keep?

    • — Flo on October 21, 2019
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    • Hi Flo, It should keep well for 3-4 days in the fridge. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 22, 2019
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  • how long does the dressing last kept in the refrigerator?

    • — Janet on September 22, 2019
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    • Hi Janet, It would probably keep well for 3-4 days.

      • — Jenn on September 22, 2019
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  • Did you use kalamata or black olives?

    • — Mary on September 18, 2019
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    • Kalamata 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2019
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  • This is my favorite salad, ever – so simple, but so delicious. I do not like store bought dressings, and I usually just use balsamic vinegar and oil because I’ve rarely been able to find a dressing I really like. This is so, so good. I looked forward to salads every day the week that I made this. I wanted to use every drop of that dressing. It’s a keeper.

    • — Donna W on September 18, 2019
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  • I made this tonight to accompany your (wonderful) spaghetti and meatballs. It was fresh and delicious. I used an immersion blender to simplify clean up, and I always add a couple of teaspoons of water to ensure a good smooth texture. We are looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow. Thanks for this great recipe.

    • — Bonnie on September 15, 2019
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  • Terrific love 💕 it

    • — Stormy Weather on September 9, 2019
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  • From an Italian it is a wonderful salad. Love your blog and your cookbook! I have made so many of your recipes-all delicious and easy to follow

    • — Pam on September 5, 2019
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    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 5, 2019
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  • How do you think this dressing would taste if used in an italian-style pasta salad? I LOVE the salad version….but have been requested to make a pasta salad for a potluck?

    • — Jenika on September 3, 2019
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    • I think it would be delicious! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 3, 2019
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  • I LOVE this salad. I am a salad maker from way back and didn’t think a ‘simple’ salad like this could be that inspiring. However, this has become one of our new go-to recipes; we make it every time we have company now and we are complimented on it every time. Thank you!

    • — Sandi on July 12, 2019
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    • I will preface by saying, love your blog and so many of your recipes and have your cookbook. Did not like the salad dressing at all. Too much basil and kinda meh on flavor. Still think you are terrific.

      • — nancy on August 2, 2019
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  • Call me crazy BUT I made this for a dinner party of 4 and everyone raved about it. SO, now I am planning on serving it for a dinner for 140. Working on my grocery list today…..Loved the homemade dressing and the colors of the salad with the dressing were a delight to the eyes. I am serving it with your Baked Ziti with Sausage and garlic bread.

    • — Susan Campbell on June 12, 2019
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    • Wow – good luck, Susan!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2019
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      • Well…I served 167 people and many raved about the salad and the dressing. We used leftover dressing over pasta/sausage a few days later and that was delicious also. I served the salad with your Baked Ziti recipe. A great success!! Thank you for taking the time and effort to make your recipes easy to follow and they always turn out delicious.

        • — Susan Campbell on July 18, 2019
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        • 💕

          • — Jenn on July 18, 2019
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  • I made this salad for a potluck…talk about YUM!!! Not to worry about extra dressing. I made myself a smaller version to eat for lunch the rest of the week🥰 Thanks for a delicious recipe!

    • — Pam on May 29, 2019
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  • Great salad! The colors are beautiful and the flavors all work well together. I learned long ago the yumminess of homemade dressings. You can never go back to bottled! Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe🥰

    • — Pam on May 6, 2019
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  • Seriously the best salad ever! I make it for almost every gathering and have never left without someone requesting the recipe.
    Love, love, love this fresh, light salad. ♥️

    • — Christina L on May 1, 2019
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    • Can I freeze batches of this dressing? I have a TON of basil in the garden and one can only eat so much pesto in a year. I was hoping that maybe I could freeze it and have delicious dressing all year. Thanks!

      • — Turtle on May 31, 2019
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      • Hi, I’ve never frozen it so I can’t say for sure, but a few readers have commented that they have frozen it successfully. 🙂

        • — Jenn on May 31, 2019
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  • Absolutely awesome salad/dressing and crowd pleaser… thank you so much for sharing:-)

    • — Jenny on April 26, 2019
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    • I made this salad to take to a Father’s Day get together and everyone loved it! So did I! I was craving it so much the next day that I made a smaller version for home.
      Kim W.

      • — Kim Wisser on June 24, 2019
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      • 🙂

        • — Jenn on June 25, 2019
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  • Hello Jenn. I must tell you, your recipes are amazing. World class. I have made several dishes with your recipes. WOW. Keep up the great work.

    • — Louie Grillman on April 17, 2019
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    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2019
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  • Absolutely delicious salad, although the dressing would probably do for 12 people rather than 6! I will definitely make (a half portion) again!

    • — Sylvia on April 17, 2019
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  • I made this salad for my dinner club and it was a hit. Easy, fresh and delicious. Goes great with the bolognese recipe on this site, which was made unplanned by another member of our group!

    • — Stephanie on April 11, 2019
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  • So delicious! I have eaten this for 4 days this week!!! So refreshing and easy. Love all your recipes (especially your desserts)!

    • — Jennie on April 11, 2019
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  • I’ve made this salad for two dinner parties and both times everyone raved about it. The dressing is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, tangy, just like Jenn promised. It tastes so incredibly fresh and the best part is you can prepare it a few hours in advanced and just leave it to chill in the fridge until serving time. I’m never going back to bottled Italian dressing after this.

    • — Ying on March 25, 2019
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    • I’m not a fan of parsley. Is there something I could substitute?

      • — Jane on September 30, 2019
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      • Hi Jane, you can just use more basil in place of the parsley. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

        • — Jenn on October 1, 2019
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  • Wow!!! I don’t know what I missed but i do not like this dressing at all! Jen’s blog and cookbook are pretty much the only places I go for my daily cooking these days and I have never been disappointed. That’s why I was excited to use this salad for my dinner party tomorrow. Good thing I made it a head of time! Now I can move on to plan B.

    • — Gloria on March 8, 2019
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  • Very flavorful dressing. Healthy choice.

