Inspired by the famous Italian chopped salad at La Scala, this yummy salad recipe is packed with awesome ingredients and loaded with amazing crunchy textures and flavors thanks to marinated chickpeas, salami, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, Asiago cheese, and a zesty red wine dressing.
Salad might run through my veins like sugar does through those of a baker. There’s often a side simple salad with dinner, like my super simple arugula salad with shaved Parmesan, it could be more fruit filled or sometimes there’s no lettuce at all. But where I hit my real pleasure point is when I make a big daddy salad for a filling lunch or dinner, like my chopped Mexican kale salad or my Greek cobb salad. I live for hearty salads that make a meal.
This Italian chopped salad is inspired by one of my favorite salads of all-time, the La Scala Chopped Salad. If you’ve never heard of said salad, you’re missing an institution in the salad legion hall of fame. Okay, I just made that honor up, but all the same, Beverly Hills’ La Scala salad may very well be the Godfather of eating fresh, vibrant foods that has since become known as California cuisine.
The Original: La Scala Chopped Salad
Over the years I’ve done some serious research in discovering the secret to this salad and I think I’ve finally hit the nail on the lettuce head thanks to my adaptation of a recipe from the L.A. Times that is attributed to La Scala’s original recipe which of course, I have never been able to find online, but this one comes close. Is it exact? Probably not, you know how those chef’s can be, all secretive of their recipes. But it comes as close as my memory allows, so I say it’s perfect.
What is in an Italian Chopped Salad
There’s just something so satisfying about a chopped salad. They’re hearty and substantial, and won’t cause you to rummage through the snack bin an hour later. Truth be told, chopped salads typically are all about the fixins and less about the the lettuce (but what sets this one apart is using two different lettuces). Texture is important here. I use romaine for flavor and Iceberg for major crunch. Leave your delicate herb and spring mixes for another day. This salad requires heft!
This dressing I use features dry mustard instead of Dijon, and I think it’s truly the secret ingredient here. It definitely gives the dressing a different flavor than when I use standard Dijon and I really like it. That same dressing serves as a flavor-bomb marinade for this salad’s healthy dose of chickpeas. After 30 minutes of marinating, you’ve completely transformed an otherwise boring can of chickpeas. I love a recipe that works double time.
Here’s what’s in this Italian chopped salad:
- A zesty red wine and mustardy dressing
- Chickpeas (these get marinated in the dressing above, for extra flavor!)
- Romaine lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce (for that classic crunch)
- Asiago cheese
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Sundried tomatoes
- Salami — True to La Scala’s original, I added some local salami to the salad and that would be from Utah’s own Creminelli Sausages, specifically their Calabrese from one of my favorite local gourmet stores, Caputo’s Market & Deli.
How Do You Make a Chopped Salad
There may be a fair share of chopping involved, but this salad is a breeze. I’ve given my version of the La Scala salad a more Italian bent, because those are the flavors I crave. Marinated artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes add a sweetness to contrast the vinegary dressing and mash-up perfectly with salami. And the grated Asiago cheese is just the right texture for a salad like this.
Shake it up. Add your dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake, shake, shake!
Marinate your chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and pour 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing over them. Forget about them for 30 minutes while the flavor bomb magic ensues.
Chop the lettuces. Not just in ribbons, but in small bite size pieces. La Scala nearly minces there version. I’ve kept mine more in tact.
Assemble. Add the lettuces and all the yummy fixins to a large bowl, along with half of the reserved dressing. Toss to coat and add more dressing if desired.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Italian Chopped Salad with Marinated Chickpeas
- ¼ cup DeLallo extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic , pressed
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas , drained
- 4 cups romaine lettuce , chopped
- 4 cups iceberg lettuce , chopped
- 3 ounces Calabrese salami , or pepperoni, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes , chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup marinated artichoke hearts , chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dry mustard, thyme, and oregano in a small jar and season with a pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Shake the dressing well.
- Place the chickpeas in a bowl and pour 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing on the chickpeas to marinated for 30 minutes and reserve the rest for later.
