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Easy Italian Grinder Salad Recipe (Viral on Tiktok!) Recipe

an overhead view of a chopped grinder salad in a white bowl and a white countertop.

This easy grinder salad uses less mayo than the traditional viral tiktok recipe which makes it slightly tangier and more delicious. It’s a perfect summer salad that’s full of delicious Italian flavors. 

Table of Contents

What is Easy Grinder Salad

If you’re on tiktok (or social media in general), you probably already know what a grinder salad is! But if not, quite simply, it’s a salad made with the same ingredients as an italian grinder sandwich, minus the hoagie roll bread. And for good reason, obvs!

It’s kid of like an antipasto salad meets a italian chopped salad meets an New England Italian grinder sandwich. 

If you’ve never had the viral grinder sandwich, then it’s time to change that!

This super tasty, totally loaded Italian sandwich is typically made with a long, crusty roll, filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and a creamy salad dressing. A classic italian sub sandwich easily one of my favorite sandwiches but when you chop it all up, it gets even more delicious!

My version of this hearty salad trend is made with my favorite sandwich ingredients. It’s got shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cold cuts (such as salami and ham) fresh mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Then comes the fresh veggies which are my favorite part! It’s got cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, pickled red onion, and some pickled jalapenos for taste

Then it’s dressed with my favorite garlicky salad vinaigrette, red wine vinegar and a little bit of Kewpie mayo. The combo makes the most perfect delicious creamy dressing. 

This salad is bascially an Italian American sandwich but in salad form and you’re going to love it!

a close up of the colorful ingredients in a grinder salad.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Iceberg lettuce – This can be swapped for a another crunchy lettuce of your choice. My second choice would be romaine lettuce followed by arugula.
  • Salami – You could also use any italian cold cut of your choice. I like one salty (like salami, soppressata, or finocchiona) and one slightly sweet – see below. 
  • Ham – If you don’t like ham, you could also use another one of your favorite savory deli meats. Try using any of these Italian meats (aka cold cuts):  honey roasted deli turkey, roast beef, or chicken breast. As long as it’s slightly sweet compared to the other meat, you’re set!
  • Fresh Mozzarella – You could also swap it for provolone cheese, asiago, cheddar cheese, manchego, swiss cheese, or another delicious cheese. 
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Or grape tomatoes – honestly, any sort of tomato will work just fine!
  • Banana Peppers – If you don’t like banana peppers, you could also use marinated roasted red peppers or pepperoncini peppers.
  • Pickled Red Onion – My pickled pink onions are so good but you could also use regular red onions. 
  • Pickled Jalapenos – If you’re not into heat, leave these off. I don’t recommend fresh jalapenos.
  • Garlic Expressions – Feel free to use your favorite italian salad dressing or another tangy dressing. You could also use olive oil, italian seasoning, red wine vinegar and some dijon mustard to make your own… But bonus points if you just use Garlic Expressions because it’s so flavorful. 
  • Red Wine Vinegar – This ingredient is totally adaptable. You could use any sort of vinegar that you love or think would work. 
  • Kewpie Mayo – Any mayo will work – i just like that you can drizzle kewpie which makes it easier to combine into the salad dressing.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Another hard aged cheese like pecorino romano or grana padano would also work.
  • Optional Add-ins: Feel free to add additional salad ingredients such as fresh veggies like bell peppers, shaved brussels sprouts, or marinated red peppers. If you’re making the dressing from scratch, try adding some red pepper flakes, olive oil, dijon mustard, italian seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder.
an angled view of a colorful chopped grinder salad.

How to make it

​Making this Italian grinder salad recipe is a total breeze!

First, start by washing all of your fresh salad ingredients. Then grab a cutting board and chop all of your salad ingredients.

Now add them all of the ingredients of an italian sub to a large mixing bowl then top with 

The best part is you can just add the salad dressing ingredients on top without having to mix it separately in another bowl.

I always recommend giving it a taste then then adding more dressing, salt and pepper if needed. 

This grinder sub salad is best when served right away.

a gold fork holding colorful ingredients from a grinder salad.

How to make it for Meal Prep

If you’re into meal prep, there’s an easy way to make this Italian Grinder Salad recipe. 

You’ll want to set it up like one of the mason jar salads – or in any airtight container that is on the thinner, longer side. Stacking the ingredients of an italian sub salad will help keep the crisp lettuce from getting too wet and soggy.

The base of the salad will your homemade dressing. You  can mix a big batch of this grinder salad dressing pretty easily. Just add your garlic expressions, some tangy red wine vinegar, and some mayo to a small bowl and whisk until combined. Evenly divide a little bit of the delicious creamy dressing on the bottom of the airtight containers.

After that, it’s time to add your italian meats and cheeses. Since these ingredients will marinating in the dressing, it gives an antipasto salad vibe.

After that, you’ll want to add the juicy toppings like cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onion, 

Lastly, you’ll add the crispy lettuce.

Seal up the container and place in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

a close up of colorful chopped veggies and cold cuts in a white bowl.

What goes with a Grinder Salad

Since it’s so versatile, I love pairing my Easy Grinder Salad with almost any recipe!

If I were making it for lunch, I’d pair it with my easy ciabatta caprese sandwiches, this 1905 inspired grinder salad sandwich, or even one of my favorite pasta salads from this recipe collection

For dinner, I’d pair it with some creamy pesto pastatrader joe’s sweet corn ravioli with lemon basil cream saucecheesy orzo with broccoli, baked feta spaghetti squash.

colorful grinder salad with a gold fork in a white bowl.

Frequently asked questions

Can I customize my grinder salad?

100% — Absolutely! One of the best things about this grinder salad trend is how versatile it is! You can make it your own by adding or omitting ingredients based on your preferences. Feel free to experiment with different meats, cheeses, vegetables, or even dressings to create a unique flavor combination that suits your taste buds.

Can I make a vegetarian or vegan grinder salad?

For a vegetarian grinder salad, you can replace the meat with plant-based alternatives like marinated tofu, tempeh, or seitan. Or try adding in more veggies like chick peas or marinated white beans or artichoke hearts.

If you’re a vegan, you can swap out the cheese for your favorite dairy-free cheeses. The key is to get creative and select ingredients that align with your dietary needs and preferences!

Can I prepare grinder salads in advance?

The grinder salad can be made in advance but I don’t recommend tossint it altogether until you’re ready to eat it. This means you can chop the vegetables, meats, and make the dressing ahead of time but keep them in seperate containers. Store them in your fridge and when you’re ready to eat, simply toss everything together and dig in. This way, you can have a fresh and delicious grinder salad without the last-minute hassle.

Recipe

an overhead view of a chopped grinder salad in a white bowl and a white countertop.

Italian Grinder Salad

This easy grinder salad uses less mayo than the traditional recipe which makes it slightly tangier and more delicious. It’s a perfect summer salad that’s full of delicious Italian flavors.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Course lunch

Cuisine American, greek, Italian

Ingredients  

  • ½ Head Iceberg lettuce shredded
  • ½ Cup Salami chopped into thin strips
  • 1 Cup Ham chopped into thin strips
  • 1 Cup Fresh mozzarella cubed
  • 1 Cup Cherry tomatoes halved
  • ½ Cup Banana peppers roughly chopped
  • ¼ Cup Pickled Pink Onions
  • ¼ Cup Pickled jalapenos roughly chopped
  • Cup Garlic Expressions or your favorite Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Kewpie mayo
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • ¼ Cup Parmigiano grated

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss together.

  • Taste and add more dressing, salt and pepper if needed.

  • Best if served right away.

Source

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