This Easy Peasy 10 Minute Olive Bar Italian Salad is not only delicious, but also beautiful. It has ALL the meat, ALL the cheese and ALL the flavor. The dressing is also homemade, yet comes together in a flash from the leftover juices from the Olive Bar mixture. Brilliant, easy and something you’ll make for your family and guests many times over.
Last year, Graham and I had a long list of people we wanted to entertain in our home. In order to start tackling that list, we decided to host a bi-monthly Friday night dinner. Wanting it easy, we decided to buy pizzas. I still wanted to make something homemade/special for the meal without adding a lot of fuss. As I perused the grocery store aisles, thinking of a healthy, delicious, yet easy side, I saw the Olive Bar. Bursting with flavor and color, the Easy Peasy 10 Minute Olive Bar Italian Salad was created.
Olive Bar Beauty and Selection
The items in the Olive Bar at our local grocery store are delightful. With rich hues, it’s difficult to not want to buy every single thing sitting there. There are marinated mushroom, sweet marinated pepper drops, marinated Brussel spouts, every type and kind of stuffed or plain olive you can think of, and even more. This salad calls for any Olive Bar combination that make up 1.5-2 cups. You can grab whatever you fancy. I do recommend adding some of the marinated sweet peppers, whether they are big or small because they add a nice pop to the salad, but any other combination will do. If you are having trouble knowing where to start, here is an article sharing the 8 best options from Whole Foods Olive Bar.
This Salad Has ALL the Versatility
Not only are the olive bar items interchangeable, the cheese and salami are too. I love fresh mozzarella and decided to go with the pearls because I don’t have to chop them and they easily crumble into the salad (maximum taste + minimum work = win), but you could do any type of white cheese you prefer (I’ve done provolone & chunks of white cheddar). I also like Columbus Brand Italian Dry Salami with Coppa Salami, but you could do pepperoni, prosciutto or any other kind of meat you think would taste good in an Italian salad. Sometimes I even just go for what’s in my refrigerator or food pantry.
This Easy Peasy 10 Minute Olive Bar Italian Salad Has The Magic
I think one of the magical parts of this salad is that is has large chunks of so many delicious items, you feel you are eating more of an appetizer than a salad. My kids will eat this salad because they are able to pick out the pieces they enjoy the most and my husband loves this salad because it is satisfying and filling. It has a huge range of colors in it as well which makes it beautiful to serve. Every time I bring this salad out, people ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ about how fancy it is and how much work it must take. I won’t tell anyone how easy it is, and you shouldn’t either.
Do I Need To Buy Italian Dressing?
Nope! When you are getting the various items from the Olive Bar, add a little extra juice from each selection. Then, when you make the salad, reserve 1/2 cup of that juice, add some olive oil, add a splash of the juice from the marinated banana peppers. Season with extra salt and or sugar to taste (optional) and you have your entire dressing with essentially no extra work. Boom. One of our favorite Olive Oils is from Costco. Here is an entire article talking about what a high quality and cost effective product it is.
What Do You Serve This With?
This salad is chocked full of delicious and hardy items, easily making it a stand alone meal. You can serve it family style in a large decorative bowl or individually plate it. If you do serve it individually, try adding a salami rose or two – it adds a really fun touch (watch the video in the recipe for a tutorial). If salad alone isn’t your jam, add some crusty bread or a side of pizza. Maybe you have a little extra hop in your step, try making your own pizza with Stevens Ultimate Neapolitan Glute Free Pizza Crust. People will be so amazed and satisfied, they may never want to leave your home.
Tips and Tricks for Making 10 Minute Olive Bar Italian Salad
- If you don’t have access to an olive bar at a local grocery store, stop in the condiment aisle and choose a few different jars of olives and peppers. If you’re going this route, make sure to grab Italian Style items (green olives with garlic, roasted red peppers, etc.) When you are emptying these jars to roughly chop the items, make sure to save a little juice from each for the dressing!
- You can chop as much or as little as you want. If you like a big chunky salad, feel free to leave big pieces! The texture it totally up to you. I like things to be at least bite size, so I usually give them a rough chop.
- This salad is all about the versatility – use different meats, cheeses, olive bar selections, etc. Start with my suggestions and keep changing from there. You’ll find your favorite…or favorites.
- Like anything we make, the better quality ingredients you use, the better your salad will be.
- If you like spice – go for some spicy salami or add a half of a jalapeño. It adds a ton of great flavor and goes super well with this salad.
- We add the dressing, then the parmesan cheese. This way the parmesan more evenly distributes throughout the salad.
- *Our most favorite olive bar items are: marinated mushrooms, sweet & tangy pepper drops, garlic stuffed green olives, marinated artichoke hearts, large black olives (gordal or mission).
- In an airtight container, this salad does fairly well the following day. Just mentioning it, because I usually throw left over salad away (I hate soggy salad), but I don’t for this one.