Best Italian Antipasto Salad: Tradition Never Tasted So Good

By E. Grace | All Recipes

Aug 25
best antipasto chopped salad
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 Best Italian Antipasto Salad: It’s simply the best antipasto chopped salad!

Antipasto is the traditional first course of an Italian meal that is served before the main course. It literally means, “before the meal.”



Don’t fill up on the first course but mamma mia!
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Best Italian Antipasto Salad
Nestled in between the rocky mountain faces of the Appalachians and the Juniata River, stood a simple Italian restaurant along the side of the road that specialized in an amazing antipasto salad.

Let me tell you about Tony’s Cottage Inn.

Before there was a bypass to Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, one of the few watering holes along Route 22 that Nittany Lions (and everyone in between) could stop for a bite to eat was a tiny little restaurant perched on the rocks above the Juniata River.

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For years,  Tony’s was an unremarkable two-story brick building just off the fork in Route 22.

When my brother and I were little, we would visit our paternal grandfather in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

Every time we went there, dinner would usually consist of two things – Kentucky Fried Chicken and the antipasto salad from Tony’s.

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Our Best Italian Antipasto Salad – It’s Like No Other!

For the most intense flavors, be sure to buy all the ingredients fresh at the deli counter.

Mom buys 1/2 inch thick slices of the genoa salami and pepperoni cut directly from the entire salami.

With the exception of the crumbled blue cheese,  to prepare the freshest and best antipasto chopped salad not a single ingredient used is pre-packaged.

Ingredients (besides the lettuce) include the following:

    • Genoa salami (cut into tiny cubes)
    • Pepperoni (cut int small pieces)
    • Swiss Cheese (cut into small cubes)
    • Blue Cheese (crumbled)
    • Green Pepper (diced)
    • Tomatoes (diced)
    • Black Olives (drained and dried)
    • Green Olives (drained and dried)
    • Red Onion ((cut into small dice)

Anchovies are usually extremely salty but this brand is very mild flavored (Anchovies are optional.  However, they provide the flavor that makes it an authentic Tony’s Antipasto salad)


Best Italian Antipasto Salad

Our Best antipasto chopped salad base after adding salami, pepperoni, olives and Swiss cheese

The chopped salad ingredients are cubed, seasoned with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, robust olive oil and red wine vinegar then allowed to rest to combine the many flavors.

Just before serving, the mix is tossed with the romaine lettuce pieces – just enough to coat the lettuce with the dressing.

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I don’t know if it was the dressing or the combination of toppings, but I have yet to find another chopped salad that even comes close to comparing.  Except our version of course.  This is it!



The salad is the reason I love blue cheese and chopped salads. The only thing we all skip, except for my aunt and brother, are the anchovies (yuck!).

Mom, on the other hand, passes her dish around to collect all the little salty fish bits.  She loves the authentic version of the best Antipasto Chopped Salad, anchovies included!

Best Italian Antipasto Salad with added meats and cheese

Best Antipasto Chopped Salad Dinner

Buon Appetito!

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