Get our family’s simple Italian salad recipe, St. Louis style. Mix up this delicious, memorable salad with fresh and flavorful homemade vinaigrette, 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 dressing.

This is my absolute favorite Italian salad recipe, and one that I grew up with. This recipe’s been in our St. Louis family for so long, and I’m thrilled to share it with you today.

A fresh Italian salad mixed with lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes, partially tossed with wooden utensils.
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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.

A fresh Italian salad mixed with lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes, partially tossed with wooden utensils.

However, Italian salad is so easy, season-less 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!

Fresh Italian vegetable salad with sliced red onions and wooden serving utensils, topped with Italian salad dressing.
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Why You’ll Love this Salad

  • 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.
  • Like most Italian salad dressings, it’s very simply made with oil and vinegar. It’s simple, yet has a powerful acidic bite that is balanced by the salad ingredients.
  • This salad is filled with colorful and flavorful veggies. Fresh Parmesan soaks up the dressing ensuring each leaf of romaine is perfectly coated.
  • This salad makes an incredible lunch and is the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics, Mother’s Day, Labor Day and so much more! 
A close-up of a fresh Italian garden salad with red onions, tomatoes, and a bread roll.

Shopping List

  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Artichokes
  • Jarred Pimientos
  • Red Onion
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Iceberg
  • Parmesan
Fresh ingredients for an Italian salad including lettuce, red onions, chicken, tomatoes, and grated cheese in a bowl.

Ingredient Substitutions and Variations

  • Artichokes – Use a can of quartered artichokes, drained.
  • Pimientos – Sub with roasted red peppers if you’d like.
  • Romaine – This lettuce is traditionally used in Italian salad, providing the foundation, but any lettuce will do.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – Sub with fresh mozzarella or in St. Louis, I highly recommend Provel.
  • Make it Your Own! Add red pepper flakes for a little heat, pepperoncinis, black olives, or homemade croutons.
  • Add ProteinBaked chicken breaststeak, tofu and salmon all work well with this salad.
  • Add Beans – chickpeas, garbanzo beans or white beans add a bit of protein.
Bowl of Italian salad ingredients including lettuce, tomatoes, artichokes, red onions, and a slice of bread.

How to Make

  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.
  2. Make Italian Dressing: In a jar, combine olive oil and red vinegar with salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and pour over Italian Salad.
  3. Toss.
A salad bowl with chopped lettuce, sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, and chunks of chicken, accompanied by two wooden serving spoons and Italian salad dressing.
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Tips

  • Learn how to grate cheese here. Fresh shaved Parmesan makes all the difference in this salad! Reserve extra to garnish.
  • Don’t dress your salad until just before serving – otherwise, the greens will wilt.
  • You can make this salad dressing ahead of time – just store the dressing separately! While it’s refrigerated, the vinaigrette will separate into two layers. Shake it up well!
Dressing being poured onto a fresh Italian garden salad with chicken.

Serving Suggestions

This is one of my favorite Italian Side Dishes. Serve with any of these favorite Italian entrees!

A fresh Italian salad mixed with lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes, partially tossed with wooden utensils.

Make Ahead

  • 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 help prevent wilting.
  • Toss with dressing just before serving.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Serve within two hours.
  • Refrigerate – Store homemade vinaigrette in the refrigerator up to a week in an airtight container. Store salad separately in an airtight container and toss immediately before serving.

More Salads to Try

Fresh Italian garden salad with sliced red onions and wooden serving utensils.
5 from 21 votes

Classic Italian Salad

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
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Ingredients  

  • 6 cups iceberg lettuce (one head) clean and chopped
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce (⅓ head) clean and chopped
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts drained (not marinated, 6.5 ounce can)
  • ½ cup diced pimientos drained (7 ounce jar)
  • 1 cup red onion sliced
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper fresh
  • cup parmesan cheese fresh grated

Instructions 

  • Wash and chop ingredients. Dry lettuce.
  • In a large bowl, toss to combine chopped iceberg, romaine, artichoke hearts, pimientos and red onion.
    6 cups iceberg lettuce, 2 cups romaine lettuce, 1 cup artichoke hearts, ½ cup diced pimientos, 1 cup red onion
  • In a sealable jar, add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously.
    ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Drizzle dressing over salad, tossing with parmesan until coated.
    ⅔ cup parmesan cheese

Julie’s Tips

Make Ahead

  • 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 help prevent wilting.
  • Toss with dressing just before serving.
Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2572IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 1mg

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

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23 Comments

  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!