Italian Grinder Salad (Hoagie Salad) + Video

This Italian Grinder Salad recipe turns the famous TikTok sandwich into salad form! This hearty side dish is loaded with deli meats, cheese, veggies, and a rich, delicious creamy dressing...just like your favorite hoagie.

plate of hoagie salad.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Love a good Italian grinder sandwich? Let's turn it into a salad today! The fillings in a grinder (sub, hero, hoagie...whatever you'd like to call it) translate perfectly into a really hearty salad that makes a full meal.

There's a reason this went viral on TikTok not long ago - it's crazy good. This salad is hearty enough to be a main course, but light enough to be a knock-out salad for a party or potluck.

It's also a dish that you can whip together in under 15 minutes. When you need a meal in a hurry, this is a great recipe to have in your back pocket!

What's a Grinder Sandwich?

A grinder sandwich is something you already know and love - you just might call it something a little bit different. It's called a sub sandwich where I'm from (in the southeast). Other regions call it a hoagie sandwich, a hero, a wedge sandwich, or even a spuckie.

This is just a hoagie bun filled with meats, cheeses, and veggies. Of course, you can put whatever you'd like in a grinder sandwich, but the most popular fillings are ham, turkey, salami, provolone, and veggies. Then, it's topped with a creamy dressing that has just a hint of spice.

We're copying all of that today in salad form. It's the grinder sandwich you know and love - just remixed!

Italian Grinder Salad Ingredients

ingredients for grinder salad.

Salad Fillings

(See printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient measurements.)

  • diced ham
  • sliced salami
  • sliced turkey
  • sliced provolone cheese - You probably won't be able to find a block of provolone in your grocery store. No problem, just slice up the provolone slices into bite-sized pieces.
  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • jarred pepperoncini peppers (banana peppers)
  • iceberg lettuce - I know iceberg lettuce isn't optimal for most recipes, but trust me - it's the right choice for this recipe. I'd stick with plain old shredded iceberg that you can find in your produce section.
  • croutons - These give the salad that carb-o-licious element that ties it into the salad. You can make your own (cut bread and toast at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes) or just buy the bagged variety - there's not a big taste difference.

Grinder Salad Dressing

  • mayonnaise - Use light if you'd like, it doesn't make a huge difference in taste!
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • Italian salad dressing mix - This mix adds a great depth of flavor to the dressing - get hints of garlic, peppers, and a great savory kick.
  • Italian seasoning - This is a mix of basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme that's a must-add.
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • canned parmesan cheese - Again, I know canned parmesan is controversial, but you need it to make this dressing really rich and creamy. The shredded stuff just doesn't work.

Try another delicious salad! This Twice Baked Potato Salad is a great side dish.

Variations

Don't see what you normally love on your grinder sandwiches? Change it up!

You can add or take away from this recipe as needed. Any of the meats/cheeses can go, as can most of the veggies (I'd recommend leaving the iceberg lettuce to tie everything together).

Some great additions/variations...

  • Proscuitto
  • Sliced deli roast beef
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Swiss cheese
  • Colby jack cheese
  • Pickled veggies (green beans, carrots, okra)

Pasta Salad Version

You can even make a fantastic pasta salad out of this recipe. Leave out the lettuce and croutons, double the dressing, and add 12oz al dente pasta to the mix. So delish!

Step-by-Step Preparation Instructions

ham, cheese, and vegetables in a glass bowl.

Step 1: In a (really) large mixing bowl, toss together the deli meats, cheeses, and chopped veggies (minus the iceberg lettuce).

ingredients for salad dressing in a glass bowl.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, vinegar, oil, dressing mix, spices, and parmesan cheese.

spooning dressing over meat, cheese, and veggies in a bowl.

Step 3: Pour dressing over salad mix in the large bowl. Gently mix.

italian grinder salad mix over a bed of lettuce on a plate.

Step 4: When ready to serve, spoon the salad mixture over iceberg lettuce. Either mix in lettuce or keep separate in layers to serve. Top with croutons.

How-To Video

More Hoagie Salad Tips/Tricks

  • This salad stores really well in the fridge. Seal in an airtight container (without croutons and lettuce) and enjoy within 2-3 days. Add croutons and lettuce just before serving.
  • This also makes a great grinder salad sandwich! Just put the salad (minus croutons) on a toasted hoagie roll for a super quick and tasty lunch.
  • If you're not going to be serving this within 30 minutes of prep, leave out the iceberg lettuce and croutons. They tend to get soggy pretty quickly. These can be added just before serving.
  • It's your choice whether or not you mix in the lettuce or use the hoagie salad as a topping for the lettuce. Both give the served salad a little bit different presentation and both are delicious!
  • This salad pairs beautifully with a soup like Zuppa Toscana or Chicken & Rice Soup.
  • This makes a great keto dish - just leave out croutons for a salad that's really low-carb and high in protein.
fork of italian grinder salad.

FAQs

A grinder is another name for a sub, hero, or hoagie sandwich. It's loaded with deli meats, fresh veggies, cheese, and a creamy dressing that kind of wraps everything together. It can be served cold or toasted.

This salad can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days after preparation. Simply leave the lettuce and croutons out, adding those just before serving.

If you love it on a grinder sandwich, you can put it in this salad! In addition to the items I've used, you can also add salami, cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, or deli roast beef.

I want to see what you think! Rate this recipe ⭐️ below or show me how it turned out on social media 📸 (@lambertslately).

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.
plate full of grinder salad with a fork.

Italian Grinder Salad

This Italian Grinder Salad recipe turns the famous TikTok sandwich into salad form! This hearty side dish is loaded with deli meats, cheese, veggies, and a rich, creamy dressing.
5 from 34 votes

Affiliate links used.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 399 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup deli ham thinly sliced
  • 1 cup salami thinly sliced
  • 1 cup deli turkey thinly sliced
  • 4 oz sliced provolone cheese thinly sliced
  • 5 roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup red onion finely diced
  • ½ cup jarred pepperoncini pepper slices
  • 8 oz shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 5 oz croutons

For the dressing:

Instructions
 

  • In a (really) large bowl, toss together the deli meats, cheeses, and chopped veggies (minus the iceberg lettuce).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, vinegar, oil, dressing mix, and parmesan cheese.
  • Pour dressing over salad mix in large bowl. Gently mix.
  • When ready to serve, spoon the mixture over iceberg lettuce. Either mix in lettuce or keep separate to serve. Top with croutons.

Notes

    • You can add or take away from this recipe as needed. Any of the meats/cheeses can go, as can most of the veggies (I'd recommend leaving the iceberg lettuce to tie everything together).
    • This salad stores great in the fridge. Seal in an airtight container (without croutons and lettuce) and enjoy within 2-3 days. Add croutons and lettuce just before serving.
    • This also makes a great grinder salad sandwich! Just put the salad (minus croutons) on a toasted hoagie roll for a super quick and tasty lunch.
    • It's your choice whether or not you mix in the lettuce or use the hoagie salad as a topping for the lettuce. Both give the served salad a little bit different presentation and both are delicious!
    • If you're not going to be serving this within 30 minutes of prep, leave out the iceberg lettuce and croutons. They tend to get soggy pretty quickly. These can be added just before serving.
    • This salad pairs beautifully with a soup like Zuppa Toscana or Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup.
    • This makes a great keto dish - just leave out croutons for a salad that's really low-carb and high in protein.
    • You can even make a fantastic pasta salad out of this recipe. Leave out the lettuce and croutons, double the dressing, and add 12oz al dente pasta to the mix. So delish!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 399kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 18gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 1571mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 983IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 192mgIron: 1mg
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