An incredible tasting Italian salad that is jam-packed with Mediterranean flavours smothered in a creamy Parmesan dressing that you will want to keep on eating.
The secret to this Italian Salad is to use a good quality Parmesan cheese such as the Reggiano as the sharpness of this aged cheese pairs beautifully with the artichokes, tomato and rocket in this salad for a tasty lunch.
The wonderful summer flavours in this salad are just perfect to serve with spaghetti and meatballs or any pasta or a gorgeous risotto, like eggplant risotto, any savoury tart like this Italian vegetable tart. You could even try it with red meats, poultry and seafood.
What else can I use in my Italian Salad?
A versatile salad that you can change to suit your tastes and moods…
- The greens – I like the rocket in this salad for its pepperiness, but you could also try, mixed salad greens, cos (romaine) lettuce, shredded kale or any other salad greens you prefer.
- Salad vegetables – I have added marinated artichokes, but you could also try some chargrilled eggplant, crunchy cucumbers, sliced pepperoncini peppers, or some colourful capsicum (bell peppers) for more sweetness and crunch.
- Tomatoes – I have used a mixed tomato medley for sweetness and a burst of sunny colour, you could try cherry tomatoes, mini Roma’s or any larger tomatoes chopped into large dice.
- Baby capers – are not as briny as normal capers, but feel free to use regular capers that have been rinsed well if you can’t find them. Or try some caperberries.
- Olives – I have used chopped Kalamata olives, but any olives would work just as well in this Italian salad, it is also great with Sicilian olives or stuffed green olives.
- Try adding – Add some chopped salami or a tin of white beans to boost the protein. How about some toasted pine nuts for some added crunch?
- The dressing – The parmesan dressing is simply magic in this salad, sharp parmesan, white wine vinegar.
Dijon and a good quality olive oil blitzed together to make a decadently creamy and super tasty dressing.
,you could also try a nice Italian vinaigrette or red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing instead if you have to, just add some shaved parmesan to your salad to balance the flavours.
How to make this salad
1Prepare the ingredients
Wash the rocket and remove any wilted or damaged leaves, shake to remove excess water then either pat or spin dry in a salad spinner.
Wash your tomato medley, and cut your tomatoes in half.
Strain the oil from your marinated artichokes and cut them into quarters.
Drain and chop your pitted black olives and drain your baby capers.
2Make the dressing
Add all the dressing ingredients into a high-speed blender or small food processor, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper then blitz until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Add all your ingredients to a large mixing bowl, pour the parmesan dressing on top, season with salt and pepper.
Toss your Italian salad until the vegetables are well coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange in a salad bowl, chill until you are ready to serve.
Can I make this salad in advance?
- You can make your dressing a couple of days in advance and store in your fridge.
- Quarter your artichokes, measure out your capers and olives a few days in advance.
- Prepare your Italian salad without the dressing in the morning and pour the dressing just before serving.
- You could also make the salad up to an hour in advance, but any longer and you run the risk of the rocket becoming soggy.
For the salad…
- 100 grams rocket (arugula) (3½ cups tightly packed)
- 500 grams tomato medley (2 punnets)
- 400 grams artichokes (prepacked from the deli)
- ¼ cup black olives (pitted & chopped)
- 2 tbsps baby capers
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
For the parmesan dressing…
- ⅓ cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese (grated)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard.
- Wash the rocket and tomatoes, pat dry, then cut the tomatoes in half or quarters.
- Strain the oil from your marinated artichokes and cut them into quarters.
- Drain and chop your pitted black olives and drain your baby capers.
- Add all the dressing ingredients into a high-speed blender or small food processor, season then blitz until combined.
- Put all your ingredients in a large mixing bowl, pour the dressing over the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss the salad until the vegetables are well coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Arrange in a salad bowl and chill until you are ready to serve.