Wrapping up Salad Week with a recipe for those that don’t like fruit on their salads or those that were looking for more non-lettuce salads… okay there is lettuce on this salad, but it’s more like a garnish amongst all of these other toppings!
This is a salad where pasta and salad can coexist. How about a Fried Pepperoni Chopped Italian Salad ?? AHH YES! This salad is a MUST TRY on your next family pizza night or any night where you need a big salad. A lettuce blend that is loaded with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and finished up with a crunchy topping. This salad is insanely good and filled with so many toppings and flavors. Just wait until you try it.
I have had this salad idea since the beginning of the year, but I haven’t gotten around to making it because I still don’t own an air fryer… or so I thought. Well I just discovered that my oven has an air fry setting so I had to test out this salad. DANGGGG! It’s good!
This salad has a little crunch, a little heat, and a lot of fresh flavors that is definitely restaurant quality. Now let’s get to the details…
Here’s what you’ll need:
- pepperoni minis
- Ditalini pasta
- butter lettuce & radicchio blend
- romaine lettuce
- Asiago cheese
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes
- Italian Dressing
- Parmesan cheese
Tips for making this salad:
- I like to use a blend of two different types of lettuce for this salad. I buy the butter lettuce & radicchio blend from Trader Joe’s. I like to use this and romaine to give a nice, colorful base to this salad. The different lettuce leaves also provide different textures. Butter lettuce is similar to a Bibb or Boston lettuce. Often times this head of lettuce is sold with the roots still attached. Use your favorite lettuce or whatever you already have on hand!
- Romaine lettuce is what gives this salad a little extra crunch. Chop into small bite sized pieces. The easiest way to chop romaine is to slice in half and then chop thin ribbons. This will make it easier to get coated with dressing and grab with a fork.
- One last tip — buy the Olive Garden Italian dressing. It’s the finishing touch to this already delicious salad!
- Don’t be afraid to swap out any of the toppings for your preferences.
Other topping recommendations:
- chopped ham or turkey
- white beans
How to make Air Fried Pepperoni:
If I’m being honest, I am an air frying rookie. I’ve only used my oven to air fry two things since I discovered the setting. It took my oven about 15 minutes to air fry these pepperoni, but every appliance may be different. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. I like my extra crispy so… just like a crouton. Cook them for less time if you still like a little chew.
Air fried pepperoni may just be the best thing since sliced bread. They’re great for snacking even if they don’t make it to the salad, but I promise they’ll be the perfect finishing touch on this Italian chopped salad.
How to serve this Fried Pepperoni Italian Chopped Salad:
For this type of chopped salad, you could serve it already tossed or with ingredient groupings so guests can quickly see all the toppings on the salad. Add in or remove any toppings you don’t like.
I’d recommend serving with extra bowls of fried pepperoni, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and salad dressing so people can add more as they please.
Unfortunately once this salad is dressed, it won’t store will in a container. Keep this in mind if you’re meal prepping so you can store the dressing separately and still enjoy later.
I hope you enjoyed with week full of salad recipes. My hope is to inspire you to try different flavor combos or break up your normal salad routine. I can’t wait to hear what you think of all the recipes once you get a chance to try them!
In case you missed the other Salad Week posts, you can catch up here:
- Strawberry Salad with Fried Goat Cheese and Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing
- Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
- Simple Broccoli Slaw Ramen Noodle Salad
- Family-Style Loaded Wedge Salad with Candied Bacon
- Tuna Salad Served Two Ways
- Greek Tortellini Salad
What themed week should we do next?! I’m thinking a dip week! 🙂
Fried Pepperoni Chopped Italian Salad
- 1 5oz bag Hormel pepperoni minis
- 1 cup Ditalini pasta uncooked
- butter lettuce & radicchio blend
- romaine lettuce chopped
- salami cubed
- Asiago cheese cubed
- red onion chopped
- cherry tomatoes sliced
- Olive Garden Italian Dressing
- Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Air fry pepperoni minis for 12-15 minutes until crispy. Pat with a paper towel to remove any additional grease.
- Prepare a pot with salted water. Cook Ditalini noodles according to package. Drain and rinse with cold water so help cool off the pasta.
- While the pepperoni and pasta are cooking. Prepare other salad ingredients. Wash lettuce, cut up cherry tomatoes, red onion, peperonicini, salami, and Asiago cheese.
- Add lettuce to the bottom of a large bowl.
- Add cherry tomatoes, red onion, peperonicini, salami, Asiago cheese cubes, and pasta on top of the lettuce mixture. Stir to combine.
- Add fried pepperonis and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Gradually add Italian dressing and toss to coat. Serve with additional peperonicinis on the side.
I’d love to hear from you once you get the chance to make this recipe. Leave a comment below with your review or any modifications you made! And don’t forget to tag @rightbackspatula on Instagram if you take any pictures!