This Vegetarian Grinder Salad is packed with so many delicious ingredients! It’s great for a hearty and flavorful meat free meal.
If you’re on TikTok these days, you are probably familiar with the popular Grinder Sandwich that has been going around. It’s an Italian style sub sandwich that is packed with lots of meat, cheese, veggies and a mayo based red wine vinegar and pepperochini sauce.
I don’t eat meat and I’m a big salad girl, so I decided to make this big Vegetarian Grinder Salad and it’s so delicious!
Vegetarian Grinder Salad Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Iceberg Lettuce – The grinder sandwich is traditionally made with iceberg lettuce so that is what I used. Romaine would also be great and it would probably allow the salad to last longer in the refrigerator. Iceberg is nice and crunchy though and I enjoyed it.
- Spiced Chickpeas – The sandwich can have about 2-3 different kinds of meat on it, so for my vegetarian version I cooked chickpeas in some savory and smoky spices that went perfectly with all the other ingredients.
- Croutons – I like to think of the croutons as the bread element. They add a nice crunch and go well with the cheese. I used homemade croutons but regular store-bought will be great too.
- Cheese – I’ve seen people use all different kind of cheeses in their grinder sandwiches. I used a vegetarian parmesan cheese but a cheddar or even mozzarella would be great too. This salad can also be made vegan by using a vegan cheese.
- Tomato – I used some cherry tomatoes that I diced up into small pieces. They add a nice sweetness and a bright color to the salad.
- Pepperochini – For the grinder sandwich, the pepperochini is mixed into the mayo dressing. I just got a jar of whole pepperochini and diced them up as an addition to the salad.
- Red Onion – I love adding raw red onion to my salads and it just happens to be an ingredient in the sandwich!
- Dressing – For the dressing, I used mayo, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dried oregano and salt and pepper. It doesn’t look the most appetizing once mixed up but it tastes so good!
- Fresh Herbs – The food stylist in me had to add some fresh herbs to this Grinder Salad for extra color and flavor 🙂 I used parsley and fresh oregano.
How To Make The Best Vegetarian Grinder Salad
- Start by preparing your chickpeas. Rinse and drain your chickpeas and then add them to a medium sized pan with a couple teaspoons of oil. Cook chickpeas for a few minutes, until starting to brown, and then add in your seasonings. Mix together to make sure all the chickpeas are coated and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the dressing: add all dressing ingredients to a bowl, or jar, and mix until everything is combined.
- Prepare your lettuce next. I wanted this to be more of a chopped salad, so I used an entire head of iceberg lettuce and chopped it into bite size pieces. Add the iceberg lettuce to a large bowl.
- Assemble your salad. To the top of the iceberg lettuce, add your chickpeas and all the remaining salad ingredients. I sectioned off everything so you could get a good look at all the individual ingredients but you can also just throw everything into the bowl on top of each other.
- Pour over desired amount of dressing and enjoy!
Salad Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
- Is this grinder salad gluten free? Mine is not because of my croutons, but you can easily make yours gluten free by using gluten free croutons.
- Is this recipe vegan? No, it contains cheese. But, you can easily make it vegan by using vegan cheese or omitting the cheese. Although the recipe is not vegan, I did use vegan mayo in the dressing.
- Can I use something other than iceberg lettuce? Yes, romaine lettuce would be a great substitute since it’s crunchy but any kind of green would work.
- Is parmesan cheese vegetarian? Most traditional parmesan cheeses are not vegetarian because they contain animal rennet (enzymes) but you can usually find American made parmesan cheese that is made with plant rennet and is therefore vegetarian.
- How long does this salad keep in the refrigerator? Undressed, this salad should keep for 2-3 days looking fresh. A dressed salad will probably only keep for a day or so. Best to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep fresh the longest.
Have a question I didn’t answer? Ask me in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP!