The Grinder Salad is a low-carb twist on the viral, Tik Tok Grinder Sandwich. All of the signature grinder sandwich ingredients (minus the hoagie roll) are chopped and tossed with a tangy, creamy Italian dressing. This healthier take on a classic Italian sub is light, filling, and will keep you satisfied until your next meal!
I have to admit, TikTok introduced me to the Grinder Sandwich. And if it weren't for Tik Tok, I would have never considered deconstructing the Grinder Sandwich into a nutritious and satisfying salad!
Inspired by the iconic grinder sandwich, the Grinder Salad combines iceberg lettuce, salami, provolone, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, pepperoncini, and homemade creamy Italian dressing.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This Italian-style chopped salad is easy to customize! Adding ingredients like turkey, ham, capicola, prosciutto, olives, cheddar, and mozzarella will only make it better!
- Raw vegetables are hydrating and cooling, which makes this salad the perfect no-cook meal for hot summer days.
- This salad will not leave you hungry an hour after eating it. The Grinder Salad is high in protein and fiber, and can be topped with homemade croutons.
- This type of salad is really easy to deconstruct for your little ones that aren't going to be impressed with everything all mixed together. Kids can be served a plate with deli meat, slices of cheese, chopped veggies, and dressing for dipping.
Iceberg lettuce: Chopped iceberg lettuce really gives this salad that sub-shop feel. Romaine lettuce is the best substitute for iceberg, but I strongly recommend using iceberg lettuce!
Veggies: I add cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber, and pepperoncini. I've also seen grinder salads made with cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, olives, pickles, banana peppers, and shaved Brussels sprouts.
Cold cuts: My grinder recipe sticks with salami only. Feel free to add other cold cuts like turkey, ham, prosciutto, pepperoni, and chicken.
Cheeses: I don't like to overdo it on the cheese so I only add sliced provolone cheese to the salad. Shredded mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan cheese, sliced cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese are also commonly added.
Creamy Italian dressing: My Grinder Salad dressing recipe is made with mayo, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and a pinch of sugar.
Since this is a raw salad all you need is a large cutting board, chopping knife, and a couple of mixing bowls.
How to make a Grinder Salad
- Mix up your creamy dressing.
- Chop the lettuce and add it to a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the shredded lettuce with the dressing.
- Add your vegetable, meat, and cheese toppings to the salad, serve, and enjoy!
Step 1: Whisk the grinder salad dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Let the dressing flavors meld together while you're assembling the rest of the salad.
Step 2: Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and lettuce. Remove the iceberg lettuce core, chop it into quarters, and then thinly slice the lettuce into shreds.
Step 3: Transfer the lettuce to a large mixing bowl and toss the lettuce with the creamy Italian dressing. Mix until the lettuce is thoroughly coated in the dressing.
Step 4: Transfer the dressed greens to a large serving platter. Add the rest of the salad toppings and serve immediately! Enjoy!
- Use fresh ingredients. Make sure your veggies are ripe, crisp, and thoroughly washed and dried.
- Prepare your dressing first. This will give the ingredients in the dressing some extra time to meld together.
- If you're making the salad ahead of time, wait to add the dressing. Adding dressing in advance will lead to a soggy salad later.
- If you aren't worried about making your salad low-carb, then I recommend adding some homemade croutons for extra flavor and crunch!
- When shredding iceberg lettuce, the first thing you'll do is slice off the bottom where the stem was. Then cut the head of lettuce in half lengthwise, and then into quarters. After that, you can thinly slice the lettuce into shreds.
- You can assemble your salads as I did in the photos above or you can toss all of the salad ingredients with the dressing. This will evenly coat all of the toppings in the creamy dressing.
Substitutions and variations
- Grinder dressing: Instead of my Creamy Italian Dressing, try using extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, or Olive Garden Italian Dressing.
- Add croutons: For extra crunch and satisfaction, add homemade croutons! Add crunch without the carbs with crispy baked parmesan cheese rounds.
- Add pasta: Turn your grinder salad into a grinder pasta salad. Simply toss some cooked noodles (farfalle or spiral noodles are my favorites) into your tossed salad.
- Add dried herbs and spices: Try shaking a generous amount of red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, salt, and pepper over your salad.
How to store leftovers
Store leftover salad in a glass, airtight container in the refrigerator. Undressed salad will stay fresh for about 3 days.
Leftover salad tossed with dressing won't last very long in the fridge. You'll find that your salad is pretty soggy and unappetizing after its sits for a while. Wait to add the dressing if you know you'll store the salad for later!
What to serve with salad
Are you team soup and salad, or sandwich and salad? If you love your soups then you need to make:
- Creamy Broccoli Zucchini Soup
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
- 15 Bean Soup (Crock Pot)
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Dutch Oven Chicken Noodle Soup
If you'd rather make a sandwich to go alongside your TikTok Salad then you'll love:
- Pinwheel Sandwiches
- Baked Ham and Cheese Bagel Sandwiches
- Turkey Pesto Panini Sandwich
- BLT Bagel Sandwich
- Caprese Chicken Sandwich
Frequently asked questions
A grinder salad sandwich is a popular Italian deli sandwich. The vegetable components in the grinder salad are chopped and tossed with dressing. They're then layered onto a hoagie roll with deli meat and cheese.
Without dressing, a grinder salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 3 days. With dressing, the salad will only stay fresh for a few hours.
The original grinder sandwiches supposedly earned their name because the bread they were served on was so hard, you had to grind your teeth to bite through it.
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