    • — Mary on March 5, 2019
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  • recipe for the salad dressing?

    • — miffy calhoun on February 4, 2019
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    • Hi Miffy, if you scroll down to the full recipe, you’ll see the ingredients/instructions for the dressing there. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2019
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  • Fabulous dressing !

    • — Lynn on January 13, 2019
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  • HELP, please!! I just made this delicious dressing but used very large garlic cloves…although the basil flavor comes through nicely I’d like to reduce the garlic flavor some…any suggestions?? Add lemon juice or ?? Thanks for your help!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on December 24, 2018
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    • Hi Wendy, The best way to fix it is to add more oil and vinegar.

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2018
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  • My culinary class makes this salad over and over again, because it is such a crowd pleaser!

    • — Jana Sims on December 23, 2018
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  • Can I make this dressing in a blender? I don’t have a food processor.

    Thank you!

    • — Bobbie C. on December 22, 2018
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    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2018
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  • I love, love, love this salad! And so do all my friends. I have made it many times and it’s a always hit. I have been asked for the recipe almost as many times as I’ve made it.

    • — Christina on December 20, 2018
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  • For the big Italian salad if you use butter lettuce in place of the Romaine would you measure by cups?

    • — Sue Rolls on December 3, 2018
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    • Sure, that would work. You’d probably need the equivalent of 10 – 11 cups. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2018
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  • Hi does this serve 6 as a side salad? Or a main? I’m hoping to serve 15 people as an accompaniment to lasagna

    • — Rob on November 29, 2018
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    • Hi Rob, the portions are more like side salads, so for a group of 15 you’d need to double or triple the recipe. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2018
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  • Perfect italian dressing. Better than any bottled dressing you can buy. Much healthier too!

    • — Karin Walker on November 19, 2018
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  • I was asked to make a salad for a small get together and I was really bummed because I don’t really like salad. However, I looked up salads under your recipes and found this one and boy was I glad that I did! This was a huge hit, even with me! Loved the combination of flavors. This will definitely be my go to salad recipe!

    • — stephanie on October 19, 2018
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  • This salad and dressing is so good, perfect for Italian dinners. I have added pepperoni, shaved pecorino and croutons when serving it with minestrone soup

    • — Jane on October 4, 2018
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  • can I keep dressing in fridge up to 2 weeks?
    thanks, Bev

    • Hi Bev, unfortunately, I don’t think this will last for 2 weeks – the maximum I would suggest is 5 days. Sorry!

  • Great and light salad! Thank you

  • This is my favorite go-to salad for my Italian dinners

  • I love this salad and have made it many times. With the recent problems with romaine lettuce, I am hesitant to serve it to guests. Do you have another suggestion?

    • Hi Carol – glad you like it! You could use butter lettuce, iceberg, or just mixed greens in place of the Romaine.

  • I’ve made this salad for a few potlucks now, and in each case people devoured it and raved about the dressing.

  • Can’t wait to make this for Father’s Day!! I’m battling with the cheese issue, though. Are there any other cheeses you think would work with this dressing? Would mozzarella be the wrong flavor? Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    • Hi Amie, I’d go with a salty, tangy cheese like feta, but you could absolutely use fresh mozzarella if you like.

    • Has this dressing ever been tried with apple cider vinegar?

      • — L on April 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • Ever since I found this recipe, it’s been a favourite! The compliments you will get on this abound. The ribboned carrots, the mixed olives – it’s perfect. (I also throw in an avocado if I have a ripe one available.) But what REALLY makes it is your dressing!!! Someone asks for the recipe every time I make it. It also conveniently feeds 6 as a starter salad or a generous side. Thank you!!

  • How far in advance can you make this dressing?

    • Hi Christina, the dressing will be at its best for 2 – 3 days.

  • Can you suggest a different lettuce other than romaine until the E coli outbreak has been resolved? I’ve made this fabulous salad so many times to rave reviews and want to make it for this Mother’s Day but don’t want to take a chance with romaine, even if it’s from CA. Thank you. I’m hoping to get your cookbook this weekend. I’ve dropped so many hints with my family !

    • Hi Trina, You could use butter lettuce, iceberg, or just mixed greens. Have a great Mother’s Day; I hope your family has gotten the hint and you receive the cookbook! 🙂

      • Update: I got the cookbook today 😀 and the butter lettuce was the perfect substitute!

    • Hi Jenn, have made this many times because it is so fresh and delicious. Unfortunately I am in a jam and don’t have any fresh parsley. Can dried be used or maybe another substitute? Thank you, KimK

      • — Kim K on July 16, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Kim, you could used dried parsley (you’ll need about 1/4 cup) but I would probably just use more basil in its place. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on July 16, 2019
        • Reply
  • Another winner! Sometimes I throw in avocado. I like it with Jenn’s baked ziti… wonderful!

  • How many people does this salad serve?

    • Hi Roma, it serves 6. Hope you enjoy!

  • My family loved this – even the picky eaters! I made it exactly like the recipe except I omitted the olives

  • I love this salad!! It is now my “go-to” salad – the freshness and flavours of the dressing really makes it something special.

  • Hi, can I use curly parsley instead of flat leaf parsley

  • Love it

  • I made this salad over the weekend for a dinner party with my in-laws. It was a huge hit, thanks to the yummy dressing. If I wasn’t minding my manners, I might have just licked the salad bowl 😉 I love the spice from the garlic and the touch of sweetness from the honey. The ingredients are handy and it easily zips together in my blender. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for another keeper!

  • This salad dressing is a real winner! This recipe is going in my “keep” file for sure! Thanks for another fantastic recipe.

  • I have made this recipe several times. This week it was because I needed a substantial veggie dish for a side with leftovers. It worked beautifully. I have recently lost 40 lbs. and my husband needs to gain weight.
    This salad is perfect for our needs. Meets my big, bold flavor, lower calorie need, while I give him a heavier carb meal.
    Thanks so much.

