Thursday, January 05, 2012

Recipe for Kalyn's Favorite Antipasto Chopped Salad (and Tips for Satisfying Salads at Home)

Fabulous Salads like this Antipasto Chopped Salad can help you stick to a healthful eating plan!

My favorite Antipasto Chopped Salad is on the menu today for our Month of Daily Phase One recipes; doesn't that look good?   This favorite salad of mine is like the kind you might order in an Italian restaurant, loaded with tasty ingredients like olives, hearts of palm, turkey pepperoni, marinated mushrooms, peperoncini, slices of mozzarella and capers.  Some people might look at all that's going on in this salad and decide to skip it because it will take too long to chop up all those antipasto ingredients.  But truthfully, interesting salads like this can be easy to pull together once you master a few tricks for satisfying salads.

If you'd like more salads like this in your life, I have three pieces of advice:

1)  Always keep lettuce that's chopped or torn, washed, and ready to eat in the fridge.  My friend Paula at Salad in a Jar, seals her prepped lettuce in jars with a FoodSaver machine. I do that sometimes, but when I'm eating salad often I just keep it in a plastic container with a snap-tight lid. Whenever I'm prepping lettuce I do enough for at least 3-4 salads so that I'll always have prepared lettuce in the fridge.

2)  Whether you make your own dressing or buy already prepared dressing, for a satisfying salad it's important to have a dressing that's really flavorful. For people following the South Beach Diet, tasty dressings with canola or olive oil and less than 3 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons are abundant if you don't want to make your own.  For my antipasto salads, I buy my favorite garlicky dressing from The Cinegrill, a long-time Salt Lake City restaurant that's so old they don't even have a website.  (If you're going to buy a favorite restaurant dressing, check the ingredients; some are loaded with sugar.)

3)  Finally, my main tip for making satisfying salads like this appear in your life more often is to prep generous amounts of all the "special" ingredients each time you're doing it, so that it's easy to just pull the prepared ingredients out of the fridge and throw together a salad.  All the things I use in this favorite salad will last in the fridge for more than a week, and I can easily eat this salad several times in a week without being tired of it.

Now here's more about how I make my favorite salad.  Even if you only use a few of these things, this salad would be pretty tasty, and there are other things you could also use if I've missed some of your own favorite salad additions.

Drain a can of regular black olives, and cut all the olives in half.

Chop up a generous amount of pepperoni or salami.  (Use turkey pepperoni for the South Beach Diet.

I love hearts of palm in my salad.  (They can be quite pricey, but Costco sells them in big jars that are pretty reasonable.

These marinated mushrooms are also a bit of a splurge, but it only takes a small handful of them to really bump up the flavor in the salad.

I always have jars of peperoncini in the fridge, and a small handful of these also adds a lot of flavor.

I use low-fat string cheese sliced into little rounds for the cheese in my salad.

Here's a photo that shows you how much of each ingredient I prep at once.  These little containers are about 5 inches across, and they stack up nicely in the fridge.

Lettuce is a personal choice, but I mostly use romaine lettuce, chopped or torn and washed in a salad spinner.

And one final ingredient I would never skip in a salad like this is capers, those briny little morsels that add so much flavor.   (And that well-used measuring spoon isn't too suitable for photos, oops.)

To make a salad, toss desired amount of lettuce with a couple of tablespoons of your favorite dressing.

Then toss in all the other ingredients of your choice and toss again.   I like a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper on this!

Kalyn's Favorite Antipasto Chopped Salad
(I chop up a generous amount of all ingredients and store in the fridge so I can make the salad several times during the week.)

chopped romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner
black olives, drained and cut in half
turkey pepperoni, cut in halves or quarters
hearts of palm, cut into slices
marinated mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters
peperoncini, stem cut off, drained, seeds removed, and cut into slices
string cheese, cut into small rounds
capers, 2-3 tsp. per salad
your favorite garlicky Italian dressing (I buy a sugar-free garlicky dressing from one of my favorite restaurants for this.)

Chop several heads of romaine lettuce, then wash and spin dry in a salad spinner (or wash by hand and dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.  

Cut up the olives, pepperoni, hearts of palm, mushrooms, peperoncini, and string cheese as described above.  (For the peperoncini, I cut the stem off with kitchen shears and put them in a colander to drain before I remove the seeds and cut them into strips, otherwise it's a rather juicy job!)

To make each salad, put desired amount of lettuce into a bowl that's big enough to toss ingredients.  Add salad dressing and toss until the lettuce is well-coated with dressing.  Add other ingredients as desired and toss again.  (Please don't skip the capers, which I think are one of the best things about this salad.)  Season salad with a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper and serve on individual serving plates.

Other Antipasto Ingredients You Could Use:
~roasted red peppers from a jar
~marinated asparagus
~green olives
~artichoke hearts
~roasted garlic
~chopped pickles
~thinly sliced smoked ham or turkey
~boiled eggs

South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making salad like this for the South Beach Diet, choose a dressing made with canola or olive oil with less than 3 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons.  It's also important to use lower-fat turkey pepperoni and string cheese.  All the other ingredients here are good low-glycemic choices, so enjoy!

More Satisfying Phase One Green Salads from Kalyn:
American Greek Salad 
Warm Scallop Caesar Salad
Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
Ottolenghi's Perfect Lettuce Salad with Radicchio, Radishes, Tomatoes, and Capers
Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing
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More to Chew On:


  1. Oh my laws! You have two of my favorite ingredients, pepperocini and hearts of palm. Oh and capers and olives. Okay its all good. I still haven't made it to Cinegrill, guess I'll have to give it a try for lunch. (hint, hint)

  2. All of those salty delicious antipasto treats make for some great salad mix-ins! Definitely a great way to keep a salad interesting!

  3. I can just imagine the amount of flavor packed into this salad! I'd probably substitute some chopped rotisserie chicken for the pepperoni; I like to buy a chicken every week, chop up all of the meat to use for salads, and make soup stock with the rest.

  4. I, too, love hearts of palm. I agree that having greens washed and chopped ready to go make salad eating so much easier. This salad looks great. Great idea for chopped string cheese. We buy it in bulk from Costco as I have two boys that think string cheese is a food group. :)

  5. Heidi, we should try Cinegrill sometime (although I admit I love their salad but I'm not crazy about their pasta dishes.)

    Joanne, I love all those ingredients!

    Lydia, chicken would be great in this too.

  6. Kelley, we were writing comments at the same time! I adore hearts of palm, and for dieting they are such a win. (String cheese is kind of a food group at my house too!)

  7. Thanks for such an inspiring post, Kalyn! I've resolved to eat more salads in 2012 and this sure is a winner. I think I could eat it every single day.

  8. Cheryl, so glad it's helpful!

  9. One of Josh's favorite salads. I better make it for him:)

  10. What a lovely looking salad, Kalyn! I have never even tried marinated mushrooms... they kind of scare me!

  11. Kalyn did you find the marinated mushrooms at Costco as well?

  12. Oh my. You must know how I love a chopped salad. A little bit of everything in each bite. Perfection. This one looks especially good.

    Instead of lamenting carb depravation I can sing the joys of flavor and satisfaction. Kalyn- You did it again!

  13. This has inspired me to prepare a big salad for lunch tomorrow -- I added deli turkey, black olives, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm and shredded swiss chese (from Trader Joe's -- all their cheeses are so good). Thanks!

  14. Thanks CJ!

    Lori, your salad sounds good. I wish Salt Lake had Trader Joe's!


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