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Italian Chopped Salad in Shells


  • 1(16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 4cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1⁄2cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1cup coarsely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • 3⁄4cup coarsely chopped cucumber
  • 3ounces italian hard salami, chopped
  • 1⁄3cup roasted garlic vinaigrette dressing


  • Cook pasta shells as directed on the package.
  • Drain and cool.
  • Place remaining ingredients except vinaigrette in a medium bowl.
  • Pour vinaigrette over the salad, toss to coat.
  • Stuff the shells with the salad.
  • Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.


  • Kat in Texas

    Very elegant looking & easy to put together. I really stuffed the shells & only got about 24 appetizers, rather than 34. Took to a Christmas party. It was after work and, being the holidays, I figured everyone would bring sweets. They did and everyone pounced on these! I had some bottled Italian dressing I needed to use up, so didn’t get the vinaigrette. When I first put the shells together, thought they were going to be awfully oily & messy but after 2 hrs in the ‘fridge they were fine. Will use the vinaigrette next time. Everyone asked me to email the recipe, so will do that and turn them on to ‘Zaar! Good recipe!

  • Amy D

    I followed the recipe and everyone loved it! I prepared everything the night before and then added the dressing and stuffed the shells that morning. This was one we will have again.

  • JeannieDee

    I made these for a weekend BBQ and they were a big HIT! I chopped the romaine, then measured, but still had to add about a cup later to fill all of my shells. I left out the chicken since I was serving it with chicken. Oh, and definitely sprinkle with parmesan. However, my biggest tip for yall is to serve them in a deviled egg tray. They won’t roll around that way.

  • Happyfrog

    This might sound strange but I left out the lettuce,Im not fond of it,I found it pretty good,try it,it’s good ribbit ribbit

  • Lizzie-Babette

    Made this for a Fourth of July picnic and everyone RAVED! I made these the night before, and had to substitute pepperoni and hot italian ham, since I didn’t have cooked chicken or salami. I added shredded parmesan cheese, too. A word of advice, though; make sure to measure 4 cups of the chopped romaine. I measured 4 cups, then chopped it, and felt more romaine would’ve been great. There are a lot of ways to slightly change this recipe for different tastes – it’s very versatile, and would be a great addition to a brunch, casual, or even more formal buffet. They’re perfect finger food, and do look pretty elegant. My friends, family, & I could not have been more pleased. We’ll be making this often. Thanks for posting this!

  • marisk

    I had to make some changes ’cause I couldn’t see paying $11 for a bag of pasta (the only jumbo shells I could find…they were on sale for $7 but that’s still too much!). So, instead of stuffing my ‘shells’, I cut and mixed together everything as instructed (romaine about 1/4″ though), added some Barilla bowtie (farfalle) pasta, then refrigerated. Yummmm, I think I’ll make this for our next office party … thank you for sharing!

  • Chris Gronsbell

    I made this today and it is fabulous. I changed the proportions a little – less lettuce and a little more chicken. Also added red & yellow peppers – you really can use whatever you want. It’s just a really clever idea. Definitely a keeper

  • KeyWee

    Yes! Like the other reviewers before me, I can say this is a truly versatile dish – you can’t do too much to ruin it! I had no basil, so used chopped fresh parsley. Had some diced pepperoni on hand so used that instead of the salami. Tossed in a handful of grated parmesan cheese. For the dressing, I used Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette, with great falvor results. I took this to a picnic and served it as a salad/side dish. Too bad they were all gobbled up so quickly – I think these would be even better if left to refrigerate overnight! Thanks, Mark!

  • ainsleydoll

    These were wonderful. My husband and I had them for supper but they would make a good appetizer also. Very unique and easy to make. I ended up with 30 stuffed shells. I took the left-overs to work and they were goobled up in no time and rave about by my co-workers. Thanks yooper. Great recipe.

  • un petit chou

    This is a fantastic appetizer. I made these for a spa party I hosted and they were loved by all. I am in full agreement with Vicky Bryant as to the versatility of this recipe. Also, I heeded the advice of the other reviewers and added p;enty of dressing until I thought it looked “right.” I excluded the cucumber and tomato and put a greek spin on it with kalamata olives and artichokes. I just crammed it with whatever sounded good to me :). I boiled the shells about 6 hours ahead of time and just coated them with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. A few shells fell apart in the water but most stayed whole. One more thing, they were full and gorgeous when I first stuffed them but after a few hours they kind of deflated so if you want to do some prep mix all the filling ingredients (except the lettuce and basil) including the dressing. Add the lettuce and basil when you are ready to fill. Thanks for such a wonderful appetizer!!