Grinder Salad

The viral grinder salad does not disappoint. Your choice of meats and cheese melted on crusty bread topped with this rich and tangy salad will have you licking up the juices as they run down your arm.

Grinder salad scooped onto a sub.
The grinder salad is tangy, creamy, and irresistible.

Growing up in the Philly area, hoagies (yes I said hoagies) are my love language. So when I saw the viral TikTok grinder topped with the grinder salad, I got very excited.

Normally when it comes to a good sub, I smear on some mayonnaise, top with lettuce, onion, tomato, red vinegar, and seasoning and call it a day.

The genius thing about the Tik Tok grinder salad is that it combines all those ingredients into one sloppy, delicious, vinegary salad to heap on top of your sandwich. Convenient and delicious- we love it.


This salad comes together in minutes and is crucial for a flavorful, hearty grinder sandwich. Slightly sweet, crunchy iceberg lettuce- the ultimate sandwich lettuce- gets tossed in mayo, red wine vinegar, and seasonings. And don’t forget the red onion and sliced pepperoncinis. 

If you’re on a low carb diet or just aren’t feeling the bread vibes, no worries. Skip the bread, chop up your meats and cheese, and toss into the salad. It’s honestly delicious this way too.

Get all the deets in our perfect Grinder Sandwich recipe about how to assemble the perfect sandwich.

Grinder salad in a large clear bowl
The grinder salad is tangy, rich, and creamy.

What is a grinder salad

A grinder is a New-England term for a submarine sandwich- a long crusted bread loaf, filled with cheese, cold cuts, and thinly sliced vegetables. 

There are plenty of theories of how this sandwich got its name. The strongest one is that the sandwich got its name because of how hard it is to chew through.

The TikTok grinder salad is the salad dripping with red wine vinegar and mayo that goes on top of the cheeses, meat, and tomato. 

Heavily seasoned lettuce, red onion, and pepperoncini add the crucial kick to this hearty sandwich.

If you want to enjoy a grinder salad sandwich but without the bread, chop up the cheese, meat, and toss into this salad. It’s got all the taste, texture, and goodness but without the gluten. 


Ingredients for a grinder sandwich laid out on a table.
Cold cuts, an Italian loaf, cheese, and tomato are all essential ingredients for a grinder sandwich.

These are all the ingredients you will need for this grinder salad recipe. It’s so easy and comes together in minutes!

  • Lettuce– The name of the lettuce game is iceberg for this grinder salad. Iceberg is slightly watery, crunchy, and a little sweet. Because it doesn’t have a super strong flavor, it’s perfect to carry the other flavors of this salad. Plus, iceberg is the best for a good shredded lettuce. 
  • Red Onion– You can’t have a grinder without some red onion. We thinly slice it so it blends in nicely with the lettuce.
  • Pepperoncini– Our friend pepperoncini adds a lovely pickled, vinegary bite to this salad. We take whole ones and slice them up, but you could buy pre-sliced ones. We are a very pro-pepperoncini household so we add a lot. Feel free to adjust to your liking. 
  • Mayonnaise– Mayo makes this salad rich, creamy, and irresistible. 
  • Red Wine Vinegar– Another essential ingredient for a classic Italian grinder sub. It brightens up the sandwich and makes everything pop.
  • Seasonings– Our lineup for our seasoning includes red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. The oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder add so much of that classic Italian flavor.

For the sandwich you will need:

  • Loaf– An Italian loaf is perfect for this- slightly crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Cheese– Mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan are classic choices but feel free to use what you like. Mozzarella and provolone melt really well on the bread. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of the meat adds a nice funk.
  • Meat– An Italian grinder usually includes several types of Italian cold cuts- soppressata, prosciutto, sandwich pepperoni, or salami plus the addition of deli ham, turkey, or chicken.
  • Tomato– Juicy, thinly sliced tomatoes are just a must have. We don’t make the rules.

How to make the grinder salad

Let’s break down how to make this delicious Italian grinder salad. The first step is to chop up all your vegetables. Finely shred the iceberg lettuce and thinly slice the red onion and pepperoncini. 

We love pepperoncini so we chop up about a half of a cup’s worth. Feel free to scale back if you don’t like them.

Place your chopped vegetables into a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients- mayo, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. 

ingredients for a Grinder salad
Thinly slice all your vegetables so they mix together nicely.

Use a fork or tongs to thoroughly mix everything together, so the vegetables are evenly coated. Be sure to take a bite and adjust for seasoning.

At this point, your salad is ready to be topped onto a grinder and devoured. Check out our Grinder Sandwich recipe to assemble the best Italian grinder for this delicious salad.


  • Not feeling a sandwich? No worries. Follow this recipe to make the salad and then add chopped cheese and Italian cold cuts to make it a full meal.
  • Make this salad right before you are about to eat it so it doesn’t get soggy.
  • If you have leftovers, use potato chips to scoop up the salad and enjoy. Trust us- this is a great move.
  • This makes enough salad to top a grinder the size of one whole Italian loaf, so either two large sandwiches or four small ones.
Grinder salad scooped onto a sub.

Grinder Salad

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
The viral grinder salad does not disappoint. Your choice of meats and cheese melted on crusty bread topped with this rich and tangy salad will have you licking up the juices as they run down your arm.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 200 kcal


  • ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ¼ – ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pepperoncini, sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • red pepper flakes to liking
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly to combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  • Scoop salad on top of the grinder sandwich.


Check out the Grinder Salad Sandwich Recipe to make the perfect Italian grinder for this salad.


Calories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 180mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 27IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Grinder Salad, Grinder salad recipe, Grinder Salad Sandwich, Grinder salad sandwich recipe, Grinder Sandwich, Grinder Sandwich recipe, Italian grinder salad, Tik Tok grinder salad, TikTok grinder salad, What is a grinder salad
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