One of my very favorite house salads is the Insalata Della Casa served at Bravo’s Italian Restaurant so I was thrilled when I found a copycat recipe a few years ago. Chopped salads typically consist of all diced or chopped ingredients, including the lettuce, which are tossed together with the dressing before serving.
Insalata Della Casa starts with a base of iceberg and romaine lettuces, tomato, cucumber, and bacon. If I’m prepping ahead, I like to chill my chopped ingredients at this stage so that when the dressing is added, the salad is good and chilled. Better yet, chill the serving bowls for a really refreshing green salad.
The secret ingredient? Chinese rice noodles! These thin crispy noodles add a little extra crunch. The Bravo salad has fried wonton strips, but I think these little noodles are a perfect substitute — right out of the can and no frying required!
The creamy homemade Parmesan Ranch dressing is one of the best I’ve tried. In a crunch I will use the bottled Ranch dressing, but the homemade is definitely better — you’ll want to try it!
I like to sprinkle a few extra Chinese rice noodles and Parmesan cheese on top when serving, just for the extra crunch. Another thing I love about this salad is that the dressing can be made a day or two ahead (which gives it plenty of time to chill and allow the flavors to meld together), so that assembling this salad takes literally minutes.
Tips: Make sure your ratio between iceberg and romaine is about 60:40 for the best mix. This is a wonderful side salad, but add grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a meal. Also, I always substitute the light versions for mayo and sour cream in the dressing as well…keeping it a bit healthier is always a good thing!
- 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 oz. packet ranch salad dressing mix
- 2 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 3 green onions diced
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried chives
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce diced
- 1 heart of romaine diced
- 1 medium cucumber seeded and diced
- 8 oz. carton grape tomatoes diced
- Bacon bits
- Parmesan cheese blend
- 1 can fried rice noodles
Combine dressing ingredients. Refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, toss together iceberg, romaine, cucumber, tomato, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and all of the dressing.
Tower mixture on the center of a cold plate. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and rice noodles.