- Add the chopped lettuces to a large bowl. Add the marinated artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes, sliced Calabrese salami, and half of the Asiago cheese. Add the chickpeas in the dressing to the lettuce mixture then pour about half of the reserved dressing over the lettuces and toss to coat. Add more dressing if desired.
More Salads With Chickpeas to Try
- Greek Cobb Salad
- Outrageous Herbaceous Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Crunchy Green Salad with Dilly Chickpeas and Avocado
- Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
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I had moved away from Los Angeles for years before I even heard of this salad. I had also eaten a lot of chopped salads before La Scala’s. Most of them have finely chopped, almost minced turkey breast and a Dijon vinaigrette. I have to say, La Scala’s marinated garbanzos and dressing are what make it. And it was about as pricey as any other large salad one could eat at any other restaurant. I got mine to go because we really weren’t dressed for the occasion. Next time I’m in Los Angeles I’m taking my husband there with me for lunch. He’ll probably love the spaghetti bolognese, but the salads all mine!!!!
Ahhhh! That sounds like the perfect date lunch to me! Unless you make it at home of course :) Enjoy!
OMG—I couldn’t even wait to plate it. This Salad is AMAZING! I think this will be all I eat til the Holidays. Thanks so much —I got a Foodie Crush on you! I’m your newest avid fan!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Thank you so much Elayne! We are so glad you’re here!
You had me at LaScala! I, too, have moved from LA and frequently find myself drooling for the LaScala Chopped Salad. I decided I would try to make a replica tonight and asked Siri what was in a chopped salad. How annoying that Siri kept giving me ingredients for a Cobb Salad. Imagine my delight when I finally screamed “What’s in an Italian Chopped Salad and your LaScala recipe popped up. I really don’t remember any sun dried tomatoes in it but everything else seems to be on point! I will try making it as soon as I get home from walking my dog around the block which I’m doing right now! I’ll let you know how it tastes ASAP!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Enjoy!! Thanks so much!
I am also from Canada and would like to know what I can substitute for the packaged salad mix in? Is it mainly sundried tomatoes, artichokes and asiago cheese??
Yes, it is about 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, 1/2 cup artichokes and 1/2 cup asiago cheese. Enjoy!
Wonderful, thanks for following up! :)
I’m from Canada too and had the same question. Thank you! Going to try this tomorrow. Do you bother peeling the skins from the chickpeas?
Hi Karen, Yes, it is about 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, 1/2 cup artichokes and 1/2 cup asiago cheese. And no, I don’t peel the chickpeas, just straight from the can.
Thank you for posting this Heidi. It does not appear that DeLallo sells the SaladSavors anymore so knowing what to substitute is great information. This salad looks amazing. I look forward to making it.
So good made this tonight, so easy to throw together and dressing was spot on. Thank you for the recipe!
This looks SO delicious. But I’m carefully counting carbs lately, and I wish the nutritional analysis would be included.
This was a hit! The men, big and bigger, asked for seconds. Thank you!
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Some day I’ll make it to SLC – and out of the airport! Then I want to go to Sausage King. Great post, even better salad. Merry Christmas, Heidi!
I want to try them all…this looks amazing, Heidi!
I love the look of this chopped salad. The salty bits, the texture- yum! Can’t wait to try it!
This looks like a man appetite pleasing salad; we need this at our house!
You have so many good recipes on your site right now!! This salad looks perfect for post holiday.
I am totally digging on this salad, and it will be perfect after all the holiday indulgences.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
I’m so craving a huge salad today, this is a must make!
Zesty all the way!
The Vibrant!!! Dried cherries, pecans,and blue cheese are all my favorite flavors.
I’ve yet to meet a cheese I didn’t like, but there is something about goat cheese that just elevates a salad to a new level. By the way, marinating chickpeas is brilliant! Your salad looks amazing….I’d gladly swap out my brown-bag lunch for that any day!!
feta for me!
Erin | The Law Student's Wife
Sausage King looks like reason alone enough to go to SLC! The next time someone dares to say salad is boring, I’m going to put this big, beautiful bowl right under their nose. I love all of the different flavors you have going here!
Emily @ Life on Food
This salad looks amazing. Even my husband would love it!
Looks insanely delicious. This is perfect for when everyone is starting their new year’s clean eating resolutions. Pinned!