It’s big, it’s crispy, it’s my favorite pizza salad

Every pizza night deserves a crisp, hearty and bright salad.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Tane</p>
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Simple Recipes / Sara Tane

Let’s prepare the ground. Your friends are coming over for dinner. You want to impress them, of course, but you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen preparing an extravagant meal. I mean, we all love our friends, but hours and hours of prepping for a dinner party is a tall order.

Fortunately, everyone will be just as excited when you tell them you’re calling for pizza delivery as they would be if you check off a multi-course menu. And if they’re not excited, well, they probably shouldn’t be on your guest list, right?

Just because you’re ordering takeout doesn’t mean you can’t treat your friends to a thoughtful dinner at home. If you’re giving your guests a few delivery pies, I highly recommend making an epic salad to enjoy with the cheese slices. In this way there is some homemade component to your dinner. I don’t make the rules, but I’m a firm believer that every pizza night needs a hearty salad.

The best salad for pizza

When it comes to making a salad that accompanies pizza, I’m a big believer that it should be crunchy, bright, acidic, and as simple as possible. Whatever you put in this salad will be the star sidekick of the event, which is, of course, the pizza.

The base has obtained be romaine lettuce. Nothing light or wispy will do in this scenario – we need a green with some serious crunch to anchor this salad. When it comes to mixes, I like to stick to basic Italian-inspired mixes: olives, pepperoncini peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, artichokes, and roasted red peppers. We look for marinated, crunchy and vegetable ingredients. Use what you have and if you don’t have it all, that’s fine.

As for the dressing, stick to a classic Italian-inspired dressing. A heaping spoonful of dried oregano and a little freshly grated garlic makes everything taste like pizza night, doesn’t it? I like to use the pickling liquid from pepperoncini as one of the sour ingredients in the dressing because it’s too flavorful to go down the drain.

Would cubed salami, pepperoni, provolone, Swiss or mozzarella cheese be good in this salad? Of course. But remember, this salad isn’t the whole meal. We also have a selection of pizzas, so the salad shouldn’t dominate. That said, serve it with freshly grated parmesan because it’s pizza night and a little extra parma never hurt anyone.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Tane</p>
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Simple Recipes / Sara Tane

Epic pizza salad

Here’s what you need to make a large salad that will feed 10-12 people:

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 medium shallot, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3 tablespoons pepperoncini marinade liquid

  • 1 large garlic clove, grated

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 large heads of romaine lettuce, washed and finely chopped

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 1/2 cup black kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

  • 1/2 cup Castevetrano olives, pitted and chopped

  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini peppers, drained

  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marinated and quartered artichoke hearts, drained

  • 1 jar (4 ounces) roasted red pepper strips, drained

  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped

  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Prepare the dressing: In an airtight medium jar, add all dressing ingredients and shake until creamy. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Prepare the salad: In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients and toss to combine with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve in a large bowl or on a deep plate with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Go ahead, make the dressing and chop the ingredients ahead of time, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Then all you have to do is combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss them with the dressing. Boom. Successful pizza night!

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