Italian House Salad with Parmesan and Croutons


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italian salad in a white bowl

Italian House Salad with Parmesan and Croutons is the perfect side for almost any meal. Serve it with your favorite pasta dishes, cozy soups, or roast chicken. 

Earlier this week I shared Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast and, if you ask me, the best thing to serve with that savory, rich meat dish is a crunchy, bright Italian House Salad. Come to think of it, an Italian House Salad with tangy vinaigrette is the best thing to serve with many great weeknight meals. Pastas and red sauce, meatballs, lemon roasted chicken, pull apart Cubano sliders, lemony gnocchi (I love this one), or truly just about any other meal you can dream up will be great with this classic salad.

tomatoes, peppers and olives in a colander

What You’ll Love About an Italian House Salad

Make it as simple or complex as you want. Load it up with all the classic fillings (think Olive Garden house salad here) like olives, pepperoncini, tomatoes, and thinly sliced onion, or keep it super simple and just toss romaine and croutons in the tangy vinaigrette. It’s great either way. If you want to customize it, see below for a few ideas!

Optional Add-ins for Italian Salad

  • Red Onion
  • Peperoncini
  • Black Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salami or Cured Meat
  • Mozzarella Pearls
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Artichoke Hearts

an open bag of croutons

If you ask me, croutons aren’t optional in this salad. Don’t forget them! You can make them yourself, but these Zesty Italian Texas Toast Croutons (available at pretty much any grocery store) are the best. Lots of different shapes and tossed with dried spices, I love these. 

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Italian House Salad with Parmesan and Croutons

Italian House Salad with Parmesan and Croutons is the perfect side for almost any meal. Serve it with your favorite pasta dishes, cozy soups, or roast chicken.
To adjust the servings in this recipe, click on the number next to servings.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • Salad Bowl
  • Small Jar or Bowl with Lid


For the Dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 cup thin slices Red Onion
  • 8 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup Pepperoncini, whole or sliced (these come in mild, medium, and hot)
  • 1 cup Black Olives, sliced or whole
  • 1 1/2 cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved (or use one regular tomato, sliced into wedges)
  • 1 1/2 cups Croutons, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup grated or thinly sliced Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh cracked black pepper


  • Whisk together vinegar, honey, salt, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Add olive oil while whisking until dressing is smooth. (Or just combine everything in a jar with a lid and shake well.)
  • Optional step: Add red onions to dressing and let sit for 10 minutes. This will help to mellow the bite of the onions and add flavor to the dressing. Feel free to skip this step if you prefer the onions raw.
  • Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing gradually, tossing to combine, until salad is dressed to your liking.
  • Finish salad with fresh-cracked black pepper.


Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 802mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4444IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 163
Keyword: easy salad, easy side dish
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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