  • This recipe is a total winner! People rave over it every time I make it and it all disappears. The fresh herbs in the dressing take it over the top. I’ve made this over and over – it’s now in my permanent rotation. Thanks for another great dish!

  • Made this today. This is the way my family likes salads, big and lots of flavor. It was excellent. My daughter is allergic to corn and most bottled dressing have some corn in it. This is now our go to salad! Loved it!

  • This is one of my very favorite salads! I’ve made it several times, and everyone loves it. The dressing is fabulous. When I need a savory, healthy salad, this is my go to!

  • This has become my go-to salad dressing! It’s so fresh and zesty tasting, and it lasts really well in the fridge. I especially appreciate the fact that it puts a lot of parsley to good use.

    I generally omit the honey, as I feel that the dressing is great without it as long as I’m using a high quality, fruity olive oil.

  • The dressing in this recipe is our new favorite – something a little different from our regular vinaigrette. Since I don’t often have fresh basil on hand during winter months, I’ll substitute pesto.

  • Made this recipe to take to a potbluck. The theme was Italian, and my contribution was well received. The dressing was delicious.

  • Great to see salad recipe featured by you. More please. The dressing makes a salad in my opinion and this is delicious. I use hardly any honey, but others may like it just the way it is as written.

    • — Catherine France
    • Reply
  • My new go to dressing

  • I took this to a luncheon and it was a big hit. Will make it often

  • I wrote before in the wrong spot!!
    Loved the salad. I added thinly sliced fennel bulb because I like the crispness and anise flavor.

    • — Mary Kay thompson
    • Reply
  • Absolutely wonderful!

  • Excellent salad as is!!
    My go to when I bring a salad to a dinner party/potluck. Friends always ask me for the recipe!

  • How long will this dressing stay fresh in the fridg?

    • Hi Joan, it will be at its best for 2 – 3 days.

  • Very nice, bright tasting (and looking) salad.

    I substituted Greek mizithra (?) for the Ricotta Salata on the recommendation of the cheesemonger, and I made a crusty loaf of bread as well and used the leftover dressing as a dipping oil.

  • Made this recipe for a work potluck, it was excellent. The dressings was a huge hit. Shared your site with my co workers. I rate this 5 stars. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Judith.

  • What kind of olives? Kalamata?

    • Hi Celina, Use anything you like but, yes, kalamata olives would be a good choice.

  • I absolutely love this recipe. It’s a crowd pleaser every time, especially with my picky husband and 6 year old. Perfect Sunday night dinner. The dressing is easy to make. I used my blender and saved the extra for another night.

  • This is my go-to summer pot luck salad. People even request it when they know I’m coming. I have started doubling the dressing and bringing the extra as a hostess gift. Friends have told me they love to use it on their own salad the following day or even for drizzling over fish or chicken. It’s so delicious.

  • I was shocked at how fantastic this salad was. The dressing is amazing. I made it for a potluck dinner with friends and everyone devoured it. Most people went back for seconds.

  • The dressing is scrumptious! So fresh and full of flavors! I made it for my son’s birthday party this past sunday and everyone loved it! I tripled the recipe and still had leftover, which i used on a sandwich (instead of mayo), it’s almost like a pesto sauce. I bet it will also be delicious on pasta!

  • Delicious dressing. So fresh and different. I hate bottled dressing so many additives in them. Always looking for new ones. I will make this again.

  • Making this dressing now in anticipation of a girls weekend away in five days. Will the dressing keep til then? Should I freeze? Can’t wait to serve this beautiful salad alongside some stuffed shells. A decadent meal – thank you!

    • Hi Stacey, I think it should be fine in the refrigerator for 5 days. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • This is now my go-to salad for almost any meal! Crisp, fresh, and delicious. If there are leftovers, they can almost always be eaten with lunch the next day.

  • I’ve made this multiple times and everyone loves the flavors of the dressing. Continuing the holiday celebrations tomorrow with family and am making this salad to serve with lasagna…my mom’s recipe…but I saw someone said you also have a great recipe. Next time! Happy new year!! 🍾

  • I made this last night for my husband and a friend of ours. We all LOVED it. GREAT salad dressing! I did use all of it for two small-ish heads of lettuce cut up, and it was heavily dressed but perfect. Thank you!

  • This dressing is awesome!

  • Planning on a spicy rosemary chicken penne dish for dinner tomorrow night, I’m wondering if this salad would be a nice a compliment or not? If not, could you recommend another salad?

    I love your recipes!!!

    • Hi Sharron, I think this salad would be perfect. Enjoy!

  • This salad is excellent!! Dressing is fabulous. We loved the fresh flavor. Served last night at my gourmet group dinner. Served veal ham rollups with fresh sage and tomato cream sauce and a side of wilted spinach and rigatoni. Bananas Foster for dessert!

  • This salad is incredible! I’ve made it 5+ times now. The salad dressing is SO good – I’ve even used it as a pasta sauce! It even freezes well- I just defrosted & re-blended in the vitamix.

    • Thank you for sharing! Will definitely try to freeze.

      • — Evita on November 23, 2018
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious! Can I make the dressing the day before?

  • Not a feta cheese fan. What other cheese could work with this. Love fontinella. Would that work.

    • Sure, Linda. Hope you enjoy!

  • Every single recipe of yours that I have tried is fascinating. I will cook with you with my eyes closed. Thank you.

  • I initially made this salad for a progressive dinner in my neighborhood and have made it several times since. It has been a big hit every time I’ve served it! The dressing is so bright and fresh and is equally good on grilled veggies. The recipe is easily tweaked for personal tastes and dietary concerns. It goes great with Jen’s lasagna recipe, which is also divine. Try this older recipe, you won’t be disappointed!

