Enjoy this Grinder Salad Sandwich recipe made with perfectly seasoned dressing and fresh ingredients to make a tasty Italian Sub. This homemade salad sandwich recipe is the best homemade sub around and everyone will be wanting more.
Made even more popular on Tiktok, this viral chicken and meat sandwich is the perfect summer sandwich. You can even skip the bun and meat and just eat the salad portion. Turn it into a pasta salad instead, or eat it mixed in a jar. We love the versatile slider.
Below is a list of ingredients needed for this recipe. Follow our tips on each ingredient for best results.
For the Salad that tops the meat:
- Iceberg lettuce- This lettuce has the perfect crisp texture you want. Or you can use romaine or green leaf
- Red onion- When not cooking, red onion is the best raw onion and adds a lot of flavor.
- Pepperoncinis- You can use fresh but I love the pickled pepperoncinis often found in the pickled vegetable section.
- Parmesan cheese- Grated or shredded are both great options for this salad.
- Mayonnaise- The base to help keep all of the seasoning together on the salad.
- Red wine vinegar- Helps to bring out the flavor of the other vegetables. White vinegar can be used as well, but it's not quite as tasty.
- Minced garlic- Garlic powder can also be used but minced garlic is the better option.
- Oregano and Parsely- These herbs always add to an Italian dish. Or you can use Italian Seasoning instead. We tested this recipe over and over again to get the best ratio of herbs to sauce for a perfectly seasoned salad.
- Red Pepper Flakes- An optional seasoning to add a little extra kick to the salad portion.
For the Sandwich:
- Pepperoni and Salami- The combination of these meats are so good. We love adding these to make this the traditional flavor.
- Turkey breast- To really up this meal, try getting a fun deli sliced meat. But regular sandwich meat works just as well.
- Ham- You can either use regular packaged sandwich meat, or the deli meat sliced behind the counter.
- Provolone cheese-This is a great mild flavored cheese with a tiny sharp flavor.
- Muenster cheese optional- This cheese adds a mild slightly nutty/buttery flavor.
- Tomatoes sliced- Fresh garden tomatoes have the best flavor, but store bought off the vine tomatoes are also a great choice.
- Hoagie buns- This is a great bun option giving you a lot of space to add all of the ingredients.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Grinder Salad
Use these process shots to help get the results you are wanting. The pictures can help with texture and be a visual guide for best results.
- Whip the mayo and add the spice blend. Mix well until it's evenly distributed.
2. Next add in the onions, and pepperoncini peppers. Mix those in the mayo and spice mixture.
3. Add in the iceberg lettuce and mix until it is well coated.
4. Assemble the sandwich on the hoagie bun with the salad mixture, tomatoes, cheese and meats.
Hint: Make sure to mix the lettuce in the mayo well and right before serving. If you make this meal ahead of time make sure to assemble the sandwich right before it's served.
Substitutions and Variations
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Pasta Salad- Make this a pasta salad by adding 8 ounces of cooked and cooled noodles with the salad mixture. Serve as a pasta salad instead of on a bun.
- Italian Seasoning-If you don't have Oregano or parsley easily substitute for Italian seasoning.
- Spicy- Add in crushed red pepper to the salad spice mixture for a spicy version.
- Labneh Cheese- Use labneh cheese as a spread on this sandwich with this how to make Labneh guide.
This salad is so delicious and full of flavor and quite forgiving. We found while testing this recipe that you can substitute so many different meats and cheeses with what you have on hand, or taste preferences. Traditionally, it is served with pepperoni and salami, but any sandwich meats will work.
This is a great salad sandwich to make for a large crowd at any picnic or cook out gathering.
If you don't want a Grinder Sandwich, make this a Grinder Salad by tossing the lettuce with the mayo spice mixture and chopping up the meats and cheeses and tossing all together. Serve cold for a tasty salad lunch option. Perfect for the summer months.
How to Serve
Make this for a family get together. It's an easy meal to make in bulk and prepare ahead of time. Everyone will love the fun flavors.
We love serving this for special events like a work party, church gatherings, family reunions, and community events.
How to Store Grinder Salad
For use within 24 hours: combine all ingredients for the salad and store separately from the other ingredients in the refrigerator. Assemble as directed right before serving.
For use after 24 hours: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing plus the pepperoncini in a bowl and place in the refrigerator. Chop the lettuce and onion and also place in the refrigerator. Keep separated until the day of. Combine dressing with the vegetables, then make as directed before serving.
We do NOT recommend freezing the salad part of this dish, since it has lettuce in it!
Good quality meat can make a big difference in this recipe. You can have tasty meal but you will up your recipe game with quality meats.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Grinder Salad:
For the Salad:
- 1 head iceberg lettuce or romaine or green leaf
- ½ small red onion
- ⅓ cup pepperoncinis
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ Tablespoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
- salt optional, to taste
For the Sandwich:
- 5 ounce pepperoni
- 5 ounce salami
- 5 ounce turkey breast
- 5 ounce ham
- provolone cheese
- muenster cheese optional
- 2 large tomatoes sliced
- 6 hoagie buns
- Finely shred lettuce, thinly slice onions and slice pepperoncinis. Place to the side.
- In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. Add the minced garlic, oregano, parsley, pepper and red pepper flakes and whisk to combine. Stir in the parmesan cheese, pepperoncinis, red onions, then the lettuce. See photos above for a visual reference.
- Line the bottom half of the hoagie with the meats. Pile on the salad then top with tomatoes. Place cheese on top of tomatoes, to line the top bun, to prevent the buns from becoming soggy. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Good quality meat can make a big difference in flavor.
- We love adding an extra pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
- You can absolutely eat the grinder salad plain, you don't have to put it on a hoagie bun with meats and cheeses.
- We love cubing some cheese and slicing meats and making it into a pasta salad.
- Storage: the biggest concern with storage is the lettuce getting soggy or the sandwich getting soggy if it's already been assembled. Try not to make extra sandwiches and try to eat assembled sandwiches within 24 hours.
- We do not recommend freezing this recipe.
- The grinder salad part of this recipe is what is most important. You can use whatever lunch meats and cheeses you'd like and it will likely taste amazing. Traditionally, it is made with the Italian meats.