A simple Italian Salad recipe, St. Louis style. Mix up this delicious, memorable salad with fresh and flavorful Italian Dressing in less than 10 minutes!

This Italian Salad is filled with crisp lettuce, red onion, artichokes, pimentos and grated parmesan to ensure each bite is perfectly covered in Italian Salad Dressing.

italian salad
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There are always those few foods that remind you of “home.” A taste of something you love that brings you back.

Most of them, I can’t recreate, like Ted Drewes frozen custard (though I nailed their Secret Chocolate Sauce) or St. Louis style pizza with provel.

best italian salad

However, Italian salad is so easy, seasonless and delicious, that I find myself making it often. Honestly, I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s among the best salads in St. Louis and can be found in almost any local Italian restaurant and American restaurant here.

It’s similar to the Pasta House Salad recipe and Rich and Charlie’s Salad recipe, but it’s loved worldwide – and for good reason!

I love an incredible, fresh and crunchy salad recipe. Don’t skip this gorgeous Roasted Beet Salad and this Handheld Endive Salad recipe, too!

red wine vinaigrette recipe

This is my absolute favorite Italian salad recipe. It always receives rave reviews and is a go to for get togethers. It makes an incredible lunch and is the perfect side salad for barbecues, picnics, Mother’s Day, Labor Day and so much more! 

It pairs well with everything from pastas, my mom’s lasagna with cottage cheese, sandwiches, burgers, chicken and steak. It’s a great recipe for just about every occasion.

st louis salad recipe

Italian Dressing Ingredients

Like most Italian salad dressings, it’s made with oil and vinegar, but there is one big difference in the dressing – it’s not filled with fresh herbs and spices. It’s simple, yet flavorful. This Italian dressing is made with:

  • Red Wine Vinegar – the foundation for this Italian Salad Dressing
  • Olive Oil – use high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor, but any will do
  • Salt – I like to use thick flakes of sea salt. You can purchase salt in a grinder for about $1! It makes all the difference in the world in so many recipes. 
  • Black Pepper – thick flakes of black peppercorn add a lot of flavor to this simple Italian dressing.
italian salad with red wine vinaigrette

Italian Salad Ingredients

This salad is filled with colorful and flavorful veggies.

  • Artichokes – a can of quartered artichokes, drained
  • Pimentos – (or red peppers) typically found in a jar, this is what makes this Italian Salad stand above the rest!
  • Red Onion – red onion stands out in this recipe adding a lot of color and flavor
  • Romaine – romaine is traditionally used in Italian salad providing the foundation, but any lettuce will do. I purchase in a bag to eliminate prep.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – fresh is always best, but grated parmesan in a shaker works just as well. Parmesan soaks up the dressing ensuring each leaf of romaine is perfectly coated. Reserve extra to garnish.
  • Italian Dressing – a blend of vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.


You can customize this salad to your preference by adding in any of the following:

  • fresh mozzarella or in St. Louis, I highly recommend provel
  • red pepper flakes for a little heat
  • pepperoncinis
  • black olives
  • homemade croutons
  • protein: baked chicken breaststeak, tofu, and salmon all work well with this salad
  • beans: chickpeas, garbanzo beans or white beans add a bit of protein
  • fresh herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary or parsley add texture and flavor. Just chop them and add them to the dressing or combine with ingredients in a food processor
  • make it vegan by eliminating parmesan cheese
best italian salad recipe

How to Make an Italian Salad

  1. Mix the Salad Ingredients: Combine vegetables and parmesan in a large bowl. If you prefer an Italian chopped salad, finely chop all ingredients first. italian salad ingredients
  2. Make Italian Dressing: In a jar, combine olive oil and red vinegar with salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and pour over Italian Salad. italian salad with red wine vinaigretteitalian dressing poured onto italian salad
  3. Toss.
italian salad

To make Italian Salad ahead of time, add the ingredients to the bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Tear the lettuce rather than cutting it to prevent wilting.

Toss with Italian Dressing (my red wine vinaigrette) just before serving.

Serving Suggestions

This is one of my favorite Italian Side Dishes. Serve as follows:

salad toss

More Salad Inspiration

italian salad
5 from 32 votes

Italian Salad with Italian Salad Dressing

Easy Italian Salad with a St. Louis style Italian salad dressing tossed with pimentos, parmesan, red onion and artichoke hearts.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Pin Rate Print


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce clean and chopped
  • 1/3 head romaine lettuce clean and chopped
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts drained {not marinated, 6.5 oz can}
  • 1/2 cup diced pimentos drained {7 oz jar}
  • 1 cup red onion sliced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper fresh
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese


  • In a large bowl, combine iceberg, romaine, artichoke hearts, onion, and pimentos.
  • In a jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake well.
  • Toss with dressing and parmesan.


This is one of the few recipes I use store bought grated parmesan cheese.
Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1430IU | Vitamin C: 25.1mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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This post was originally shared in March 2014, prior to moving back “home”. I hope you enjoy it as much as we St. Louisan’s do!

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  1. When I met my husband, who is from St. Louis, he introduced me to it as “Rich and Charlie’s” salad. Now, I believe, their restaurants are just known as the Pasta House. It is yummy and I can’t wait to surprise him with it 🙂 Thank you!

    1. There are still Rich and Charlie’s, but Pasta House as well! Most restaurants on The Hill and throughout St. Louis serve a similar salad. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do! Have a beautiful weekend!