This simple Italian salad can be thrown together really quickly and tastes like a salad you'd get at an Italian restaurant. It's easy and inexpensive to make, but the pimentos, artichokes, red onions, and parmesan cheese give it so much flavor. It's tossed in oil and vinegar and is so so good.
I grew up going to The Pasta House, an Italian chain restaurant that started in St. Louis. The Pasta House salad was a staple, and I find myself craving it from time to time now that I live on the East Coast. This simple Italian salad is very similar to that salad. It's the perfect side to any great pasta or protein dish and so so easy.
Looking for a great dish to serve with this salad? Try our spicy sausage pasta, creamy red pepper and tomato pasta, or meatball and vegetable soup. Looking for other salad dishes? Try our classic wedge salad or rotisserie chicken garden salad.
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Diced pimentos
- Red onion
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Parmesan cheese- get fresh parmesan cheese, not the unrefrigerated powder in the green canisters.
- Other ingredients- salt, black pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar
Step 1: Soak the onions. Fill a bowl with ice water and completely submerge the red onions. Allow them to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad. Soaking the onions in ice water makes them more mellow and removes the strong oniony flavor.
Step 2: Make the dressing. Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a jar with a lid. Shake until the oil and vinegar are combined. Place into the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
Step 3: Make the salad. Drain the water from the red onions. Add iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, pimentos, artichokes, red onions, and parmesan cheese to a large bowl. Mix until everything is combined.
Step 4: Serve. When you're ready to serve the salad, toss with the dressing and serve with extra parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper on top. DO NOT top with dressing until you're ready to serve, or the salad will become soggy. We like to serve our dressing on the side and dress our salads individually.
Alternative topping ideas
We love this salad as-is, but you could make a few tweaks to make it yours. Here are some ideas:
- Make it like the Olive Garden salad. Remove the pimentos and artichokes and replace them with pepperoncinis, black olives, tomatoes, and croutons.
- Add your favorite cold cuts- salami, ham, or pepperoni would be delicious.
- Replace the pimentos with sun dried tomatoes.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Just don't add the dressing until you're ready to eat it. The dressing makes the salad soggy very quickly.
It does if you leave the dressing off. We like to dress our salads individually so that we can save the leftovers if we have any. Adding the dressing to the entire bowl of salad will make it too soggy to eat later.
Soaking the onions in ice water makes them more mellow and removes the strong oniony flavor.