Anita was looking for a simple, low-carb side dish to take in her lunches to work. The pasta salads we normally made were just a bit too high in carbs, so I suggested we try a quick fix Italian salad. Tasty, easy, and low-carb, this salad was a welcome change and luckily, packed with flavor too!
This quick fix Italian salad is just a simple variation on a traditional side salad often found at picnics and family get-togethers. I keep the portion size small, making a week’s-worth of salads at once Sunday evening. I use little 1-cup sized seal-able reusable containers with screw-on lids. The lids keep the dressing from leaking out in case the containers are overturned.
Sometimes I mix things up just a big. Leave out the meat (making it the perfect side dish for my toasted Italian sandwich). Substitute spicy pepperjack cheese. Try a different Italian dressing. I still keep the salad low-carb, but you do have to mix things up (even if only slightly) to keep them from getting too boring.
Also try my creamy pasta salad.
Quick Fix Italian Salad
- Green olives drained, sliced or halved
- Black olives drained, sliced or halved
- Roasted red peppers chopped (I use Mezzetta's Deli-Sliced Roasted Bell Pepper Strips)
- Thick-cut salami or Italian ham chopped
- Mozzarella or Swiss cheese sticks cubed
- Italian salad dressing
I so love the flavors of a muffuletta sandwich. Great meats, great cheese, and Italian olive salad. Warmed just slightly until the bread is soft and the cheese is ooey-gooey. I could eat muffulettas all day long. Which brings me to my gripe. Why doesn’t every single sandwich shop sell muffulettas? I mean, seriously, it’s the best sandwich there is. Oh sure, you can get your roasted turkey with avocado, and maybe a ham on rye, but really… Just jump to the chase and enjoy the best sandwich ever devised. The muffuletta.
I used my homemade Italian olive salad. It takes a day to make, but it is well worth the time. If you don’t want to make your own olive salad, pick up a big jar of Biscoli olive salad at your grocery store.
Also try my muffuletta salad. And my Memphis-style muffuletta.
Servings 3 -4
- 1 loaf Italian bread cut in half horizontally
- 3 cups olive salad
- 4 ounces mozzarella sliced thin
- 6 ounces cappocoli or culatello sliced thin
- 4 ounces salami sliced thin
- 4 ounces mortadella sliced thin
- 2 ounces sandwich pepperoni sliced thin
- 4 ounces provolone sliced thin
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Spread the olive salad on each half of the bread, 1 1/2 cups per side.
Next, place sliced mozzarella over the salad on the bottom piece of bread. Top with the meats.
Place provolone on top piece of bread and place on top of bottom, to make a sandwich.
Wrap tightly in foil and heat 20 minutes.
Italian olive salad is a wonderful thing. Although I use it pretty much exclusively on sandwiches, you can also mix it with pasta for a great salad. There’s a great mix of textures and tastes, from crunchy carrots to rich Kalamata olives, to the kick of pickled cauliflower and pepperoncinis. Although it’s a little work, and takes a few ingredients, this salad is the best there is. Make sure to let it set overnight before using it.
If you love olives, you’ll more than love this salad. It makes for the world’s best sandwich, a muffuletta. I can eat muffuletta all day long.
Italian Olive Salad
Servings 14 -16
- 1 quart large pimiento-stuffed olives drained, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives drained, pitted, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil you may need a bit more
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup pickled cauliflower drained, coarsely chopped
- 4 stalks celery sliced
- 2 large carrots peeled, sliced
- 1/2 cup pepperoncini drained, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup cocktail onions drained, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup small capers drained
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flake
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
Combine all ingredients in a large seal-able bowl.
Let set in fridge overnight, stirring occasionally. Add more oil, in very small quantities, if the mixture gets too dry.
I usually make my own olive salad (mostly for muffuletta sandwiches). But a few of the blogs I follow have been mentioning how good Boscoli’s is, so I picked up two large jars of it the last time we were at Jungle Jim’s International Market outside of Cincinnati.
This stuff is fantastic. It is soooo good on a muffuletta panini! Oh, and I also picked up a few bottles of Boscoli’s dirty martini olive juice, which makes for a mighty fine dirty martini! Give Boscoli’s a try you’ll be happy you did!
On the ‘Mater Rater scale I give this olive salad solid 4s across the board. Why not all 5s? Well, because my homemade, fresh version is better (though it does take a lot of time to make!).