This Chopped Italian Grinder Sandwich is a trendy TikTok craze that is worth every bite! Loaded with all the goodness of Italian meats, cheese, grinder salad, and a delicious seasoned dressing served up on crusty bread! It's an easy, filling meal that you can whip up for lunch at home or to feed a crowd!
I've always been a fan of sub sandwiches so when I saw this Italian Grinder Sandwich recipe making the rounds, I knew I had to try it. It has everything I love in an Italian Sub sandwich, and I can make it home in about 15 minutes!
- Why You'll Love this Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe
- What is an Italian Grinder?
- Tiktok Grinder Sandwich Ingredients
- Ingredient Additions, Substitutions, & Variations
- How to Make an Italian Grinder Sandwich
- Pro Tips
- Serving Suggestions
- Storage Directions
- Tools Needed for this Recipe
- More Viral Recipes...
Why You'll Love this Italian Grinder Sandwich Recipe
- The best of two worlds in one sandwich: a classic Italian Sub Sandwich and the viral Tiktok grinder salad.
- There are no fancy, hard-to-find ingredients! Everything can be picked up at your local grocery store.
- This recipe makes 5 sub sandwiches - plenty for a family meal! OR double/triple the recipe to feed a crowd or serve at a party!
What is an Italian Grinder?
Oh, the interwebs is full of so much (conflicting) info! Some people thing the name "grinder" comes from the thick, crusty bread being hard to chew - thus you have to "grind" your teeth together to eat it.
Others say that the term "grinder" comes from New England and refers to a hot or heated sandwich. As opposed to a sub or hoagie which is served cold. For the Italian Sub Sandwich we're making today, no oven is needed! But even if you call it a Chopped Italian Sandwich and leave "grinder" out altogether - it's still amazing!!
Tiktok Grinder Sandwich Ingredients
I've listed and shown the ingredients I used below, but the great thing about this Italian Sandwich recipe is how versatile it is! You can substitute different meats, cheeses, salad ingredients, and even seasonings, based on your personal tastes and what you have on hand.
Bread: it's really important to get the right bread for these sandwiches! You'll want crusty, sturdy bread, like French baguettes, Italian bread, or hoagie rolls. Focaccia bread would also be delish!
Lettuce: I often try to feel healthier by eating darker-leaf lettuce in my salads, but for this sandwich, go for the pre-shredded iceberg lettuce. It's easy, saves time and is perfect in this chopped salad recipe!
Deli Meats: I'm not sure what qualifies as Italian meats, but I used pepperoni, ham, and salami. But there are no bad choices here. You could try Soppressata, Prosciutto, Capocollo, turkey, roast beef, or roast chicken (my kids' favorite!)!
Cheese: Provolone cheese (or smoked provolone) is divine in this recipe, but you could use cheddar, Colby jack, mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, Muenster... again, whatever you have on hand or love!
Onion: I don't love onion (so skip it if you're like me), but my hubby says red onion is a must in this recipe!
Peppers: We always use peperoncini because I always have it on hand for Mississippi Pot Roast, but sliced banana peppers would also work great in this recipe!
Mayonnaise: the full fat is my preference but you could use olive oil mayo or light mayo.
Italian Dressing: this shortcut adds a lot of flavor without a lot of extra ingredients!
Red Wine Vinegar: This adds extra zing and you don't want to skip it!
Italian Seasoning: most blends include basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. You could mix up a homemade version or "wing it" if you don't have it on hand.
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
Ingredient Additions, Substitutions, & Variations
As mentioned above, this Grinder sandwich recipe is very versatile. In addition to the suggestions above, here are some other ideas you might add or substitute.
- Grated Parmesan cheese is a fantastic addition to the dressing! I didn't add it to my pics, but I love it on this sandwich.
- Tomato - sliced. When chopped up, tomatoes tend to get a little soggy but I love adding a slice or two to the sandwiches as a finishing touch when we have them fresh in summertime.
- Garlic is delicious in this dressing! Add ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove of minced garlic.
- If you want to add a little "Subway" sandwich finish to your Grinder, add a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar at the end!
- If you don't like mayonnaise, substitute sour cream, Greek yogurt, or Miracle Whip.
- Want to add more vegetables? Try green bell peppers or avocado!
- Spice it up by adding dried red pepper flakes to your dressing!
How to Make an Italian Grinder Sandwich
Instead of layering the ingredients as I've seen many times, I chose the not-so-popular method of making a Chopped Grinder Sandwich - where everything is all chopped up and mixed together!
Trust me - you want to do this! This Italian Grinder Salad Sandwich is gonna knock your socks off! So here we go...
- Start by pouring your bag of shredded lettuce onto a large cutting board.
- Lay your salami, pepperoni, ham, cheese, red onion, banana peppers, and dill pickle on top of your shredded lettuce.
- Chop up with a knife until it is all in small pieces and well mixed.
- Add your mayo, Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper on top.
- Continue to toss, mix and chop until the chopped salad is completely coated with the dressing and seasonings.
- Divide evenly between your 5 subs.
- Serve and enjoy! The best part about this is you can’t mess it up. Add as little or as much of each ingredient as you prefer!
- Get the crusty bread with a hard crust that crunches when you bite into it! Most soft, pre-bagged sandwich rolls will be too soft for this recipe. It will get soggy in a hurry!!
- If you want to prep ahead of time, you could chop the meats, cheese, peppers, and pickles. Then mix the dressing ingredients and seasonings in a small bowl. Store these in separate small bowls, then toss them with the lettuce just before assembling the sandwiches.
- Do not make this recipe more than a few hours ahead of time. And even then, do not add the chopped salad to the bread until just before you serve it (to avoid sogginess).
- Smash the Tiktok Chopped Grinder Sandwich after you assemble it to make it easier to eat 😄
This Italian sandwich recipe is so filling, you don't need to serve anything with it! But it never hurts to have potato chips on hand when serving a big sub sandwich!
This recipe is perfect for a weekend get-together, a Super Bowl Party, or a summer holiday celebration (like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or Labor Day)!
For a party, cut the sandwiches into 3 or 4-inch sections and serve on a large platter! Add a platter of fresh veggies, chips, and dips for a full meal!
This chopped grinder sandwich recipe should be prepared the day you plan to serve it. See the pro tips for more details.
If you have any leftover salad, it works great as a dip for potato chips, but you do need to eat it the same day. If you do keep any overnight, mix in more lettuce on the second day to add some crunch back.
This Tiktok sandwich cannot be frozen.
Typically, a grinder is a sandwich that is heated and a sub sandwich is not. However, with this recipe, an Italian Grinder Sandwich is not hot!
Well, the salad is sometimes used interchangeably with the sandwich, but if you skip the bread, a grinder salad is a mixture of shredded lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers (or banana peppers), and a tangy, creamy dressing. Then add the Italian meats and cheeses to finish it up!