  • 5 stars! What a great recipe and easy to alter to make for a big crowd! I served this salad with lasagna for a huge crowd and it could not have been easier. It is a very flavorful and colorful salad and I had many requests for the recipe. I did not add parsley (preference) and I did add additional chopped basil to the salad mixture because I had it and our family really loves basil. Used Feta cheese. Yum!

  • I have made this Big Italian Salad several times for pot luck dinners at church and for large family gatherings. It is always a huge hit with everyone! “Lick the bowl clean” type of hit! I follow the recipe exactly, with the exception of using the organic mixed greens from Costco instead of the romaine. The dressing is what makes it spectacular – it is so fresh and lovely tasting. Be generous with the dressing – you will not regret it. When I take it for pot luck, I wait and put on the dressing right before it served. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • This is a wonderful salad, bright tasting and colorful, full of crunch. The dressing pulls it all together. Even leftovers are good! The first time I made it, I tried the ricotta salata cheese that Jen suggests, but now I use feta (my husband is Greek American, so of course I do!). My mother-in-law taught me to use feta in brine and to crumble it myself, rather than already crumbled feta, which has more taste in our opinion. Elaine Benes of “Seinfeld,” lover of “big salads,” would really go for this salad! I do, too.

  • I really love your zesty Italian dressing. Would that work on this big Italian Salad too?

  • Hi Jennifer — This dressing was FABULOUS! I am always looking for a good, homemade Italian dressing and yours really hit the spot. It’s so easy, too! Thanks again; I love your recipes!

  • A family member brought your salad dressing to a gathering it was so good I asked her for the recipe. Today I made for my self, not as good guess my garlic cloves were two big. So I started over and used no garlic this time and than blended it to make a larger batch. Voila perfection!!!! Thanks for a great dressing

  • Hi Jenn,
    Having a pot luck at work and plan on bring this salad. Could I add crisp pieces of pancetta to this dish? Thanks for your input. I so much enjoy your recipes.

    • Definitely, that sounds delicious :).

  • For me the best part of this recipe is the dressing. The stuff is amazing! I can feel the nutrition and goodness coursing through my veins after eating it. I will even use it as a spread on artisan crusty bread. I use a lot of basil. Those large plastic tubs, I use the whole thing. Then strip the leaves off an entire bunch of parsley and put all that in. Next I add oregano, one of those plastic containers of fresh organic oregano that hang on the rack, strip off the leaves and use it all. Then the garlic, salt, pepper, and honey. This makes a big batch, so I add at least a whole cup of olive oil and a half cup of good red wine vinegar. I was short on red wine vinegar tonight and added balsamic vinegar and some dry red wine to make up the difference. Came out fantastic. Oh, my food processer is not large enough to hold it all, so I blend it all up in a Blentec blender.

  • Had this over the weekend for family and it was a huge hit– everyone raved about it! I made a massive salad, eyeballed all of the salad components and used the whole jar of dressing and it was delicious. Basically was like a big marinated veggie salad. Used feta instead of ricotta salata because I couldn’t find it. I can’t wait to make this again!

  • I love this salad. I usually have the basil dressing in my refrigerator ready to go. This is one of the favorite salads and I make it often. Thank you!

  • I want to make a chef salad with chunks of deli meat. Will this dressing work? Would you have a preferred deli salad recipe?

    • — Gay Lee Freedman
    • Reply
    • Sure, Gay, I think this dressing would work nicely here. You could also consider this one, which has a bit of a Mediterranean bent, but is delicious on just about anything!

  • Awesome dressing!! (I didn’t have any parsley on hand so used cilantro instead. IT was delicious. Kids begged to have it for lunch the next day!)
    Can’t wait to try this with the parsley.

  • This is, without question, the greatest salad I’ve ever had! The dressing is incredible!! I’ve since made the dressing at least 10x! I cannot even believe how good it is! I’ve had numerous friends ask for the recipe & I send them here 🙂

  • Made the Big Italian Salad tonight to go along with pizza. It was a huge hit with everyone. Had lots of pizza left but no salad left! Will definitely be making this again!!

  • Absolutely amazing!! I have made the dressing – once using a Sicilian Lemon Vinigrette and once with a grapefruit Vinigrette and basil infused olive oil —so fantastic!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Made this salad for guests for a pizza night…there was lots of pizza left over but no salad! Love the dressing!! I used green olives, added garbanzo beans, and used shaved parmesan cheese. Will definitely be using this recipe again.

  • Hi Jen,

    I am making this salad for 12 people; do you think I should make double the dressing, in case one batch isn’t enough? I have made it before for 12, but cannot remember what I did!

    Thank you!


    • I think doubling it would be perfect. And if you have any left over, it keeps nicely for 2 – 3 days.

  • I could DRINK the dressing! I just discovered your website and have loved every single recipe tried! Thank you!!!!

  • I liked the salad and dressing but the rest of my family were not big fans of the dressing. I think too many fresh herbs for their taste. We prefer your other Italian dressing recipe which I use all of the time.

  • This dressing is spectacular! Made it ahead and refrigerated for 5 hours. This is the first time I used ricotta salata cheese. If you’re unfamiliar with this cheese (like I was), I found it to be the same texture as feta cheese but extremely mild. My feta hating family wolfed this salad!
    Jenn, your recipes never disappoint!

  • This is by far one of the best salads I’ve ever made. I make it frequently for large gatherings. The dressing tastes so bright and fresh. Everyone always wants the recipe!

  • I have to THANK YOU generally I may try 1 or 2 recipes from a blog but I have been using yours all day today. You have such a diverse amount of recipes and ideas. We had Lasagna for dinner (My Great Grandmothers recipe) and I paired it with this salad, some crusty fresh baked Italian Bread and Sangria talk about a satisfying comfort food dinner!! The only thing I added was some Artichoke Hearts and Kalamata Olives to the Salad Your Dressing SUBLIME

  • One of the best “winter” salads I have ever presented to company and as a bonus I used the leftover dressing drizzled on focaccia and tomatoes and broiled the whole thing.

    • Has this dressing ever been tried with apple cider vinegar?

