This simple Tuscan salad with herby chickpeas, olives, artichokes, and provolone is the perfect hearty, crowd-pleasing salad to take to a potluck or picnic.
Tuscan Salad Inspiration
This great recipe was inspired by an airport salad.
SAID NO ONE EVER!
Airport salads are usually the worst! Past-prime greens, maybe a lone nut, cold meats or little protein, sogginess throughout.
But when I was traveling through Chicago a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a cooler of salads that looked really good! Vegetarian and packed with toppings that sounded good. I ate the whole darn thing! I took a picture of the ingredients so I could replicate it at home.
Simple Tuscan Salad
My version has some overlap in ingredients and some new ones based on what I had on hand. Plus, all other olives are better than black olives!
This is the perfect hearty, crowd-pleasing salad to take to a potluck (if you’re not making jalapeno poppers, deviled eggs, or bacon-wrapped dates!)
What Is A Tuscan Salad?
Generally I think of a green salad with simple Italian ingredients that Tuscany is known for: juicy olives, fresh cheese, beans, bright herbs, and an extra virgin olive oil dressing.
According to this article on Tuscan ingredients, Tuscan people love beans so much they are nicknamed “bean eaters.”
Bonus points for some crusty garlic bread and a dry red wine.
Tuscan Salad Ingredients
Herb Salad Base
The base is two bags of a flavorful herb salad from Whole Foods.
Instead of putting plain chickpeas plain on top, I dressed them first and then mixed them in.
Plain chickpeas taste too earthy to me sometimes, and this brightened them up a bit with salad dressing on each one before they went swimming in the lettuce ; )
Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
In addition to the chickpeas, I added marinated olives and sun-dried tomatoes (from the olive bar)
Diced tomatoes and peppers
If tomatoes are in season. Otherwise stick to peppers! Use two colors for variety. More vegetable ingredient ideas include cooked green beans or sliced red onion.
Quartered canned artichokes
I love these on salads! Simply drain and serve. Hearts of palm would work well too.
I used a sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese you have on hand: manchego, drunken goat, shaved parmesan.
I absolutely love this basting oil I get at Wegmans.
It’s seasoned with herbs and garlic, so it saves a step when using it on veggies or beans. The chickpeas got a drizzle of this plus salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
You could also use vinegar, like red wine vinegar if you don’t have a lemon.
Tuscan Salad Dressing Recipe
The main dressing was made with equal parts herby basting oil and lemon juice, a teaspoon of zesty mustard to emulsify, a small bit of garlic, salt, and pepper.
It made about 1/2 cup total.
You can whisk it together in a small bowl or shake in a mason jar.
And for the main salad – just eyeball everything when you toss it together!
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients, top with dressing and toss to mix. Drizzle with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper before serving.
I like a big wooden salad bowl for an earthy feel : )
Simple Tuscan Salad
- Lettuce to fill your bowl about 4 ounces
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 heirloom tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes chopped
- 1 can quartered artichokes drained
- 1 cup olives and sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 slices cheese sliced into bite-sized pieces
For the dressing
- Herbed olive oil about 1/3 a cup (or regular with some dried herbs stirred in)
- 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp zesty or Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix dressing together in a jar and shake.
- Toss chickpeas in a few tbsp of dressing.
- Assemble salad.
- Pour remaining dressing over salad when it's serving time and toss.