A couple of my girlfriends and I meet up about once a month for a glorious evening of non-stop chatting, laughter and general hilarity. Our meetings move around to different restaurants on occasion but for the most part, we stick with the best pizza and wine in Indianapolis. Now, a salad has to be really good to be able to hold its own amongst all of that awesomeness. And just like everything else at that lovely place, it does.

The version we usually order includes meat but I decided to go with a meatless version here at home.  I’m all for anything that makes me actually crave veggies, and this salad does exactly that. Shredded gouda might have a small-ish part in that, but it really is the combination of all of the components that just make it work so well. When we have all of the components on hand, I end up eating it for basically every meal other than breakfast (though I would not be opposed) until we run out of one of them. If you need a little jolt in your salad routine, this may be just the thing!


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2-3 oz. gouda, shredded


  • 01

    Preheat the broiler to high. Put the bell pepper on a baking sheet or in a metal baking pan. Place the pan under the broiler and let cook about 5-6 minutes or until the first side is completely blackened. Flip once with tongs and continue to cook until the skin of the pepper is entirely blackened and blistered. Remove to a bowl, cover, and let stand about 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Slice and coarsely chop.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, combine the chickpeas in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Toss well to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  • 03

    Prepare a small bowl of ice water and plunge the onions into the water. Let soak about 30 seconds, then drain and blot away excess liquid. (This takes away the harsh bite of the raw onion.) In a liquid measuring cup, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegars and whisk until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 04

    In a large bowl, combine the spinach and romaine. Add in a few tablespoons of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing to taste if needed. Top with the sliced onion, chopped pepper, chickpeas, and shredded gouda. Toss once more to combine, and serve.

  • G. Marks

    This looks great! Always happy to have another salad in the rotation! Do you mind if I ask where the beautiful bowl is from?

  • Ooh I definitely need a jolt in my salad routine! I’ll be giving this a go

  • annieseats

    I think it is from Crate & Barrel :)

  • This looks delicious and so full of flavour Annie!

  • I want this salad, but more than that, I want to spend the evening eating pizza, drinking wine, and hanging out with you!!

  • This looks beautiful! I love gouda cheese, what a great addition to a salad.

  • Anna

    Yummy looks delicious <3

  • I love salads and a salad with lots of Italian flavors is just for me!!

  • G. Marks

    Thank you!

  • I love when travels and dinner out inspires dinner at home! Also, I’m lusting after that gorgeous wood salad bowl.

  • I just finished enjoying this for lunch! So delicious! I think that roasting your own red peppers is totally worth the extra step (I also think it’s fun :)) as the flavor is much better than the ones in the jar. I loved the chickpeas were marinated/dressed. I’ll be having this for lunch for the rest of the week!

    And, because I’d like to make this for someone who isn’t a bean eater, what meat was in the salad at the restaurant?

    Thanks again for another winner!

  • annieseats

    ME TOOOOO!!!

  • annieseats

    I can’t remember the specific meats included but something along the lines of salami or other cured meats. So glad you enjoyed it!

  • I am SO excited to try this! I normally can’t eat any Italian chopped salads because there’s always some kind of salami in it…but not this time! I won’t even share with the.boy..it’s all for me!

  • vivian

    Made this tonight for dinner. We are a mixed vegetarian/omnivore/pescatarian family, and this was great for everyone, some as a side dish, some as the main -with some crusty bread and balsamic and olive oil for dipping. Thanks so much for a great, easy, versatile recipe.

  • Jamie Noble

    Made this for lunch today and added some grilled chicken! SOOOO yummy. I was hoping to have some left over for lunch this week but we both went back for seconds and ate it all! Thanks for another great recipe Annie.

  • Cara

    This was delicious! Thanks for the recipe Annie :)