      • — LAM on April 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • This recipe brought me to your website and I am so glad it did. This is my mom’s favorite salad (probably her favorite food). The dressing works perfectly with the salad. My family has made this salad about 15 times since October – once for 50 people! Thanks for this great recipe.

  • The dressing steals the show with this salad! Absolutely delicious.

  • So easy and good, did it without the olives and cheese. The dressing is amazing better then any store bought and healthier, no need for that added soy/canola or other garbage in in-store bought dressings.

  • Tried this out on a dinner party served alongside lasagna and garlic bread, it was a big hit! The salad dressing is divine, and I will be making it again. I ran out of ricotta and used Parmesan instead, the saltiness of the Parmesan was actually a nice compliment to the rest of the salad ingredients and I might do it again next time. Thank you for the excellent salad recipe!

  • Had to make this with champagne white wine vinegar as I was out of red wine vinegar. Still delicious with the fresh herbs!

  • LOVED this salad! I took a risk and made it for a dinner party without test trying it first after reading the glowing reviews and I was not disappointed 🙂 everyone commented on how delicious the dressing was, this recipe is divine and easy to make! It’s so hard to find good salad recipes and I’m so impressed with this! 🙂 thank you!

  • Could I pair this with a slow cooker pork roast?

    • Sure Catherine. If the pork has Italian flavors/seasonings, that would probably pair best with this salad.

  • Another fantastic recipe! My husband and I are trying to eat less processed foods and have been able to do so with your delicious recipes. For the dressings made from oil, should the extra dressing be refrigerated- such as the dressing in this salad and the Dijon mustard vinegrette dressing for the roasted beet salad?

    • Glad you liked it Amy! Yes, I would refrigerate whatever remaining dressing you have.

  • Perfect salad! I always receive so many compliments on this. I also like to make extra dressing to use it throughout the week. I normally use feta, but have been meaning to try it with the ricotta salata.

  • Absolutely delicious! My favorite salad dressing. The fresh herbs really make it. I honestly have not tried any recipe from this site that my husband and I haven’t LOVED! My absolute favorite recipe site! I easily make at least one recipe from here a week. Thank you, Jenn for your wonderful recipes.

  • Finest Italian dressing I’ve ever tried! Thanks!

  • The salad dressing is so delicious! We use it as a sauce for multiple items!!

  • I want to make this for a dinner party on Thursday. Can I use balsamic vinegar instead?

    • Yes Monet, I think you could get away with using balsamic vinegar. Enjoy the dinner party!

  • Like so many of the reviews, we loved the salad. The dressing is definitely key as you could do a lot of vegetable combinations.
    However, the first time I made the dressing in my blender, the consistency was thin, the second time, my blender was broken so I made it in my food processor and the consistency was more creamy. Both were great, your thoughts?

    • Hi Kimberlee, Interesting that you got a thicker dressing from your food processor– I find that my blender usually results in a thicker dressing or sauce. I guess from here on out, you can just use whichever appliance gives you the texture you like best.

  • This salad is incredible!!! Every time I make it for a gathering or guests, I get requests for the recipe. It tastes fresh and light and fabulous. Thank you!

  • Preparing to make this wonderful salad and dressing once again for our family Easter brunch! This year I am using some beautiful olive oil I brought back from Spain for the dressing. I also buy really good Feta in a block, and cut into cubes rather than crumbles. Really great combination of veggies!

  • This was sooooo good! I’m so happy I stumbled upon it. The dressing is amazing. Definitely a keeper.

  • I made this salad for a dinner party with friends last night. It was a huge hit! Since when is salad more popular then a main course of prime rib? The dressing is amazing. This will be my go-to salad recipe from now one. How long can I store the dressing in the fridge when I leftover dressing?

    • Hi Nicole, So glad it was a hit! I would say it keeps well for 2-3 days.

  • Hi Jenn,
    I haven’t made the dish yet but I’m wondering if the honey was omitted would it alter the flavor? Could Splenda be substituted for the honey with any success? Thanks.

    • Yes Diana, that’s fine. Enjoy!

  • Absolutely wonderful! I think the dressing is even better the next day when the flavors have blended a bit. I made this for a big family Italian dinner everyone loved it. It’s a keeper!

  • This looks fantastic!! Do you think beets would go well with?

    • Hi Renée, I do think beets would work. 🙂

    • I added roasted beets and the salad was fantastic!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Just wanted to say this salad dressing was absolutely phenomenonal. I made it for a best friend lunch party and it was a Big hit. Everyone wanted the recipe. Thank you kindly for sharing. God Bless you and your family.

  • Awesome salad! Even our teenage boys were taking seconds and thirds! Will become a standard in our house.
    Thank you for your awesome selection of great recipes.

  • This is a family favorite -even my sons love this recipe and actually ask for it. The dressing is fabulous!!

  • Italian dressing (not the bottled kind, thank goodness) DELICIOUS!

  • Yet another winner which I will definitely make again. I added a bit more vinegar and a bit less honey since but I expect most people would like the recipe just as written.

  • I’ve made this salad and dressing for various dinner parties and get-togethers and people LOVE it. (Even when others are bringing a salad, I get requests to bring just the dressing, lol.) It goes great with any Italian dish — the tangy, sour flavors of the vinegar, olives, peppers, etc. complement the richness of lasagna, etc. Super easy to double and triple, too. This recipe is in my regular rotation now!

  • Can I make this dressing ahead and just keep it in a mason jar in the fridge?

    • Sure Brooke, the dressing will keep well in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.

  • Excellent salad dressing in this recipe – the fresh basil and parsley add a ton flavor and make for a gorgeous fresh dressing. Loved the addition of ricotta salata!

  • PS. I saw the star rating after I hit the submit!

  • This was a wonderful salad! I made it for our fellowship luncheon for Sabbath. We have several gluten free and vegan people and so I put the feta cheese on the side as well as the onions. The dressing was so well liked that one lady, who normally does not like oil dressings, requested the recipe! Thank you Jenn for all of your recipes that are tried and truly 5 star creations!

