Big Italian Salad Recipe

This Italian salad starts with a mouthwatering combination of fresh vegetables:  crispy lettuce, deep-green flavorful spinach, red onions, and ripe tomatoes. Add green olives, crusty croutons, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a simple, tangy dressing, and you have a quick Italian salad recipe with full flavor.

Italian salad recipe includes croutons and Parmesan tossed with fresh vegetables.

An Italian Salad Recipe That Brings Back Good Memories

This happens to be one of my very favorite Italian green salads. That’s partly because it brings back great memories of my college days. My friends and I used to make a habit of dining at Olive Garden at least once a week. We’d feast on the salad and breadsticks. We thought we were watching our weight by ordering the dressing on the side — truly funny!

Well, to say the least, I still love a tossed Italian salad.

Last week, I made homemade lasagna for a few fabulous friends and thought, “Why don’t I make a simple salad with simple vinaigrette and serve the lasagna and salad with my homemade bread?” Everything was done when they got there, so I could spend time visiting with my friends.

Iceberg in a Tossed Italian Salad? Yes!

I thought iceberg lettuce–which I adore–would be a real no-no for Italian salad. But then I found this eye-opening read at Naples Daily News.  Doris Reynolds states, “In Italy, where green salads are an important part of daily fare, iceberg lettuce is considered a rare treat and cherished as an exotic and delicious green.” 

Now I feel much better about my addition of iceberg lettuce into my Italian salad. Iceberg has such a nice, mild taste along with the crunch I so desperately need in a salad.

Up close view of fresh Italian salad tossed in white bowl.

A Healthy Green Salad That’s Packed with Flavor

I like my salads to be fully packed with nutrients and flavor, so I also add mixed greens, including spinach.

Ripe tomatoes add a burst of color as well as a hint of sweetness. Their flavor balances out the acidity of the green olives and vinaigrette and the “bite” of the red onion.

The sourdough croutons are easy to make. You toss them in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and then bake them until they are super crunchy and golden.

The croutons soak up the flavors in the vinaigrette and give just the right amount of garlicky goodness to this salad.

For the finale, a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh herbs pack on the flavor. You may put aside everything else and just feast on the salad like my friends and I back did back in college!

closeup of tossed Italian salad recipe with wooden utensils

Whatever you do, enjoy this Big Italian Salad Recipe and pass it on to friends. I really do believe it is the Best Easy Italian Green Salad out there!

If you do make this recipe, snap a photo, tag me @stacylynharris, and use the hashtag #slhfoodie!!

Italian salad recipe includes croutons and Parmesan tossed with fresh vegetables.

Big Italian Salad Recipe

4.7 from 3 votes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian


  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce washed and chopped (you can use Romaine)
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 2 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green olives pitted and cut in half
  • 1 cup Parmisiano Reggiano Cheese shaved or shredded
  • 1 cup Simple Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup seasoned Sourdough Croutons


  • In a large bowl, add the iceberg lettuce and mixed greens. Add the tomatoes, red onions, and green olives, and top with Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Right before serving prepare the vinaigrette and pour vinaigrette evenly over the salad. Top with seasoned croutons and fresh parsley. Serve right away.
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