Italian Sub Salad for #SundaySupper

There is a restaurant near us that at one time had a game room downstairs where they served subs at lunchtime. The menu was limited – ham, turkey, roast beef, Italian and veggie – but their Italian sub was the best I’ve ever had. The meats were nice and lean, the sub was served hot so the cheese was perfectly melted, the roll was fresh and crunchy in all of the right places and the dressing had exactly the right amount of oil, vinegar and Italian spices. A co-worker of mine once said a sub is “no good unless the dressing drips down your arms.” By that standard, this sub was really good.

Italian Sub Salad

Sadly, while this restaurant still exists, the game room/sub shop is no more. I really miss that sub.

When I heard that the Sunday Supper group was focusing on “skinny” foods today, I decided to try a healthier take on an Italian sub. Converting it into a salad, bulking it up with romaine and replacing the sub roll with croutons significantly reduces the calories and carbs. Take a look at how this salad stacks up against a 6-inch Italian BMT sub from Subway:

Subway 6-inch Italian BMT Italian Sub Salad
Calories 410 237
Total Fat 16 g 12 g
Saturated Fat 6 g 4 g
Cholesterol 45 mg 36 mg
Sodium 1,300 mg 1,836 mg
Total Carbs 46 g 17 g
Fiber 5 g 3 g
Sugar 8 g 5 g
Protein 20 g 15 g

You’ll notice that the salad is “healthier” than the sub in most respects, but it does contain more Sodium. This recipe is easy to throw together, but that convenience isn’t free. Foods that come in jars (giardiniera, peppers) or packages (croutons) and cold cuts contain a lot of Sodium. If you are watching your Sodium intake, here are some ways to modify the recipe:

  • Make your own croutons: Cube bread and toss with olive oil. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 400°F, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes.
  • Replace the giardiniera with fresh, raw cauliflower, carrots, peppers, celery and/or onions. Replace the brine with balsamic vinegar.
  • Replace the jarred peppers with fresh, sliced banana peppers.
  • Cut back on the amount of meats and cheese or use low-sodium varieties.

This salad isn’t the perfect substitute for that memorable Italian Sub, but it’ll do.

Italian Sub Salad

Italian Sub Salad
Healthier version of an Italian sub
Recipe type: Salads & Dressings
Serves: 4
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar giardiniera (pickled vegetables)
  • ½ cup jarred sweet and hot salad peppers or Peppadew peppers
  • 2 ounces turkey pepperoni, cut into thin strips
  • 1 ounce Genoa salami, cut into thin strips
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 2 ounces smoked provolone cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ large head of romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 cup fat-free croutons (I like the garlic Caesar ones)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Drain giardiniera, reserving 2 tablespoons of brine.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the giardiniera, peppers, pepperoni, salami, prosciutto and provolone. Drizzle with olive oil and giardiniera brine and toss again. Set aside for about 20 minutes to let flavors combine.
  3. Add romaine and croutons to giardiniera mixture and toss. Season with pepper and serve immediately.
This salad is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Folate. It is also high in Sodium. See tips above for reducing the amount of Sodium in the salad if you are concerned.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 237 Fat: 12g Saturated fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 17g Sugar: 5g Sodium: 1,836mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 15g Cholesterol: 36mg

The #SundaySupper gang will be sharing “Skinny” recipes all afternoon on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram on Sunday, February 17, 2013. We will also have a live chat at 7 p.m. EST on Twitter and will be using the hashtag #SundaySupper. We look forward to answering questions, giving tips and inspiring you to spend more time Around the Family Table with those you love! Thanks to Sunithi of Sue’s Nutrition Buzz for hosting this event.

Sizzling Skinny Appetizers & Soups

Healthy Skinny Mains & Sides

Guilt Free Skinny Desserts & Snacks

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Skinny Sunday Supper by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog


  1. says

    Almost every time I am at a sub shop I will order the Italian sub. I love this salad version! Who needs bread when you can have this incredible salad.

  2. says

    Love your version of the salad & love all the healthy skinny salad tips ! A hearty salad can fillme up and keep me satisfied :) This one is a winner ! Thanks for posting !

  3. says

    I love turning certain entrees into salad form! This version sounds awesome. When we make tacos at our house, I always end up making a taco salad instead…I like getting the bed of greens in place of tortillas, bread, etc!

  4. says

    Love this dish. You took out all the bad stuff and just highlighted the good part of the sub. Totally dig this.

    I love how wide your post content is. It’s a thing of beauty.

  5. says

    Oh, what a yummy salad…packed full of so many delicious ingredients without all the guilt of a big sub! Well done!

  6. says

    I love that you included the nutritional info. I’ll have to start doing that too! Salad looks wonderful. All the flavors I love!

  7. says

    I think you did an awesome job of recreating and revamping that sub into this amazing salad. It sounds incredible! And thanks so much for having the nutritional info and the helpful tips on making it even healthier.

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