Everything you love about your favorite sub sandwich, deconstructed into the perfect keto friendly salad recipe! This it the ideal antipasto salad recipe.
One of my favorite sandwiches is “the Pub sub”. It’s the Italian sub sandwich I used to crave on my way home from teaching when I lived in South Florida for three years.
It’s safe to say I definitely had my fair share of these sandwiches too (clearly prior to living a low carb lifestyle).
There is something so satisfying about a hearty sub, packed with salami, ham, cheese and all the fixings.
Now I want one….
Salads never normally hit the comfort food buttons for me, but this one does.
You can also find my list of top 10 favorite healthy salad recipes too!
Yes, I even found a way to put bread in a salad and keep it keto. Anyways, I digress…
I’m the kind of girl that thinks every good sandwich needs a pile of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, olives, and lots of spicy peppers.
The downside to this delicious dream of a sandwich is that a classic six inch Italian sub is roughly 400- 600 calories depending on the condiments and the bread that’s used. God only knows the carb count!
If you’re eating a lower carb, keto, or gluten free diet but still have the sub sandwich cravings like I do, then you will love this salad!
I break down my favorite way to deconstruct this classic sub into the perfect salad recipe.
I love that it’s easy to throw together on a busy weeknight, looks beautiful, and holds up well for meal prep and leftovers too.
Find the full recipe for my take on a keto sub below and read through for helpful information, tips, and tricks to making the perfect dish!
- Knife & Cutting Board
- Large Bowl & Whisk or Blender
- Platter (optional)
I think making a salad is the farthest thing from rocket science, so I won’t bore you with the details. I will however, share some common questions you may have when it comes to making an ideal keto salad.
This is especially helpful if you plan on making this ahead of time or using it for a meal prep (say adios to the dreaded salad sogginess people).
Read through as I break down some helpful tips for your keto loving hearts.
What lettuce is best for a salad?
All lettuce to be honest. I know… maybe not the answer you were looking for?
But, the things you should know when it comes to choosing the right lettuce for your salad comes down to color and texture.
When I think of any sandwich with lettuce on it, I personally prefer a red or green leaf lettuce, or stick with a tried and true classic like romaine.
These are fairly dark green leaves (the darker the color leaf, the more nutrient dense) and have a nice crispy texture (still contains a decent amount of water content).
The most nutrient dense leaves are your spinach and kale.
That dark green color and waxier texture lead to less sogginess compared to an iceberg lettuce for instance (which is basically all water and very light in color).
Your best bet, is to choose what you like and your kids will eat.
You also have the option to fully omit the lettuce here in this recipe and go full antipasto with it with just the meats and cheeses. I don’t hate that idea…
How do I prevent a salad from getting soggy?
Because I often make this for a meal and have leftovers, I get so disappointed when I open the container to go an dig in for another delicious meal and find all my veggies and meats soggy and wet.
Here are a few tips for preventing this from happening if you are planing meal prepping or serving the salad at a later time:
- Tear the lettuce instead of chopping it – This releases less water and prevents the leaves from bruising and wilting. A little more time consuming but helpful long term.
- Store items separately- Get a few different containers for the lettuce, the meats and cheeses, and your sub toppings and build your salad before heading out the door in the morning.
- Don’t dress the salad until serving- Just don’t. It’s a gross mess my friends. Wait to add your oil and vinegar until right before you go to eat!
What lunch meat is keto friendly?
Most lunch meat is super keto friendly, but the brands do vary on carb counts and sugar contents.
Many Italian meats for instance are often cured and smoked and sometimes have the addition of sugar (especially sliced ham) so make sure you read the labels.
Avoid honey glazed hams or maple glazed varieties to limit carb counts here.
Salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni are usually zero carb and a great choice to use for a keto salad. Just remember, the carbs can be low but the saturated fat content is still high.
Low carb doesn’t mean low calorie and should be kept in mind.
How do I assemble my keto sub salad?
I love the idea of making a huge salad to serve family style. If you’re looking to recreate what I did in the photos, start by placing your lettuce across the bottom of the platter.
This acts as a nice place for you to layer everything else!
Next, add your favorite meats and cheeses. I used a mixture of sugar free sliced ham, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella.
A provolone or Parmesan cheese would pair nicely too. I slightly folded the meats and layered them, almost like you would for a charcuterie platter on top of the lettuce.
Finish it off with all your favorite sub veggies. I used some black olives, pickles (I just love pickles and pickles on salad are amazing so stop judging), green pepper, tomatoes, red onion, and I had some sprouts so I tossed those on too!
Sometimes banana peppers are a nice addition and add a little kick and a little crunch as well.
Last of all, the salad dressing! I like to stick to classic Italian sandwich dressing which is usually some red wine vinegar and a good quality olive oil.
I whisk the oil and vinegar together with a little Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper for good measure. Leave the dressing off until it’s ready to serve and give it a nice drizzle across the top!
This salad is easy to serve for a large party, for a hearty dinner (plus leftovers), or pack it into layers in a jar and use it for meal prep!
When I meal prep this recipe, I often pair it with a slice of this Keto Focaccia bread too and this meal just comes full circle and feels so comforting.
Words I never thought I’d say about a salad… but here we are friends.
Save this recipe on Pinterest or bookmark it to make it later! Leave a rating or comment and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Keto Italian Sub Salad
- 2 Bags Romaine Lettuce or 1 Large Bunch Green Leaf Lettuce
- 1 cup Baby Fresh Mozzarella, dice in half
- 1/2 Lb. Sugar Free Ham Deli Meat
- 1/2 Lb. Pepperoni Slices I use the Boars head larger slices from the deli
- 1/2 Lb. Salami Slices
- 1 Green Pepper sliced thin
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced thin
- 1 cup Black Olives sliced into thirds
- 1-2 Medium Tomatoes sliced into wedges
- 1/2 cup Cucumber thinly sliced
- 8 Pepperoncinis optional
- 1 cup Alfalfa Sprouts optional
- Dressing Ingredients:
- 2/3 cup Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon Juiced
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Diced the lettuce up and place on the base of the platter.
- Slice and chop all the veggies and set aside.
- Assemble the salad toppings in rows or all across the salad platter.
- Once everything is assembled, place the dressing ingredients ina bowl or blender and mix until emulsified (this is easier to accomplish with a blender than a whisk). Drizzle over the top of the salad before serving.