Pizza Night Salad | First mess

Overhead shot of pizza night salad in wide white bowl with wooden salad tongs.  Salad includes: romaine, radicchio, chickpeas, olives, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.
An overhead shot of a Pizza Night salad serving in a wide, white and stained bowl.  Salad includes: romaine, radicchio, chickpeas, olives, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.
An overhead shot of the ingredients used in a vegan pizza night salad, all on a worn wooden surface.
A head-on shot of the ingredients used for a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing
An overhead shot of a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.

Just the title of this recipe makes me excited! Pizza Night Salad 😊 . You already know: This is a veg-heavy side dish that goes well with pizza. It’s glossy, vinegar-y, salty, sweet, crisp, and surprisingly hearty on its own. In my opinion this is the ultimate green salad to go with pizza. Whether we’re ordering takeout or making a homemade pie, I almost always have a salad with pizza. I like something fresh and crisp just the opposite and pizza rounds out the night. I take a vegetarian Caesar salad is also a great option.

The main ingredient in this salad is the homemade dressing made with red wine vinegar and fresh thyme. This dressing goes a long way! Garlic, fresh thyme (it’s incredible here), a little sweetness from agave or sugar, Dijon mustard and tamari for depth, a dollop of vegan mayonnaise to give it more body, a splash of salty/spicy pepperoncini brine and olive oil. We simply shake it in a jam jar! The dressing leans more on the acidic side because that’s my personal preference–and I enjoy that sharpness against the main event.

The rest of this pizza night salad just comes together in a couple bowls and on your cutting board. Another really important thing to watch out for: Try to chop romaine, radicchio, cucumbers, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and everything else nice and fine. That way you get a little bit of everything in every single bite. It’s almost like a salad within a salad.

Pizza recipe to go with your Pizza Night Salad:

Chickpeas give this dish a rich and substantial feel. I give lots of tips and substitution recommendations in the recipe notes, if you can’t find every thing in the store. Next time you need something to serve with pizza at dinner, I hope you give this flavorful salad a try!

A close-up, overhead shot of a mix of chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and pepperoncini is lightly tossed with vinaigrette.
An overhead shot shows a salad being assembled in a wide white bowl on a worn wooden surface.  The dressing is in a jar nearby.
A head on shot of the dressing being poured over a salad.
Overhead shot of pizza night salad in wide white bowl with wooden salad tongs.  Salad includes: romaine, radicchio, chickpeas, olives, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.

Pizza Night Salad

This pizza night salad is the perfect side to go with a pizza dinner. Finely chopped romaine, radicchio, cucumber, tomato, red onion, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and pepperoncini peppers are bathed in a robust red wine vinegar and thyme dressing. Ready in 30 minutes!

Overhead shot of pizza night salad in wide white bowl with wooden salad tongs.  Salad includes: romaine, radicchio, chickpeas, olives, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.

Q Time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

serving 6

material

Red Wine Vinegar and Thyme Dressing

  • ¼ the cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1 table spoon Fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 table spoon pepperoncini pepper salt
  • 1 table spoon Vegan mayonnaise
  • 2-3 teaspoon Agave nectar/fine sugar/honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Tamari I’m Willow
  • 1 cloves Garlic, finely minced with a microplane
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 7 table spoon olive oil

salad

  • 1 the cup Cooked chickpeas
  • 1 the cup Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ½ Medium red onion, diced (about ¾ cup chopped red onion)
  • ½ English cucumber, small dice (about 1 cup chopped cucumber)
  • ½ the cup pepperoncini peppers, stems removed and finely chopped
  • ½ the cup Pitted olives, finely chopped
  • 2 Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, minced (about ⅓ cup sun-dried tomato paste)
  • 2 Romaine hearts, finely chopped (about 5-6 cups chopped romaine)
  • 1 Small head radicchio, finely chopped (about 2-3 cups chopped radicchio)
  • Vegan “Parmesan”, for serving (optional)

Comment

  • I recommend a mild flavored olive oil for the dressing here. Save your strong and peppery olive oil for something extra special!
  • I used pitted Cerignola olives–any pitted olive you like is great.
  • I always double this dressing recipe to keep on hand in the fridge. It lasts about a week.
  • If you are sensitive to the bitter taste of radicchio, you can replace it with another romaine heart.
  • I really love the fresh thyme in this dressing! There’s just something about it. That said, if you want to make it with dried thyme, use 1 ½ tsp.
  • My vegan “Parmesan” recipe can be found here.

instructions

  • Make the dressing. In a sealable jar, combine red wine vinegar, thyme, pepperoncini pepper brine, vegan mayonnaise, agave nectar, Dijon mustard, tamari, garlic, salt, and pepper. Close the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Open the jar and add the olive oil. Close the lid again and shake it again. Set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, pepperoncini peppers, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Season this mixture with salt and pepper and toss with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.

  • Add romaine, radicchio and remaining dressing to a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add chickpeas and ½ of the vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add remaining chickpeas and vegetable mixture, extra black pepper, and vegan “Parmesan” if you like. Serve immediately.

A 3/4 corner of a Pizza Night salad serving in a wide, white and stained bowl.  Salad includes: romaine, radicchio, chickpeas, olives, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and a red wine vinegar and thyme dressing.

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