  • Hi Jenn! I have tried pepperoni’s (bottled/Maserati brand) into garden salads whenever having Italian food and personally like this addition very much. Am thinking of making this salad and adding the pepperoncinu’s. My ?? Is do you think it will work,flavor wise, with all of the ingredients in your recipe, or do you this and the red peppers might be too much and instead I use one or the other? Thank you very much for your opinion!

    • Hi Mary, I’m not familiar with that dressing so it’s hard to say. I would suggest just drizzling some on the salad and tasting it. If it appeals to you, you can add more!

  • I highly recommmend this recipe. It simply tastes so fresh and so good. My family requested for it 3 nights in a row after I made it the first time. I definitely rate it a 5 star.

  • I’d love to make the dressing but basil is out of season…any chance I can substitute pesto for the basil and get a similar taste? I know there is nothing like fresh basil.

    • Hi Maryann, You could use pesto — and it would probably be delicious — but it will be an entirely different dressing 🙂

      • Made it with the basil and it WAS Delicious! Used the little bit of extra dressing to marinate a tomato/cucumber salad. Thank you for sharing; it is my new favorite salad dressing!

        • So glad it turned out!

  • The Big Italian Salad is great. I love it with feta cheese; ricotta salata, not so much. The dressing reminds me of salsa verde. Great recipe. Thanks, Jenn.

  • LOVED this salad. The dressing was amazing. I served it the next night with meat as well.
    The ricotta salata cheese was a nice addition to our salad as well.

  • Thank YOU Jenn once again for sharing your Big Italian Salad recipe. Loved the dressing and totally agree … store bought would not compare. I sent my husband many miles to an Italian specialty store and he obtained everything REAL Italian! ?Followed recipe exactly. No substitutes!
    Also made your Pasta E Fagioli with it. Ate some and froze batches for later. Froze perfectly.

    There’s no question about it … YOU are my go-to site for what to make. Every recipe is now a keeper.

    Going to try your Pumpkin bread now.

  • The salad dressing is amazing. I made it my first time for a dinner party and the guests all raved about it.

    The salad was awesome too, even without the cheese, because I decided to make this salad at the last minute and couldn’t get it.

  • what is the difference between Italian parsley and the regular parsley that I buy in our local grocery store? It looks different than our local parsley.

    • I use Italian parsley, which is also called flat leaf parsley — it is interchangeable with curly parsley, which has more of a ruffled appearance.

      • Who knew??? Here I thought I’d discovered something new. It’s been right in front of me on the shelves … for years!?

  • I used shaved Roman cheese instead; but over all salad and dressing are fabulous! Delicious!!

  • This is the BEST salad I’ve ever had! I make it often and take to parties where everyone raves. I love the dressing and enjoy it over pasta as well.

  • This salad is so crisp and refreshing, even in the dead of winter. It has become my go-to salad recipe when I want an all-vegetable salad.
    I make the recipe exactly as written – the dressing is fresh and light. But the flavors can stand up to any main dish you pair it with.

  • I made this last night for company, with a few changes due to what was available in garden. I’m always looking for the perfect salad dressing, and this is it. Fabulous!

  • Can this be made with the green olives that stuffed with pimento?

    • Hi Carol, Yes, that’s fine. Enjoy!

  • I made the salad for my team building event at work and my co-workers loved it! I did not make the dressing. I had a bottle of Wishbone House Italian Dressing on the side. Some coworkers liked the salad even without the dressing.

    • — Monica Irene Austin
    • Reply
  • Chef Jenn,
    My I substitute fresh oregano for dried? If so how much? I LOVE your recipes, makes me seem like a gourmet cook for everyday meals. You teach so well and make it seem so easy. Just made the chipotle dressing last night-marinated chicken , first bite husband said whatever you did with that chicken its amazing! I always follow his comments with “Once Upon A Chef”. : ) Thank you!

    • Hi Laura, That is so nice to read! Thank you! You can use fresh oregano (I’d use about double the amount) but I have to say that oregano is the one herb I actually prefer dried — fresh can have a bitter taste. Hope that helps!

  • I found this recipe after a Google search for SOMETHING different for my salad tonight. I’ve been making salad dressings for years but they always seem to be the same. I have a gargantuan herb garden so wanted to be sure I made something really herby. This salad was PHENOMENAL. Best dressing I’ve ever made by miles. I added some quartered Kalamata & Castelvetrano olives and a few sliced pepperoncinis to the salad and increased the vinegar in the dressing because we like it tart…. And seriously, I cannot express enough thanks for not just the best salad dressing recipe but a technique I’ll use & expand on forever. Much gratitude.

    • So glad you enjoyed, Kristine!

  • Made this salad and dressing last night. The picky men in my family LOVED the dressing. It was a hit with them and our dinner guests. We all enjoyed the freshness of all the ingredients. Happy summer!!

  • Hi Jenn,
    This salad is FANTASTIC!!! The combination of ingredients and the fresh herb dressing was perfect! I made a lasagna and served this salad with it for guests and it was terrific. Your site is really impressive and your pictures and great. Thanks

  • This salad went perfectly alongside penne with Bolognese and broccolini with garlic. All of our guest raved about the salad the most. I used the leftover dressing for a few lunch salads. Great recipe!

  • Awesome recipe! It was so fresh and delicious. I will never buy store bought salad dressing again! Thank you!

  • Wow. This brought the house down. We were licking the plates. Thanks for another winner.

  • Should the dressing be refrigerated?

    • Hi Sharon, Yes, the dressing should be refrigerated.

