Low carb and/or gluten free sub sandwich lovers rejoice, because my Italian Sub Salad tastes just like your favorite deli’s vinegar and oil-drenched, toppings-packed Italian sub, minus the bread.
I don’t know about you but, in my opinion, salads are a lot more fun to eat when there’s salami and banana pepper rings involved!
This sultry salad combo was inspired by Ben, who offered to make us Italian salads for dinner a few weeks ago. He laid out the ingredients – black olives, salami, green onions, lettuce, and tomatoes – then I upped the ante by pulling out a jar of banana peppers from the fridge. We dressed our salads with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil then seasoned them with salt, pepper, and dried oregano before digging in.
The first thing that popped into my mind was ITALIAN SUB SANDWICH. The flavor was unmistakable and, seeing as how I haven’t had an Italian sub in over two years, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t realize how much I loved a good sub sandwich until I couldn’t eat them anymore on account of having Celiac Disease!
Italian Sub Salad is proof that eating gluten free doesn’t have to mean eating salads consisting of limp lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers for dinner every night. Enjoy and look forward to meal time with bright and fresh meals like this Italian-inspired stunner!
Start by roasting a 15oz can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans,) which will add filling protein and fiber to the salad, not to mention a delicious and hearty crunch. We didn’t have these in our original salads but I’m glad I added them when I made them for the blog. They added so much, texture and health-wise.
Drain then rinse the beans and then dry them off really well in a kitchen towel. Pour the beans onto a silpat, parchment paper, or foil-lined baking sheet, toss with extra virgin olive oil and salt, then roast for 35-40 minutes or until deep golden brown. They’ll crisp a bit more as they cool and can be made a couple days ahead of time.
Next add 9oz (1 bag) chopped romaine lettuce into a large bowl then use a pizza cutter to cut the lettuce into small, bite-sized pieces. I learned this trick at a build your own salad restaurant a million years ago and have been using it ever since. Down with face-whipping-sized pieces of lettuce!
To the lettuce add all the ingredients that would normally be stuffed inside a big fat Italian roll. That’s 2oz salami, 2oz can sliced black olives, 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, 1/4 cup banana pepper rings (<< THE BOMB,) and 2 green onions. We kept this salad dairy-free, but you could add chopped provolone, if you like!
This is the gluten-free salami I use by the way. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much of this stuff I eat on a weekly basis. So I won’t! ;)
Squeeze fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil over the salad to mimic the vinegar and oil usually drizzled over an Italian sub. That said, you could use red wine vinegar in place of lemon, but I’ve been loving fresh lemon juice on just about everything these days.
Finally, sprinkle on salt, pepper, and a pinch of dried oregano which completely transforms this salad into an Italian SUB salad. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you smell it,
Divide the salad between two bowls then go. to. TOWN!
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Italian Sub Salad
Italian Sub Salad tastes like a jam-packed deli sub - minus the bread. This healthy, gluten free entree salad is fresh, filling, and packed with craveable flavor!
- 15oz can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans,) drained then rinsed
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 9oz chopped romaine lettuce
- 2oz salami, chopped (I like Applegate naturals)
- 2oz can sliced black olives, drained
- 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup banana pepper rings, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 lemon
- pinch dried oregano
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line a baking sheet with a silpat, parchment paper, or foil and set aside. Pat garbanzo beans very dry on a kitchen towel then add to prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt then toss to evenly coat and roast for 30-40 minutes or until dark golden brown. Chickpeas will crisp as they cool and can be made a couple days ahead of time.
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, salami, black olives, tomatoes, banana pepper rings, and green onions. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and dried oregano, and then toss to coat. Add crispy chickpeas and avocado then mix gently to combine. Divide salad between plates then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.