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. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever gone more than 2 days without a salad in at least one of my rounds of eating. There’s always a side salad with dinner, it could be more fruit filled or sometimes there’s no lettuce at all. It’s a mix and match type of game more often than not.
But where I hit my real pleasure point is when I make a big daddy salad for a filling lunch or dinner. One packed with protein and crunchy textures. The more salty bits, the better (cheese is mandatory, obviously). And where would we be without the sharp tang of pucker-induced salad dressing?
The Original: La Scala Chopped Salad
One of my favorite salads of all-time, forever-more, is 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. Sorry Wolfgang, but Jean Leon definitely came first.
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
- 1/4 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
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 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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