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Classic Insalata Mista (Italian Mixed Salad)

Insalata Mista is a classic Italian mixed salad that is simple, refreshing, and versatile. It’s typically made with a green salad, vegetables, and a simple Italian vinaigrette dressing, making it a delicious addition to any meal. The simple side salad is easy to make and suits a variety of cuisines and dishes.

Mixed salads on small white side plates.
Table of contents

What is Insalata Mista?

Insalata mista means “mixed salad” in Italian. It is a classic Italian side salad that typically includes a variety of fresh greens, vegetables, and sometimes meats or cheeses.

Italian cuisine is known for its fresh and simple ingredients. It’s no surprise that this side salad has long been a staple of their cuisine featuring regional and seasonal produce.

Why you’ll love this easy side salad recipe

  • Quick and easy: An excellent side dish – only 10 minutes of prep time needed.
  • Extremely versatile: I include plenty of seasonal produce options in this recipe so you can easily create a mixed salad that works with your main.


Steps 1 to 4 to make Insalata Mista.
Steps 5 and 6 to make Insalata Mista.
  1. Greens – Mixed greens add extra nutrition and flavor to the salad but you can also use crisp lettuce or arugula.
  2. Cucumber – English cucumber pieces add freshness and texture to the salad.
  3. Tomatoes – Tomatoes add color and extra fresh flavors thanks to their acidity. Cherry, campari, and roma tomatoes work particularly well.
  4. Red onion – Thinly sliced red onion gives this salad depth of flavor and a pop of color.
  5. Olives – Kalamata olives bring another Mediterranean flavor to this simple side. You can use other black or green olive varieties as well.
  6. Olive oil & vinegar: Extra virgin olive oil works best for the classic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinegar gives the tangy dressing its acidity but you can also use red wine vinegar. Seasoned with salt and ground black pepper.


Insalata mista makes a delicious side all year around as it can easily be adapted to include seasonal ingredients:

SummerFresh tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, peppers, red onions, olives, shaved parmesan cheese, almonds
FallRoasted squash, beets, apples, pears, pecans, goat cheese
WinterCitrus fruits, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, endive
SpringAsparagus, peas, radishes, watercress, mint, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella, pine nuts


Serve this versatile salad as a side dish or a main course. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Side dish / appetizer: Insalata Mista pairs well with a variety of main dishes including grilled chicken, fish, or steak. Perfect with pasta dishes including my chicken spag bolognese or Alfredo linguine pasta for a complete Italian meal.
  • Main course: Add some protein to the salad. Grilled shrimp, prosciutto, or chicken turn it into a satisfying meal on its own.
  • To share: Insalata mista is a colorful and refreshing addition to any party or gathering. Serve it in a large bowl or platter and let guests help themselves.


How do you store Insalata Mista?

This salad is best eaten fresh. Try to consume it within a day of preparing it.

Can I make this salad in advanced?

Yes, you can. Prep the salad ingredients and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Mix the vinaigrette and store it at room temperature and combine the two just before serving.

For more simple meals, check out the following recipes:

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Mixed salads on small white side plates next to glass jar with vinaigrette.

Classic Insalata Mista (Italian Mixed Salad)

Caro Jensen
Insalata Mista is a classic Italian mixed salad that is simple, refreshing, and versatile. It's typically made with a green salad, vegetables, and a simple vinaigrette dressing, making it a delicious addition to any meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 236 kcal


  • 4 cups mixed green salad
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1 red onion small
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olives


  • 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper


  • The first step to preparing Insalata Mista is to wash and dry 4 cups mixed green salad. Dry the leaves thoroughly to prevent the dressing from becoming watered down. Use a salad spinner or pat the greens dry with paper towels.
    4 cups mixed green salad
  • Peel 1/2 English cucumber and chop it into bite sized pieces. Quarter the tomatoes. Remove the outer layer of 1 red onion and cut it into thin slices. Portion off 1/2 cup olives.
    1/2 English cucumber, 1 red onion, 1/2 cup olives, 4 tomatoes
  • To make the oil and vinegar vinaigrette, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper and whisk everything together with a fork until it starts to emulsify.
    1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • To assemble the Insalata Mista as a side dish, place a handful of green leaves on each side plate. Add the cucumber pieces, followed by the tomatoes, red onion slices, and olives. Add a drizzle of vinaigrette to the salad and serve immediately.


  1. Thoroughly dry the green leaves or the vinaigrette will be watered down and loses its flavor.
  2. Whisk the vinaigrette vigorously until it starts to emulsify. You can also add the ingredients into a lidded jar and shake it vigorously.
  3. Don’t overdress the salad. Insalata mista is best when lightly dressed, so the flavors of the ingredients can shine through.


Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 429mgPotassium: 473mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1586IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
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