Italian salad recipes tend to be pretty basic, unlike their British and American counterparts. Instead of trying to force in as many ingredients as possible, Italians use simple, fresh individual ingredients designed to provide a refreshing accompaniment to the main meal. Almost all Italian salads use extra virgin olive oil as the essential ingredient as well as white, red or balsamic vinegar.
And for a truly traditional selection of Italian salad recipes it’s hard to beat the great range of ideas from Gino D’Acampo. There are dozens of recipes for Italian salads to choose from, including Insalata Fantasia, a rocket, pomegranate and pine nut salad, Panzanella, or as Gino calls it the ‘ultimate’ tomato, pepper, artichoke and bread salad and a red pepper, Taleggio cheese and courgette salad. Of course, where Italian salad recipes are concerned, almost anything goes!
Scroll through Gino’s Italian salad recipes and you’ll find something to go with every Italian pasta recipe, fish recipe or meat recipe. Whether you’re cooking for one, two or dozens, there is a tasty and easy Italian salad recipe for you!
You can find a full range of the very best Italian salads in Gino’s best-selling recipe books – along with a range of other Italian recipes such as inspired Italian chicken recipes and beef recipes – or you can find a selection of great ideas below. Time to start cooking!
Insalata di Couscous con Olive e AsparagiCouscous Salad With Olives, Asparagus & Grana Padano
Couscous is so easy to prepare, but it does need the addition of some really good flavours to make it come to life. This rainbow salad is a fantastic source of vitamin C and is surprisingly filling. It’s great as a main course or you can reduce the quantities and serve it as a side with barbecued meats or grilled fish.
Insalata di fregola con olive, scorza d’arancia ed erbetteFregola Salad With Olives, Orange Zest & Fresh Herbs
A true Sardinian speciality, fregola is a type of pasta typically made from semolina dough. It is similar to couscous, but with larger pellets that have been toasted in the oven so it has a firmer texture and nuttier flavour. You can find fregola of differing sizes in Italian delicatessens and online – it is perfect with fish or shellfish.
Couscous alla trapanese con pesce, pomodori e mandorleTrapani-Style Couscous with Fish, Tomatoes & Almonds
There are literally dozens of recipes for this classic Sicilian couscous dish, most of which have the addition of seafood and chilli – but here I’ve let the sweet white fish do the talking. The town of Trapani is famous for couscous, and there is an annual couscous festival there in September. Ask your fishmonger for end cuts and bones to flavour the sauce.
Insalata di sgombro affumicato con arance e finocchiSmoked Mackerel, Orange & Fennel Salad
Oranges go perfectly with smoked mackerel, particularly the red oranges that are so abundant in Sicily. Orange and fennel are a popular combination in Sicilian cuisine, especially in the city of Palermo, and with the addition of this seductively rich-tasting fish this salad becomes the star of any antipasti table.
Insalata calda di manza con carciofi, peperoncino e nociWarm Beef Salad With Artichokes, Chilli & Walnuts
Sardinia is famous for its beef, particularly that of the bue rosso (red cow), which grazes the pastures of the volcanic Montiferru area in central-western Sardinia and is considered by many to provide the finest beef in Italy. For this recipe I have taken the theme of a traditional Sardinian beef salad and have added artichokes and walnuts - which really complement the juicy sides of warm...
Insalata di FagioliniFrench Beans with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Feta and Mozzarella
This recipe (like most of my recipes) happened by accident. I was hosting a barbecue party and a friend of mine challenged me to make something that resembled the colours of the Italian flag. I went to the fridge, got hold of everything green, white and red and came up with this masterpiece. Today, it has become one of my signature dishes among my friends and we still enjoy it at every barbecue party....
Insalata di Pollo e ChorizoChicken and Chorizo Salad With Beans and Rocket Leaves
Every now and then I go on a health kick and watch what I eat, especially in the evenings. However, there are only so many salads you can have before you start to get a bit bored, especially during the winter months – but this is an amazing option: filling, delicious and incredibly good for you but at the same time it won’t leave you feeling hard done by, unlike some salads.
Farfalle con noci e GorgonzolaPasta salad with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese
Gorgonzola and walnuts have always been a great combination. I find that they work perfectly with pasta and rocket. Of course you can eat this dish hot, but if you are making it for the following day make sure you eat it at room temperature and mix well before serving. If you prefer, substitute the Gorgonzola with any hard blue cheese of your choice.