Inspired by local pizza joints, this salad is brimming with crisp textures and fresh flavors. It’s truly the best salad for pizza night!

Why You’ll Want This Side Salad to Go With Your Pizza

This one mimics the typical salad at a pizza place, but on a much fresher level. Iceberg lettuce is tossed with tomatoes, bell pepper, red onions, black olives, croutons, and most importantly, tangy pepperoncini! As for the dressing, a zesty Italian vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar.

Simple, refreshing, and the perfect side for any pizza! (In addition to Buffalo wings, of course.)

Pizzas to Serve With This Side Salad

  1. Cast Iron Pizza—Baked in a cast iron skillet to offer up a perfectly golden crust.
  2. Herb & Garlic Cheese Pizza—Fresh herbs, a blend of mozzarella & parmesan cheeses, and a lot of garlic!
  3. Hawaiian Pizza With Crispy Prosciutto—Sweet pineapple, salty prosciutto, and chili flakes.
  4. Peppadew Pizza With Honey & Cracker Pepper—Sweet and punchy peppadew peppers, a drizzle of honey, and freshly cracked black pepper.
  5. Sausage & Roasted Red Pepper Pizza—Crumbled Italian sausage, earthy roasted red peppers, and baby spinach.
  6. Grandma Pizza—Topped with cheese first, then drizzled with a simple from-scratch marinara and fresh oregano.
  7. Dill Pickle Pizza—Melty mozzarella, sliced dill pickles, fresh dill, and shallots top a creamy Caesar dressing base.
  8. Bruschetta Pizza—Everything you love about bruschetta bread, but on a pizza! Drizzled with the obligatory balsamic glaze.
  9. Veggie Deluxe Pizza—Mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, red onion, and cheese.
  10. Chicken Fajita Pizza—A salsa base gets topped with Mexican blend cheese, fajita-seasoned chicken, bell peppers, and onions.
  11. Caprese Pizza—Soft buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato slices, aromatic basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  12. Easy Air Fryer Pizza—Crisped to perfection in the air fryer and topped however you prefer.

Quick Tips

  • The Italian vinaigrette I’m including with this recipe is, of course, optional. This salad has a neutral flavor that will do well with just about any dressing—Caesar, Ranch, balsamic, etc.
  • When choosing cheeses, I usually go with shredded cheddar. You could also use shredded mozzarella, and crumbled feta would be great.
  • Avoid tossing the vinaigrette into the salad to serve. If there are leftovers, you can pack them separately, confident that the salad won’t be soggy.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • Iceberg lettuce. I used iceberg because most, if not all pizzerias I’ve gotten salad from, use iceberg. It stays true to the pizzeria salad as I know it. Plus, it’s super crisp.
  • Tomatoes. In most of my salads I use grape tomatoes, but pizza joints seem to favor larger varieties. I used a few tomatoes on the vine.
  • Cucumbers. I love using mini cucumbers in my salads! But large ones work just as well.
  • Green bell pepper. Another specific I’ve noticed in these salads, it’s always green bell pepper. But you could switch it up if you prefer the sweeter varieties, like orange or red.
  • Red onion. Red onion is just nice to have in a salad because it’s milder in flavor than white onion. This salad could do with thinly shaved sweet onion, however.
  • Black olives. I feel like this might be a staple in pizzeria salads! But if you’re not an olive lover, go ahead and omit them.
  • Pepperoncini. An absolute must; I think every salad at a pizza place has them! The tangy briny flavor just makes the salad POP.
  • Croutons. My homemade air fryer croutons are my favorite, but any kind of big crunchy flavorful croutons work.

For the Italian vinaigrette (optional)

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dijon
  • Sea salt
  • Sugar
  • Cracked pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

How to Make This Fresh Salad to Go With Pizza

  1. If you’re making the Italian Vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust to your preference. Set it aside when done, or transfer to a small jar or bottle.
  2. Prep all of your veggies and goodies for your salad. Pop them all into a large salad bowl and toss to evenly distribute all of the ingredients.
  3. Serve with your favorite pizzas, dressing on the side!

Storage Tips

  • Because we’re (likely) using fresher ingredients than you’d find in a salad at a pizza place, this will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container. Avoid tossing the dressing and croutons into the entire bowl if you’re likely to have leftovers, as the dressing will yield a soggy salad and the croutons will go soft. Store the dressing in its own jar or bottle.

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More Side Salad Recipes

Best Side Salad for Pizza

Inspired by local pizza joints, this salad is brimming with crisp textures and fresh flavors. It's truly the best salad for pizza night!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes (such as on the vine or Roma) or one large (such as beefsteak), diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large cucumber or 2 mini cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup drained and roughly chopped pepperoncini If you purchase pepperoncini already chopped, you don't need to chop them further—only if they're whole.
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or diced red onion
  • Croutons, for serving
  • Cheese (optional)

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Instructions

ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

  • Pop all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a small blender and blend until smooth. Taste it and adjust to your preference if necessary; set aside.

SALAD

  • Chop all of your veggies for the salad and prep the other ingredients. Place everything in a large salad bowl and, using serving spoons or tongs, toss everything to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • Serve with the dressing on the side.

Notes

Be sure to scroll up to the post to find recipe tips and storage suggestions.