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Italia Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

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Italia Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing - Makes an awesome lunch or dinner!
Slow roasted tomatoes have been my jam for a few years now. I love adding them to pasta, eggs, and veggies. In my sandwich days, I loved adding them to panini or grilled cheese for a little something extra. But, for some reason, I’d never had them in salad.

On a date a few weeks ago, I ate an incredible salad with slow roasted tomatoes, salt-cured olives, bright bites of artisan salami, chickpeas, plenty of crunchy lettuce, and other goodies, like artichoke hearts, fresh basil and a lemon vinaigrette. I ate every morsel my body could ingest without exploding, then packed the rest up and polished it off for breakfast the next morning because it was that good.

Then, I did what I do best, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was like in the movie Wizard of Oz, when they chant “lions, and tigers, and bears–oh my!” as they walk. I’d be folding laundry and have salad ingredients chanting through my head. Sure, “artichoke hearts and lemon vinaigrette” don’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as the “lions and tigers” bit, but here we are.

SO many goodies in this Italia Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing from www.onelovelylife.com
Anyway, I could NOT get the salad out of my head, so I made it for dinner. We try to eat the same thing for dinner as a family, but I knew that certain ingredients (like artichoke hearts) wouldn’t go over very well with the little crowd. So, I served the components separately and tossed the grown-ups’ salads with dressing in a little bowl at the table. The 4-and-under crowd could choose the things they’d actually eat, and we all had enough to feel satisfied.

It would make a great company salad, because everyone can add their own ingredients and build it the way they like. If you’re serving someone who doesn’t eat meat, they can add extra chickpeas. Paleo? Skip the chickpeas. Not an olive fan? No problem!

Italia Salad - Loaded with goodies and topped with lemon basil dressing.
You could also toss in a few more add-ins. Quick pickled onions, roasted red peppers, Parmesan cheese, or peperoncinis would be awesome! I ate the leftovers with half an avocado for lunch the next day. Just don’t skip the lemon-basil dressing. It’s INCREDIBLE and goes a long way.

The leftovers make a killer lunch. I topped mine with an avocado half and the heavens may have opened. No big deal.

What to serve with it: we did fresh fruit, and my kids always appreciate something like cornbread mini-muffins or bread. 

Italia Salad topped with Lemon Basil Dressing from www.onelovelylife.com

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Italia Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

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  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


The amounts here are VERY fluid. Add as much or little of everything as you like. Use your favorite salad greens for this recipe. I like a mix of crunchy romaine and something more colorful like red butter lettuce or spinach.


  • !For the Salad:
  • 56 cups salad greens
  • 46oz salami, diced (we like uncured/nitrate-free)
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 batch slow roasted tomatoes (or fresh ones)
  • Kalamata or salt-cured olives
  • 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts (I like the ones packed in olive oil)
  • Other possible add ins: avocado, roasted red peppers, peperoncinis, pine nuts, etc.
  • !For the Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/21 tsp honey (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the dressing:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until completely blended. If you’re making the dressing by hand, finely mince the basil and shake everything together in a tightly lidded jar to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper, as desired.
  2. For the salad:
  3. Combine desired salad ingredients and toss with just enough dressing to coat. Serve immediately and store additional dressing in the refrigerator.


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