If you’re looking for a salad with a satisfying crunch to it, this Vegetable Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing is your answer. Chock full of fresh veggies and doused in an Italian dressing, bursting with flavor.
I love using raw vegetables to get a slight crunch. I even use this option on other recipes like these Veggie Bars. This reason is why I make my own dressing as well. Not only can I make it exactly to my taste preferences I get to also control the ingredients going into it. That in itself is a great feeling.
What’s In This Vegetable Salad?
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Green Onions
- Black Pitted Olives
- Bacon (optional)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Italian Dressing
How to Make Vegetable Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
Make the dressing – Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake until mixed well.
Make the salad – In a large bowl, mix together all the vegetables. Do not add in the bacon or parmesan yet. Pour the homemade dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Chill for around 2 hours.
Add the last bacon – Once the mixture has marinated and chilled through and you’re ready to serve it, toss it with the bacon. Be sure to do this right before serving.
Garnish and enjoy – Garnish the finished product with parmesan cheese if desired and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Vinegar Options – If you prefer red wine vinegar to white vinegar, you can definitely swap the two out.
- Storage – Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I would not suggest freezing the mixture as the resulting texture isn’t very satisfying.
- Add nuts or seeds – If you want even more crunch, you can always add some nuts or seeds to the salad. Sunflower seeds are one of my classic go-to’s.
- Make-ahead – This salad is great for making in advance. Since it needs to marinade, I like making it the day before and letting it marinate overnight. Adds for the best flavor outcome.
- Make it spicy – If you like a little spice to your salad, you can always add a few slices of fresh jalapeno or add some crushed red pepper to the dressing.
- Add other veggies – If you like some other veggies and would like to include them, go right ahead! Just know you might have to adjust the amount of the dressing if you’re adding more vegetables in. Some vegetables I like including are zucchini, other types of onion, shallots, etc.
What Is a Healthy Salad?
A healthy salad can be accomplished in a plethora of ways. However, there are a few mistakes people make that can turn a healthy salad choice into a high calorie or unhealthy salad. One bigger mistake is the overuse of dressing.
Believe it or not, many dressings are highly processed or contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, which isn’t healthy in the slightest. Only using a small amount on your salad helps, but to make it a healthier choice, using a dressing that has few ingredients, especially processed ingredients, is better.
Other mistakes are adding ingredients that aren’t too healthy such as uncooked ramen noodles or other similar ingredients. A good and healthy salad has fresh veggies, a protein such as chicken or chickpeas, and fresh homemade dressing.
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Vegetable Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
- 2 cups broccoli roughly chopped
- 2 cups cauliflower roughly chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup zucchini sliced
- 1/4 cup green onions
- 1/2 cup black pitted olives
- 1/4 cup carrots diced
- 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
Homemade Italian Dressing
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red crushed pepper optional
- To make the dressing, measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously until well blended and emulsified.
- In a large bowl combine broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, green onion, olives, and carrot.
- Pour the dressing over top and toss so that all the vegetables are coated.
- Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.
- Toss with bacon just before serving and serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the white wine vinegar
- The salad can be made the day before and left to marinate in the fridge overnight.
- Add seeds or chopped nuts for additional crunch.
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