If you like sub sandwiches, you’re going to love this Antipasto Salad! It has all of the flavor of a big Italian sub sandwich, without the carb-heavy bread.
My husband is not really partial to any kind of salad that consists of field greens, which he calls, “weeds“. If he had his way, he’d eat a 1/2 of a head of romaine lettuce with blue cheese dressing and bacon every night. I like all salad greens, but I think that there is the perfect green for each salad. Delicate field greens do best with light dressings and toppings, Chinese Chicken Salad is great with super crunchy cabbage. This Antipasto Salad needs a hearty lettuce like crisp iceberg or romaine, or both! (This post was originally published on June 13th, 2013 and has been updated. This post contains affiliate links).
I don’t eat many sandwiches these days, but when I did, I loved a big Italian sub with a splash of red wine vinegar and spicy pepperoncini. When I created this recipe, I wanted a salad that had all the flavors of an Italian sub, without the bread. The fact that it fits so deliciously into a low-carb, keto, and gluten free diet is a bonus!
What to put in an “Antipasto” Salad
There really isn’t a “recipe” per se. Start with a lettuce; romaine or iceberg work well, for crunch, but you can also add red or green leaf. Next add your favorite Italian meats and cheeses. I usually figure on about 3-4 ounces of meat and about 1-2 ounces of cheese per person. Some suggestions for meats are salami, coppa, prosciutto or soppressata. For cheeses, I suggest provolone, but fontina or even a fresh mozzarella would work as well. If you live in a large enough town, chances are there is a great Italian delicatessen nearby. Usually they are more than happy to give samples before you make a purchase. You’ll also find Italian olive oil, pastas, and other imported goods, which are most certainly a better quality than what you’d find in a chain grocery store.
After you’ve chosen your meats and cheeses, you can begin adding other vegetables. While some of them might not be traditional or authentic to an antipasto platter you’d find in Italy, I always love to add more veggies. I use homemade marinated mushrooms, just because they are a family favorite and they’re cheaper than store-bought. Thin slices of fresh or roasted red bell peppers from a jar, like these are delicious. Other vegetables you can add are; Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and pepperoncini.
For this classic vinaigrette I prefer red vinegar which is what is generally sprinkled on a sub sandwich. Add more vinegar for a tangier dressing.
This antipasto salad serves 3-4 for dinner, with enough left over for a couple of lunches the next day.
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce shredded or sliced
- 1 head romaine lettuce shredded or sliced
- 18 ounces Italian deli meats (3-4 ounces per person) such as dry salami, Genoa, or sopressata sliced thin
- 12 ounces provolone cheese (1-2 ounces per person), fontina or mozzarella.
- 1 cup marinated mushrooms quartered (reserved 3/4 cup liquid from marinade)
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives sliced
- 1/4 cup peperoncini sliced thin
- 1/4 cup roasted red bell peppers sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 3/4 cup olive oil (you can also use some of the marinade from the olive, mushrooms or artichoke hearts if you're using them).
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Slice meats, cheese and veggies. Toss with lettuce. Add dressing just before serving.
- Whisk olive and vinegar in a small bowl season to taste with black pepper and kosher salt.
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