Easy Italian Grinder Salad Recipe (Chopped Sub Salad)

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This Chopped Grinder Salad brings all the savory goodness of the best sub sandwich into a low-carb, hearty salad. Chopped deli meats, provolone cheese, and fresh veggies combine with a delicious creamy dressing to create an Italian salad you’ll want to make again and again. 

Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

What is Grinder Salad?

Imagine taking those layers upon layers of savory deli meats, crisp lettuce, and tangy dressings from your favorite sub sandwich and deconstructing it into a refreshing salad. That’s exactly what grinder salad is—a twist on the classic Italian grinder sandwich craved for its hearty fillings and flavorful combinations. 

This recipe transforms a hefty sandwich into a light, yet satisfying salad and has captured the hearts of food enthusiasts everywhere, not just in New England where the term “grinder” is commonly used. Its rise to fame on social media platforms as a viral recipe is for good reason; its versatility accommodates a delicious array of ingredients making it a perfect fit for meal prep, low-carb diets, or simply a delightful way to indulge in salad form what was once the best sub sandwich. 

Why you’ll love Grinder Salad:

  • Grinder salad is a creative salad version of the classic Italian grinder sandwich.
  • Its popularity stems from its versatility and viral appeal on social media. 
  • Perfect for meal prep and diets, it incorporates a mix of crunchy, savory, and tangy elements.
Ingredients for Italian Grinder Salad

The Essential Ingredients for Grinder Salad

  • A head of iceberg lettuce: the base of our salad, providing that crispy texture we all love. 
  • Savory deli meats: including pepperoni, salami, turkey, and ham, chopped into small pieces.
  • 2 Kinds of Cheeses: provolone cheese in the salad, and Parmesan cheese to whisk into our salad dressing for that authentic Italian grinder sandwich flavor.  
  • Cherry tomatoes and red onion: for a burst of freshness and a hint of sharpness. 
  • Banana peppers and some of the juice: adding that delightful tang and slightly spicy kick. 
  • Italian seasoning: adds more Italian flavors to our dressing.
  • Mayonnaise: is the creamy base for our homemade Italian dressing.  
  • Red wine vinegar and garlic: add some tanginess and fresh garlic flavor to the dressing.
  • Salt and black pepper: round out our spices. 
  • Red pepper flakes (optional): for those who enjoy an extra spicy touch.

How to Make the Creamy Salad Dressing

Here’s how I whip up that creamy and tangy delight that has everyone asking for the recipe:

  1. Start with the base: In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of creamy mayo. It’s the velvety backbone of our grinder salad dressing. 
  2. Infuse the tang: Stir in 1 tablespoon of tangy red wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons of banana pepper juice. This blend injects that unmistakable zing into every bite. 
  3. Add the Italian flair: Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. These are non-negotiable for that classic Italian grinder taste. 
  4. Season: Incorporate 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper to awaken the flavors. 
  5. Finish with cheese: The grand finale, a generous 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese, brings everything together for that creamy, savory finish that will make your taste buds dance. 

Step-by-Step Salad Assembly

  1. Start with a large mixing bowl, and place a generous bed of chopped crispy lettuce at the base. This acts as the foundation of our grinder salad, providing a crunchy texture that’s utterly refreshing. 
  2. Add the savory deli meats next, layering diced turkey, ham, salami, and pepperoni over the lettuce. These meats bring the hearty flavors reminiscent of the best sub sandwich you’ve ever had. 
  3. Add a layer of cheese over the meats, incorporating diced pieces of provolone cheese for that deliciously creamy depth. 
  4. Toss in the fresh veggies, add chopped red onion, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, and slices of banana peppers for a vibrant splash of color and an extra kick of flavor. 
  5. To finish, drizzle the creamy mayo dressing generously over the top. Gently toss the salad ensuring every bite is coated in that delicious, creamy dressing, making it every bit as irresistible as your favorite sandwich turned salad. 
Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

Customizing Your Grinder Salad

One of my favorite things about making a grinder salad is how it caters to everyone’s taste. Whether you’re on a keto journey and looking for a delicious low-carb meal or seeking a satisfying dish that packs all your favorite sandwich ingredients into one, these simple tweaks ensure your grinder salad remains a go-to recipe that never grows old. 

  • Lettuce possibilities: using a mix of different greens such as romaine, kale, or shaved Brussels sprouts will all provide a nice, crunchy base for your salad. 
  • Cheese possibilities: switching up provolone for Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese can completely transform the flavor profile.
  • Add different veggies: consider tossing in cucumbersbell peppers, or artichoke hearts; their freshness will complement the savory deli meats most delightfully.
  • Try different meats: add deli meats from other favorite sub sandwiches like roast beefpastrami, or sliced pork
  • Bulk up the protein: drain a can of chickpeas and add them for an even heartier meal. 
  • Bring on the olives: sliced green or black olives would be a lovely addition to your grinder salad.
  • Fresh herbs: top with some freshly chopped basil or parsley for a fresh finish. 
Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

Meal Prep and Storage Tips

Make-Ahead for a Crowd: If you’re preparing a large Grinder Salad to serve to guests or at a party, consider prepping your salad ingredients ahead of time. This means chopping your iceberg lettuce, onions, and any other fresh veggies you’re planning to toss in. Having everything ready to go in separate containers in the fridge makes it a breeze to assemble before the party starts.

