Italian Hoagie Salad

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, where hoagies were known as “subs” and homemade rolls from Philadelphia were trucked into local sandwich shops and restaurants on the regular. I’m not even going to try and pretend that I wasn’t super into that bread. Here’s a fun fact: In the eighties, I used to end my shift at my dad’s restaurant by demolishing a steamy, round loaf of bread with one of the other waitresses. And yes, it was slathered in butter.

But really, the best part of the hoagie is the inside: spicy Italian cold cuts and shredded lettuce and onions with just the right amount of olive oil to make it slinky and vinegar to give it a bite, then a sprinkle of oregano, salt, and pepper. Therein lies the magic.

It’s those little details that lead up to big flavor.

So this Italian Hoagie Salad embraces a foundation of Italian meats and lettuce, then builds on it with more crisp veggies to amp up the nutrition. This is a meal I cobbled together one night when I couldn’t bear the thought of cooking; it relies on Applegate Farms cold cuts (unless you use the variation I’ve listed at the end), and it requires nothing more of you than a lot of chopping. It’s as close as I can get to running out for a sub on a Saturday afternoon.

Who needs a bread roll when you’ve got a big bowl?!

(For more awesome recipes like this, get your hands on my latest cookbook Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less.)

italian_hoagie_saladItalian Hoagie Salad

Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes | Whole30 compliant tips below

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 (5 ounce) package Applegate Farms Natural Pepperoni, julienned

  • 1 (4 ounce) package Applegate Farms Natural Genoa Salami, julienned

  • 1 (4 ounce) package Applegate Farms Natural Prosciutto, julienned

  • 1 (6 ounce) can anchovies, drained and chopped (optional)

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

  • a few handfuls of baby spinach

  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced very thin

  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced very thin

  • 2-3 pepperoncini, sliced very thin

  • 1/2 (15 ounce) can red beets, julienned

  • 1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, sliced thin

  • 1 (6 ounce) can black olives, halved


Equip yourself with an enormous mixing bowl. Place vinegar, oil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in bowl and whisk to combine.


Prep the meats and add to the bowl, then prep the veggies and add to the bowl as they’re chopped.


When everything is in the bowl, toss with two spoons while sing a rousing rendition of “That’s Amore.” (Seriously. You want to toss for at least 2 minutes.)

Here are the lyrics to help you out:

And in case you want to treat yourself to a soothing dose of Dean Martin, here’s video of the ultimate crooner.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That’s amore
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
That’s amore
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You’re in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you’re not
Dreaming seniore
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That’s amore

Make it Whole30 Compliant

Replace the deli meats with rotisserie or leftover chicken or steak. You could also add some chopped hard-boiled eggs, if that’s your thing.

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  • Robyn says:

    I grew up in Central NJ and the sub was … life. I could taste it when I read the recipe and smacked myself in the forehead because I never thought of making it in a bowl. (Although our favorite as kids was bologna and provolone, it’s more grown up with Italian meats.)

  • Amy says:

    Whelp, I guess I know what I’m making for the Daytona 500!

  • Tara says:

    I’ve been making hoagie dip for Christmas for two years now and it’s not far off from this. I do cut up grape tomatoes and add to it too. It’s amazing when you realize the mayo/olive oil/Italian seasoning mix is what gives hoagies their delicious flavor.

  • Molly says:

    I am eating this right now. Its a wonderful change of pace from soups and stews! I added artichokes as well and topped with some homemade mayo. I also decided to marinate the vegetables and meat together, then wait to add the lettuce to each serving, so I don’t need to worry about soggy leftovers. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Leslie says:

    Oh my gosh. This tastes exactly like jersey mikes. I love you Mel.

  • Beverly says:

    This looks like it wold be good as a mason jar salad – just not sure of the order of ingredients. Anyone have a suggestion?

  • Lisa says:

    I went to buy the ingredients for this yesterday, and the pepperoni and salami you listed (same brand) both had dextrose in them. Does Applegate make variations that don’t have sugar in them?

    • Sadly, they don’t. When I’m not doing a Whole30, I don’t worry about a little added sugar like that once in a while. If you prefer to avoid all added sugar, you can make the salad with cooked chicken in place of the Italian meats. It still tastes really good!

  • Joan says:

    This is going in my permanent collection! I made it this week for dinner on Monday, then had it for lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yes, it was a little soggy on the lunch days, but I did NOT care. Delicious! I made a couple of small changes: romaine lettuce for iceberg, since that’s what was in my fridge; artichokes for hearts of palm, cause I love artichokes; omitted the beets, because my husband won’t eat them. Otherwise, all as written. Great recipe!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it ALL the times you ate it 😉 It’s handy because you can make it with so many different ingredients — it’s a good last-minute, throw-it-together dinner. Thanks for letting me know you liked it!

  • cheryl says:

    Although I can’t eat cheese, (my husband got the cheese) this salad was a huge hit. It really did taste like a sub, or a hoagie. My husband gave it a huge thumbs up. A delightful change. Thanks for the creativity, as always. I enjoy everything that I make from you.

  • Laura says:

    I have looked at this recipe several times since you first posted it, but had never made it until tonight. Oh my goodness! We loved it! It reminded me a favorite pasta salad recipe that my family adores, only without the pesky pasta hangover. Thank you so much!

  • Amy says:

    Woman, you are a genius. This is so good. And since it makes a ton, I’ll be eating it for a couple of days! Winner winner, Italian salad dinner!

  • mojo says:

    Mel — I wonder if this would work with a balsamic instead of red wine vinegar? (Going to make this on the fourth!)

  • Kim says:

    …from a Philly girl, learning how to be a Philly girl who eats well…THANK YOU! You’re so amazing! Just ordered your first book, and plan to get the others over the next couple of months. (I can only make so many recipes at a time! 😉

  • Shelda says:

    This sounds SO fabulous! I keep thinking it needs some red pepper, either crisp and fresh or roasted. Gonna try this soon, thanks!

  • Rolland says:

    Hi Mel – i love your cookbooks!
    I found this recipe in your Well-Fed Weeknights one, and it lists Applegate Farms Uncured Pork Pepperoni

    But the recipe Pizza Noodles in the same book, when listing the same ingredient also says “omit for Whole 30”

    Which is correct? Thanks!!