This “recipe” takes the best flavors and ingredients from a sub sandwich and deconstructs them into a salad for a low carb dinner that fills your plate. This is intended to be more for inspiration than specific instructions, so I’ve also included alternate ingredient ideas and notes about nutrition.
Tips for making a fast salad
Just like making a sub sandwich is fast, you can get by with almost no prep work for the sub salad version if you use the following:
- Deli sliced salami, pepperoni, and ham (plan on 2-3 oz of meat per person)
- Jarred condiments from your pantry, like pepperoncini, pickles, and olives
- Pre-cut bags of lettuce
- Store bought croutons*
- Store bought italian dressing*
*I suggest making these yourself if you don’t mind the extra 10 minutes of work because they are healthier and more flavorful, while still being easy.
- 4 cups lettuce iceberg or romaine
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pitted olives your favorite kind
- 1/4 red onion
- 1/4 cup pepperoncini
- 2 ounces salami or pepperoni, etc
- 2 ounces ham
- 2 ounces provolone cheese
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 baguette or leftover bread, bagels, etc
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil for toasting
- Cut bread into bite-size pieces and toss with olive oil and salt. Toast.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together (or use your favorite store-bought Italian dressing).
- Mix all ingredient together to make the salad.
Calories & nutrition
While calories are not the perfect measure of healthiness, I like to use them for their relative value. Knowing the caloric information helps keep things in check, like over using cheese, adding a ton of carbs with croutons, or using too much salad dressing.
If you are eating a salad to watch your calories, several things can start to add up:
- Each ounce of cheese is roughly 100 calories. The recipe accounts for 1 ounce per serving.
- Salami is about 100 calories per ounce, while deli ham is 50 per ounce.
- Salad dressing can add up, so I already kept the volume low in the ‘recipe’ above, to 1.5 Tbs of olive oil per person.
- Croutons can be cut back as well. Add couscous to the salad if you want to replace croutons with a healthier alternative.
If you haven’t made dressing before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is once you give it a try.
While olive oil is high in calories, many nutrients are fat soluble, so it is a great ingredient in salad dressings. 1 Tbsp is roughly 100 calories. I already kept the volume of the dressing low in the ‘recipe’ above.
You could cut the olive oil down even further and get creative with replacing some of it:
- Juice from that jar of pepperoncini or olives you opened
- Pureed onions or shallots
- Extra vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Mustard (works as an emulsifier too)
I have an alternative dressing that works great on this salad, which is half the calories because it gets a lot of its volume and creaminess from pureeing roasted sweet onions and garlic.
You can turn almost any bread product into croutons with minimal effort. Baguettes are great, but I often take this opportunity to use leftover bagels or bread before it goes bad.
How to make croutons
- Cut bread into bite-sized cubes
- Place in a bowl and drizzle olive oil (or garlic olive oil if you have it) over the top. Add salt (and other seasonings if you want). Toss to lightly coat the bread.
- Toast until golden brown
- In a toaster oven for 5-7 minutes
- In the oven at 375 for 5-7 minutes (times will vary)
- On the stovetop in a pan over medium heat, tossing as they crisp up
Sub sandwiches for inspiration
If you’re looking for other ideas, or are now craving a sub sandwich, I’ve gathered a few recipes to help you out.
Like to eat with the seasons?
If you do, check out my produce guides and recipes for fruits & vegetables that are currently in season.
Each month highlights recipes that use produce exclusively in-season (or available year-round at high quality). Each fruit & vegetable also has an in-depth guide that shares tips on how to pick the best ones up from the market, how to store them, and interesting tidbits on prepping or nutrition.
What are you favorite easy salads?
Have a favorite you want to share? Do you deconstruct any other types of meals into salad form? Leave a comment and share your creativity and ideas.