Super Simple, No-Cook Italian Grinder Salad

Have you seen this tasty salad making the rounds on TikTok? You’ve gotta try the Grinder Salad; it’s a delicious, tasty spin on my favorite childhood meal. 

You may know the grinder by another name… sub, hoagie, or sandwich. Whatever you call it, it’s a fan fav that you simply can’t go wrong with!

A big tossed grinder salad in a gray bowl with sliced lunch meat and red onions scattered throughout

Born and raised in New England myself, Italian Grinders are a classic meal that I ate year-round. For as far back as I can remember, they’ve been the go-to for anything from beach picnics to a party crowd pleaser. 

The traditional grinder sandwich is packed with deli meat, provolone cheese, crisp shredded lettuce, red onion, and vibrant banana peppers, all bundled up in an Italian sandwich roll. Oh, and a drizzle of vinaigrette plus a side of chips to complete the meal! 

Our grinder salad ingredients will be the same, but we’ll add a bit more of those leafy greens.

In this recipe, I’ve turned one of my all-time favorite sandwiches into a delicious, balanced, and healthy meal option. Instead of making a traditional Italian Grinder Sandwich, we’re going to modify this slice of heaven into its salad form! 

What’s to love about this salad?

Not only is this salad reminiscent of that oh-so-delicious Italian hoagie, but it also provides so many nutrients! You’ll have some freedom with your choice of greens, but when you add the dark leafy variety – like spinach and kale – you’ll be fueling yourself with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber (1)! 

Plus, the chopped deli meat gives you a boost of protein. No matter what you choose, you’ll typically get over 10 grams in a single serving (2).

Plus, you don’t need to turn on your oven or stove to get dinner ready. All you need is a mixing bowl and a sharp knife for some chopped veggies. 

What will I need?

This salad is super simple to put together and you’ll only need a few tools to make it happen. 

So grab a cutting board, knife, large bowl for mixing, small bowl, and a whisk. That’s all, no cooking required! 

A grinder salad with all the fixings artfully placed on a big bowl of crunchy lettuce

Put it all together

Here’s how to make your grinder salad. 

Start out with your veggies 

Quick note: You won’t find banana peppers roaming through the produce aisle. You’ll actually find them in a glass jar usually near the pickles!

Slice your cherry tomatoes in half, slice the red onion and cucumbers, and chop your lettuce with your knife and cutting board. 

Want to make prep even easier? If you want to skip some chopping, you can always buy pre-chopped lettuce and cabbage (I like this one). I’m busy and I know you are too!!

Quick note: 2 cups of Romaine lettuce provides more fiber than most other greens and gives you more than enough of your daily Vitamin A needs (3)!

Meat and cheese, please!

Choose your protein source and slice it up into bite-size pieces. If you want to stick to the traditional Italian Grinder flavors, turkey, ham, and salami are great options for this salad.

Cheese is up next, and a single slice of Provolone will give you 20% of your daily calcium that keeps your bones strong and healthy (4).

Bring out the bowl

In a large bowl, mix everything you’ve prepared above. Now, for the finishing touch that will bring the Italian Grinder goodness to your beautiful salad. 

In your small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices thoroughly – the garlic powder combined with the Italian seasoning will complete the flavor profile. Drizzle this dressing all over your colorful creation and serve with a slice of Italian bread or a bag of chips!

Variations of the Grinder Salad

Want to make this salad your own? Here are a few different versions of the grinder salad, depending on your dietary goals and restrictions. There’s something for everyone!

Add even more protein

You can up your protein intake by adding cubed or chopped chicken, or a tuna packet! One little packet of that protein-packed fish delivers 17 grams of protein (5).

Make it vegan

Instead of using meats and cheese, swap in your favorite plant-based sliced deli “meats” and “cheeses.”

Fiber boost

Add a cup of chickpeas – aka garbanzo beans – to your Grinder Salad to get about 40% of your daily fiber (6).  

Grinder sandwich instead?

Want to make the original grinder sandwich? Keep all of the ingredients the same, except the lettuce mixture. Cut back on the greens and tuck the ingredients into an Italian roll and drizzle with that delicious dressing!

Did you love this recipe? Make sure to snap a pic and tag me @the.balanced.nutritionist on Instagram!

Grinder salad mixed in a bowl with Italian bread on the side

Grinder Salad

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: American
Calories: 325kcal


  • 1-2 cups Your greens of choice chopped or shredded
  • 1-2 cups Shredded cabbage mix
  • 1-2 tbsp Red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper sliced
  • 1/4 cup cucumbers chopped
  • 2-3 oz deli meat turkey, ham, and salami are great options
  • 1 oz provolone cheese chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp banana peppers

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch garlic powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch italian seasoning


  • 1 bag potato chips
  • 1 slice italian bread


  • Prepare your cherry tomatoes, red onion cucumbers, and lettuce using a knife and cutting board.
  • Slice your deli meats and cheese.
  • In a large bowl, add your lettuce, coleslaw mix (or chopped cabbage), tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion.
  • Top your veggie salad mixture with deli meats and cheese.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices.
  • Add dressing to your salad and mix thoroughly. Serve with a slice of Italian bread or a bag of chips on the side!


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 910mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4719IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 281mg | Iron: 2mg
  1. […] Need more super easy and delish meal ideas? Try my super simple, no-cook Italian grinder salad! […]

  2. […] meat – Adding cold cuts like ham, turkey, and roast beef to a sandwich or a delicious Grinder salad are great ways to up your protein. And they can be mixed and matched to your […]

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