Skip to Content

Simple Iceberg Lettuce Salad (Italian Style)

Iceberg lettuce salad might seem old-fashioned. Not a bad thing when it comes to salad, if you ask me!

This simple salad can be cut into wedges or served as rounds, but it’s the easy Italian dressing that makes this so good!

Yes, I know that iceberg lettuce sometimes gets a bad rap.

But if you are my age, well, you grew up with iceberg lettuce.

It was a big day when Romaine lettuce and Bibb lettuce started showing up at the grocery store.

And forget bagged salads-those were unheard of.

About the only place you saw iceberg lettuce was perhaps as crisp leaves on a sandwich.

Chinese recipes often use iceberg salad. And they almost always use them for lettuce wraps. And one of my faves is this one with crunchy ramen noodles.

I mean really-until some steak house came up with the classic wedge salad, iceberg had almost totally disappeared.

Which is sad, because iceberg lettuce totally has a place in my kitchen.

With its mild flavor and crunchy texture, this is one of the best ways I know of to eat salad!

Iceberg lettuce salad on white plate

SO! Today I am making a side salad with a head of iceberg lettuce.

Honestly, I love salads of all kinds but this type of lettuce really brings me back to my childhood.

My mom always made her salads one way.

Tear it up the individual leaves, add a slice of red onion, some cherry tomatoes, a sliced cucumber, the hated green pepper, and top it all with Italian dressing or a simple oil and red wine vinegar dressing.

Kind of funny, but that was the salad served every night when I was growing up, until fresh spinach appeared in the grocery.

It was then that my mother perfected her homemade bacon dressing.

(I think that’s when I might have begun to actually like bacon!)

Anyway, I still love iceberg lettuce and in the case of this simple Italian salad, you will quickly discover that an iceberg lettuce salad is a delicious way to eat this supposedly plain vegetable!

Forget the lettuce wedges that are found most everywhere.

I am not opposed to them but I hate that the toppings always fall off.

Instead of slicing into wedges, slice the crunchy iceberg lettuce into rounds and place one flat on each salad plate.

Truly, this is so much easier to eat and it still looks pretty, right?

Iceberg lettuce salad on white plate with red stripe towel

How To Make Iceberg Lettuce Salad: 

Begin by taking the crisp iceberg head and peeling off the outer leaves and perhaps a few brown leaves, too.

Now get ready to take your aggression out and smack the bottom of the head on the counter.

This should loosen up the core and then you are able to pull it right out.

Run the lettuce under cold water and allow the head lettuce to drain on a paper towel and then refrigerate until needed.

(At this point you may also want to put your salad plates in the fridge, because there is something special about serving a salad on a chilled plate.)

Now it’s time to make your homemade dressing, which takes about 5 minutes.

Simple Italian Dressing

Take your homemade or bottled giardiniera and pour 1/4 c of the brine into a measuring cup or small bowl.

Add in 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and whisk well.

Stir in some fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Add in about one cup of giardiniera veggies and presto-you’ve got an amazing salad dressing.

Iceberg lettuce salad round on plate with fork

Now slice your head lettuce into rounds and place one round on each salad plate.

If you want to jazz things up feel free to add some blue cheese crumbles, some crisp bacon and maybe some juicy tomatoes.

I also added some cherry peppers, but all of this or none of this; I promise the basic recipe is perfect any time of year!

Drizzle on some dressing and serve this to everyone who loves the pleasant crunch that this head of lettuce provides.

Really though? A dinner table is never complete without this perfect addition.

Other possibilities might include using pickle juice or the brine from pickled jalapenos or onions.

In that case you may want to add some olive oil, because giardiniera contains oil, but the others are just simple brine.

This is the simplest salad I make and is the most tasty iceberg lettuce salad I know of.

In case you have someone like Manservant in your family who procrastinates about eating salad and then says he is too full…really he does…just cover up that plate with plastic wrap and have it for lunch the next day.

Iceberg salads keep pretty well, even though they may have dressing on them.

Now go out and buy a head of lettuce. I promise I won’t tell-and every kid out there just might thank me, because really this iceberg lettuce salad beats Caesar salad any day!

Iceberg Lettuce Salad with red peppers on red towel with fresh basil

Need More Salad Ideas?

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Green Salad with Sugared Almonds and Mandarin Oranges

Green Salad with Mandarin Oranges

Fennel Orange Salad with Parmesan Lava Cake

pepper parmigiano reggiano lava cale

This post features affiliate links from which I may or may not earn a small commission at no cost to you.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Iceberg Lettuce Salad with red peppers on red towel with fresh basil

Iceberg Salad with Giardiniera

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: American


This simple iceberg lettuce salad is perfect with pasta, pizza or wings! And it is ready in minutes!


Units Scale

1 c giardiniera vegetables, store-bought or homemade

1/4 c of brine from above

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T mayonnaise

1 large head of Iceberg lettuce (outer leaves removed and cored), sliced into approzimately 1 1/2″ rounds

Fresh ground black pepper

Other Toppings are optional but sliced onion, blue cheese crumbles, cherry tomatoes or pickle peppers are all good, too!


To make the dressing, whisk together the giardiniera brine, mustard and mayonnaise.

Stir in the giardiniera vegetables. Taste for salt, pepper and maybe vinegar or red pepper flakes.

Place the rounds of lettuce on plates. Top with the dressing and other toppings.


Thanks Alex Guarnaschelli and Cook with Me!


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Thursday 27th of October 2022

Iceberg Lettuce is so evergreen at our house! Great post!