My siblings and I discovered this Spicy Italian Salad years ago, while planning a special Christmas Brunch. With a homemade vinaigrette and tasty summer sausage, it delivered a tart and spicy bite that set it above your ordinary salad. It soon became a family favorite.
The source was a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, from which we got a number of special recipes. This was back in the day when everyone used cookbooks!
Alas, after enjoying this for years, I switched over to eating all organic grass-fed beef. And since grass-fed organic summer sausage was nearly impossible to find, I feared I’d never eat my Spicy Italian Salad again.
But that’s the nice thing about change. A decade ago I found a businessman turned rancher who converted a former Catholic retreat into an organic farm (Waseda Farms). And besides the typical cuts I got in my beef quarter, he had lots of “fun” items like German Bratwurst and (drum roll) summer sausage!
What Makes This a Winner
Flavorful. With a homemade vinaigrette and tasty toppings, this salad is loaded with flavor!
Easy. Just whisk together a dessing, toss with lettuce and add a few toppings.
Healthy. Of course salad is healthy! And isn’t it nice when you want to eat your veggies!
What You’ll Need
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Red Wine Vinegar. You may substitute white wine or apple cider vinegar and/or use part balsamic.
• Dressing flavorings: fresh garlic (can sub garlic powder), dry mustard, dried thyme, salt, pepper
Spicy Italian Salad Ingredients
• Lettuce. I used Romaine because the organic Romaine has looked good lately, but go with any nice lettuce.
• Marinated artichoke hearts.
• Summer sausage. Go with grass-fed organic if you can find it.
• Black or kalamata olives. The original recipe called for black olives, I used kalamata for the additional flavor they provide.
• Parmesan cheese. If you can shred your own, you are more likely to avoid additives.
No special tools are needed!
Step by Step Directions
Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Toss the lettuce with dressing.
Top with the toppings and serve
How to Serve
This is a very versatile salad. It is perfect to lead off an informal or a formal dinner and equally at home for lunch or brunch.
For a vegan version, use pepperoncini instead of the summer sausage and use vegan cheese.
Preparation and Leftovers
You won’t want to dress the salad until shortly before serving because it wilts quickly after that. But to make preparation quick, make the dressing the day before, cut up all of your ingredients and refrigerate. Then right before dinner assemble the salad.
Likewise, leftovers don’t keep well. So if I won’t finish it, I prep everything for the full salad, but dress half with half the dressing and toppings. I then refrigerate the rest and the next day, quickly make the rest of the salad. Fresh and perfect!
And for more treasured cookbook recipes, check out the list below!
- Cantuccini Toscani from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Canapes from Family Around the Table
- Ladyfinger Ice Cream Cake (Temple de Glacé) from That Recipe
- Marcus Samuelsson’s Quick Pickled Cucumbers from Palatable Pastime
- Pasta Primavera from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Simple Ground Beef Tamales from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Spicy Italian Salad from Art of Natural Living
- Taco shells and Cheese from Jen Around the World
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 6-8 cups lettuce torn in bite sized pieces
- 8 ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 1/2 cup summer sausage, sliced & quartered
- 1/4 cup sliced black or kalamata olives
- 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended.
In a large bowl, toss lettuce with dressing. Arrange remaining ingredients on top.
Serve and enjoy!
- Steak Diane in Mushroom Brandy Sauce
- Healthy Breakfast Veggie Scramble