Make-Ahead Individual Servings: If you’re dressing your salad ahead of time, a little layering hack I love is placing the heavier items like your provolone cheese and hearty meats at the bottom and your more delicate items, like lettuce, at the top. This layering trick works great for making individual mason jar salads. 

For storing leftovers, the key to maintaining that crisp, fresh salad vibe is to serve the salad dressing on the side. You’ll want to store your undressed salad in an airtight container to keep everything from getting soggy. 

Maybe the best part about this salad is that it’s just as good the next day. Whip out that airtight container for a quick, hearty meal that’s just as fresh as when you made it. It’s the perfect balance of convenience and deliciousness for those busy days or when meal prep is a must. 

Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

Serve Your Grinder Salad Different Ways

  • Transform it into an Italian Grinder Pasta Salad by swapping the crisp lettuce for your favorite pasta. It’s a great way to enjoy the salad as a hearty, fulfilling main dish. 
  • Turn your grinder salad into delightful sliders for a fun twist on the classic. They make for perfect appetizers or a light meal, packed with all your favorite sandwich ingredients. 
  • Enjoy it as is for a low-carb option. The crunchy lettuce, tangy dressing, and savory deli meats create a delicious, satisfying meal without the bread. 
  • Serve it alongside your favorite Italian dishes as a fresh, vibrant side that complements the rich flavors of pasta and pizza. 
Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

The Popularity of Grinder Salad

It’s easy to see why the grinder salad has made such a splash on social media and won over food enthusiasts everywhere. With its roots deeply embedded in the flavorful tradition of the Italian grinder sandwich, this salad version brings all the savory goodness into a low-carb delight. The blend of crispy iceberg lettuce, tangy dressing, and a generous mix of Italian meats and cheeses transforms a simple salad into a viral sensation. 

Whether you’re a fan of classic cold cuts like salami and provolone cheese or you enjoy adding a bit of a twist with pepperoncini peppers and roast beef, the possibilities are endless. This salad easily adapts to various dietary preferences while maintaining its core essence—a crunchy, creamy, and hearty meal that caters to your taste buds with every bite. No wonder it’s become such a hit; it’s a perfect example of how traditional flavors can be reinvented in the healthiest ways. 

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Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

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Chopped Italian Grinder Salad

Easy Italian Grinder Salad Recipe (Chopped Sub Salad)

Melisha Kreppein
This Chopped Grinder Salad brings all the savory goodness of the best sub sandwich into a low-carb, hearty salad. Chopped deli meats, provolone cheese, and fresh veggies combine with a delicious creamy dressing to create an Italian salad you’ll want to make again and again. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 470 kcal

Ingredients
  

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 head iceburg lettuce chopped
  • 2 oz pepperoni (or turkey pepperoni) chopped
  • 12 slices salami chopped
  • 10 slices turkey chopped
  • 10 slices black forest ham chopped
  • 8 slices provolone cheese chopped
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup banana peppers chopped
  • ½ medium red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup banana peppers chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp banana pepper juice
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
  • Combine all chopped salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour prepared dressing into the large bowl with the salad ingredients. Toss gently until the dressing coats all salad ingredients. Serve immediately.
  • Salad ingredients can be prepared a few hours early. If preparing ahead of time, do not add dressing until ready to serve.

Notes

Variations

  • Lettuce possibilities: using a mix of different greens such as romaine, kale, or shaved Brussels sprouts will all provide a nice, crunchy base for your salad. 
  • Cheese possibilities: switching up provolone for Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese can completely transform the flavor profile.
  • Add different veggies: consider tossing in cucumbersbell peppers, or artichoke hearts; their freshness will complement the savory deli meats most delightfully.
  • Try different meats: add deli meats from other favorite sub sandwiches like roast beefpastrami, or sliced pork
  • Bulk up the protein: drain a can of chickpeas and add them for an even heartier meal. 
  • Bring on the olives: sliced green or black olives would be a lovely addition to your grinder salad.
  • Fresh herbs: top with some freshly chopped basil or parsley for a fresh finish. 

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcalCarbohydrates: 10.9gProtein: 24.2gFat: 36.8gSaturated Fat: 14.5gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 1393mgPotassium: 346mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 4.3gCalcium: 294mgIron: 3mg
Keyword salad
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