  • Thank you for the recipe! I made it tonight for a dinner party. I served it with Bucatini all’ Amatricana and parmesan breadsticks. It was a big success. The dressing came together perfectly in my Vitamix. I will be using it again and linking it soon from my website. Katie

  • I wanted to tell you how much I love your recipes. Having grown up on lots of cassaroles and jello molds I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and find your recipes delicious but also fairly uncomplicated. I served Chicken Marbella for my family at Christmas and they were all impressed, even my sister-in-law who is from Spain and a wonderful cook herself. Thanks again!Anne Knudsen

    • Thank you for the wonderful feedback, Anne. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • This salad is so delicious! It is the dressing. It is amazing and so fresh. I will never again make any other italian salad dressing.

  • This salad is DELICIOUS! The combination of ingredients and dressing was perfect! Love it, especially for entertaining!

  • All round excellent salad. Easy to make and a definite crowd pleaser.

  • I made this salad a few times. The toppings are perfect: cucumber, olives, shaved carrots.. just yum. I really like the dressing in this recipe and have used it for other salads. Just make a big batch and use throughout the week.

  • This salad sounds perfect with lasagna.
    I’m having dinner for 20, so which ingredients should be multiplied (5 times?) and which not?

    • Hi Toni, The salad easily serves 6 so I would multiply all of the ingredients by 3 or 4, depending on how many other dishes you are serving. Hope everyone enjoys it and please come back and let me know how it turns out.

  • How many recipes of dressing should I make to serve 20 people? If I make 5,recipes do salad, do I need 5 recipes of dressing also?

    • Hi Donna, I just updated the servings on this; I think it’s actually closer to 6. I think you’d be safe with 3-1/2 (and 4 at the most) recipes of the dressing.

  • This dressing is so versatile! I use it on this basic salad, on zucchini, tomato and onion and on a caprese salad. Delicious!

  • This dressing is awesome. Love it

  • In your big Italian salad you say to use home made vinaigrette dressing but you don’t state ingredients or amounts. I would like to make this.

    • Hi Peg, Did you try clicking on the “Recipe” tab? All the ingredients are listed there, as well as the instructions. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Attended a pot luck Italian feast last night and I was asked to bring a salad. So glad I found this recipe — it was perfect! Not to mention incredibly easy to make! Even found the Ricotta cheese at Whole Foods as suggested in the notes. Thanks!

  • This salad dressing is super simple and quick and absolutely delish!
    i’ve made your asparagus soup ( a few times now) and the chocolate meringues as well and they were amazing.
    I love love love your recipes and website and your pics are great… best way for no fail executions of your recipes.
    thank you!!

    • Thank you, Lynne!

  • Can you clarify the ingredients for the dressing please as the pic appears to show a cheese but this not listed. Can you alo give cup measures in fluid ounces . Thanks

    • Hi Charles, The cheese is Ricotta Salata or Feta; it’s the last ingredient listed.

  • Wow,what a hit this was with my bookclub group.
    Family finished leftovers next day and still tasted great.
    Went well with Lasagne.
    Will be saving this recipe.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  • Can this dressing be made ahead of time? How long?

    • Hi Victoria, Yes, it’s fine to make it a day or two ahead of time.

  • This was a great dressing. I did use less red wine vinegar. It’s so overwhelming that the 1/4 cup seemed like a lot so I added it in slowly. Also, I used Queso Fresco as the cheese. It’s a Mexican cheese, very crumbly, salty and fresh. It’s a light, airy cheese and with such a fresh dressing it worked great. Thanks for a great dressing!

  • I made this today and it was delicious! One question, can I leave the honey out next time? Thanks for the great, easy recipes and the useful tips!

    • Hi Cleo, Yes it is fine to leave out the honey.

  • I was looking for a dressing for a dinner party Sunday night. I came across your recipe. Wow it received rave reviews and is fantastic.

    I loved it so much that I woke up yesterday and ate a salad for breakfast. I will keep on making this.


  • I’m making a lasagna for some friends, and wanted to make something different than the basic dinner salad. I was able to follow everything step-by-step except for the cheese. I got feta, but it was moldy, so I opted to leave it out. The dressing turned out FANTASTIC, and will definitely be my go-to Italian from now on. Thanks for the recipe! Hope it’s a hit with these foodies.

  • I made this tonight – it was tasty and super fresh! One of my favorite salads and I’ll be making this a lot in the future! Even my 4 year old loved it!

    I’m not much of an olive person though, so I don’t know much about them. When I went to my grocery store and was faced with the olive bar, I was totally confused! What kind of olives do you use?

    • Hi Crystal, So glad you enjoyed! As for the olives, yes, it can be confusing! I love the black kalamata olives or the large green Greek olives but it’s really a matter of personal preference…taste a few to see which ones you like. I also try to buy my olives pitted so we don’t have to deal with the pits.

  • Why use dried Oregano? Is fresh better?
    Can’t wait to try this dressing!

    • Hi Max, Fresh oregano can actually be a little bitter, so dried is better here. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Love this salad so much! I add cannellini or kidney beans, as well as thinly sliced grilled chicken. Salmon would also be a nice addition. The dressing is so amazing! I like to make a meal of just the salad with some French bread.

  • Spectacular salad. Worked perfectly with Marcella Hazan Lasagne Bolognese (with a few roasted artichokes thrown in).

  • Fabulous salad and home-made dressing!! I added artichokes to the salad, too!!

  • Jenn another great recipe. This is a wonderful salad. The dressing is delicious with the fresh herbs. I took it to a pizza party and it was enjoyed by all.

  • I’ve been making this Salad non-stop and everyone that has eaten it has asked me for the recipe.

    Thank you <3

  • This has become my go-to dressing. I usually double the recipe and make two bottles, to utilize more of the fresh spices (they make all the difference).
    Thanks, Jenn!

  • I will be making this Sunday with lasagana. Looks like it can be made so many ways. It looks so good. Thanks. I needs this.

  • I made the dressing and loved it. I am now keeping a jar of this in the ‘fridge. I highly recommend making this often, especially if you’ve got a little herb garden!

  • This is by far the best homemade dressing I have ever made. I don’t think I can ever buy store bought again.

