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finished recipe piled high in a glass bowl

Mediterranean Tossed Salad for a Crowd


If you're hosting a family event or party and want to offer a delicious, easy side, this is the salad for you! 



For the Salad:

12 cups romaine or leaf lettuce, torn or chopped

2 cups jarred pickled giardiniera, chopped

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and fried (see below)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup red onion, halved and sliced very thin

1 cup parmesan shavings

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of sugar or stevia

For the Fried Garbanzos:

2 cups of garbanzos, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. To prepare the garbanzos, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add garbanzos, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the beans in oil, then leave the beans to fry in the pan for 4-5 minutes. Stir and leave the beans for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain quickly on paper towels before serving.
  2. Prepare the homemade salad dressing by combining all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, being mindful that the garlic and Dijon flavors will intensify as they marinate with the vinegar and oil.
  3. To prepare the salad, wash and dry the leaf or romaine lettuce and the cherry or grape tomatoes. Chop lettuce into bite-size pieces and add it to a large serving bowl. Halve the tomatoes and add them to the lettuce.
  4. Peel and cut the onion into quarters. Cut each quarter into very thin slices and add to the salad bowl.
  5. Drain the pickled giardiniera. I slice the carrots into spears and the onions and cauliflower into small, bite-sized pieces and add to the salad.
  6. Take the salt and pepper chickpeas that have been drained and add to the salad. Top with pumpkin seeds.
  7. Pour half of the simple vinaigrette dressing over the large salad bowl and toss well to coat each piece. Add more dressing to taste. Top with Parmesan shavings and serve immediately.


For the simple dressing, use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in place of red wine vinegar. Adding balsamic will give you a sweet-savory balsamic vinaigrette for your simple green salad recipe. If your summer herb garden is taking over the porch, add some fresh basil, thyme, tarragon or dill for an herbaceous kick.

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American, Mediterranean

Keywords: tossed salad for a crowd, Mediterranean salad, side salad