  • Like Debbie, I also made it for a progressive dinner in my neighborhood and it was a big hit. Everyone loved the dressing. i made it again this past weekend for a mother’s day BBQ and my super foodie parents loved it as well. I used feta for the cheese sprinkles. The dressing has such a great spring, fresh flavor. Two thumbs up.

  • I made this for an Italian progressive dinner last weekend and everyone loved it. This weekend I’m bringing it a family party. I couldn’t find the sheep ricotta so I used crumbled goat cheese instead. Very yummy!!! Thank you!

  • This salad is so refreshing and full of multiple tastes.
    Super fresh, too. There was enough dressing to last for two salads for two dinners – which is always nice to have left-overs that taste fresh and new the second time around. Also, added about 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans and used a sprinkling of kalamata olives which added a whole new complex taste. Oh ya, I chose fat free feta – yummy – and used 1/2 the container for night one and the other 1/2 for night two. Thank you – I will continue to make your fantastic recipes. Like… the potato leek soup.

  • Made this salad for something different for a friend’s birthday dinner. Everyone absolutely LOVED it! Everyone was asking for the recipe, especially the dressing. I did add red onion, and had feta, mozzarella, croutons, artichoke hearts on the side for people to add if they desired. But the dressing was definitely a huge hit! Will definitely be adding this to our favorites list!

  • I made this for supper tonight, and we ate it with spaghetti and meatballs. So perfect! I loved every aspect of this salad.

    I used blue cheese, and my husband accidentally bought zucchini instead of cucumber, but it was still great!

  • I can’t get enough of this dressing, it is so fresh and delicious. Makes eating salad fun!

  • A staple in our house, the dressing is just fresh and fabulous. Always as a favorite…I’ve made it for holidays, brought it to dinner parties. The perfect addition to my repertoire. Keep ’em coming, Jen!

  • My daughterinlaw hopes that there are leftovers so she can take this salad home. It’s a big hit here.

  • I took this to a dinner party, and everyone raved about it! The dressing is so delicious and so healthy too! Thanks for all they healthy recipes!

  • I made this salad to bring to an Academy Awards watching party with some girlfriends last Sunday. I made a double batch. There ended up only being 4 of us left by the time we finally got around to eating dinner. Still, we polished off the bowl and one the girls asked for the dressing recipe. This was truly delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Made this salad last night. It is absolutely delicious. Followed recipe exactly but also added red onion.

  • This salad and dressing is fabulous! I first made it in December. All of the ingredients complement each other so well (I used feta as the cheese and also added some croutons). I’m making it again today to go along with the buttermilk fried chicken tenders 🙂 How long will the leftover dressing last in the fridge?

    • Hi Jennifer, It would probably keep well for 3-4 days.

  • I made this yesterday since I had almost everything in the fridge and added garbanzo beans to turn it into a whole meal. It was very good even though I didn’t have fresh basil or parsley for the dressing, which was probably the whole point of this salad.

  • I cannot express how much I loooove this salad! I’ve made it for so many guests and family, and it gets only rave reviews every single time. I enjoy adding cannellini beans, chopped walnuts and almonds to ours. I think next time I make it I’ll add sliced grilled chicken and homemade croutons. The dressing is hands-down my favorite homemade vinaigrette. I just can’t say enough good things about this salad! Thanks for an awesome recipe, Jennifer! Can’t wait to try more recipes from your site.

  • Delicious!! I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while. Finally made it tonight for guests, and got rave reviews. This salad is very pretty and very tasty! Excellent combination. Thank you!

    • — Rachel Schreiber
    • Reply
  • This salad dressing was AMAZING – I brought it to a dinner party on Saturday and I’m still getting requests today for the recipe! Excited that I stumbled upon your blog – thanks for sharing!

  • WoW….this was an AMAZING Salad. We usually eat my version of Greek Salad w/ homemade dressing (to die for), but thought that I’d change it up this time w/ this salad. My entire family LOVED it! It did take some time, but it paid off. I made this with Grilled Mediterranean Open-Faced Sandwiches….Yummm! is all you could hear at the dinner table. Thanks so much for the recipes and I love looking at the recipe step by step (I don’t need it, but it’s nice to see it) along with wonderful photography.

  • Dressing turned out great! I used it at a dinner party with Chicken Parmesan, and the salad bowl was picked clean. Thanks!

  • Came upon this in a Google search for an Italian salad and it was amazing! It was a great success at my fiance’s birthday dinner party! I look forward to following your site more in depth!

  • Thanks for a wonderful looking recipe! I am always looking for new combinations and homemade dressings. My favorite “go to” salad is a BLAT salad – Turkey Bacon, romaine lettuce, avocado, tomato (and usually some cucumber and maybe a tiny bit of red onion) with a dijon mustard homemade vinigrette. I will have to try your italian dressing. It looks like my next “Go To” dressing.

  • Love love love this salad. The dressing is amazing!

  • Great salad. I too tried the red onion. It took away from the other ingredients. Your way of combinations are on the mark.Thanks

  • Just made this salad to go along with lasagna for my daughter’s 13th birthday family dinner party — it was FANTASTIC and I can’t wait to make it again!!

  • Made this for Easter Sunday. The dressing is fresh and delicious. All the colors and taste–I will definitely be making this over the summer. Thanks!

  • Just tried your salad. That dressing is delicious – so fresh and springy! Thanks!

  • Wow..That looks so yummy and delicious..

  • I love that you made your own dressing… the bottled stuff is gross after realizing the color change….ewwww! 🙂 As always, wonderful pics!

  • Oh super yum! This looks great!

  • This looks great…so colorful! Love all the fresh herbs!

  • This looks great, although I’m surprised you haven’t included red onion (or scallions) in the salad…??

    Thanks for the site, and the great recipes!

    • Excellent, best dressing I have made in awhile! Combo of the ingredients was stellar. Thank you for such a great salad recipe.

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