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How many carbs are in a large antipasto salad?

Antipasto salads are a popular appetizer or side dish at many Italian restaurants. An antipasto salad typically contains a mix of cured meats, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, and other pickled or marinated vegetables. With so many ingredients, antipasto salads can sometimes seem like carb-bombs waiting to happen. But just how many carbs are actually in a typical restaurant-style antipasto salad?

Typical Ingredients in an Antipasto Salad

There is no single standardized recipe for antipasto salad. The ingredients can vary widely depending on the chef’s preferences. However, some typical ingredients found in a large restaurant-style antipasto salad might include:

  • Lettuce greens – Romaine, green leaf, red leaf, etc.
  • Sliced deli meats – Salami, pepperoni, ham, etc.
  • Cheeses – Mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, etc.
  • Olives – Kalamata, green, black, etc.
  • Peppers – Roasted red peppers, banana peppers, etc.
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Croutons
  • Italian dressing

The specific amounts of each ingredient will depend on the recipe, but this covers many of the typical components.

Determining the Carb Count

To determine the total carb count, we’ll need to look at the nutritional information for each ingredient and add them together. For simplicity, we’ll assume approximate amounts of one cup each of lettuce greens, deli meat, cheese, olives, peppers, cucumber, carrots and croutons. For the dressing, we’ll estimate 2 tablespoons which is a common serving size.

Additionally, we will make the following assumptions:

  • Lettuce greens: 1g net carbs per cup
  • Deli meat: 1g net carbs per cup
  • Cheese: 1g net carbs per cup
  • Olives: 2g net carbs per cup
  • Peppers: 5g net carbs per cup
  • Cucumber: 3g net carbs per cup
  • Carrots: 5g net carbs per cup
  • Croutons: 15g net carbs per cup
  • Italian dressing: 5g net carbs per 2 tablespoons

Adding up the approximate carb counts for each ingredient:

Ingredient Amount Net Carbs
Lettuce Greens 1 cup 1g
Deli Meat 1 cup 1g
Cheese 1 cup 1g
Olives 1 cup 2g
Peppers 1 cup 5g
Cucumber 1 cup 3g
Carrots 1 cup 5g
Croutons 1 cup 15g
Dressing 2 Tbsp 5g
Total 39g

Based on these rough estimates, a large restaurant-style antipasto salad containing about 1 cup each of the typical ingredients listed above would contain approximately 39g of net carbs.

Factors That Increase or Decrease Carbs

Of course, the actual carb count will vary depending on the specific ingredients and amounts used in each recipe. Here are some factors that can increase or decrease the total carbs:

  • Using starchy vegetables like potatoes or beans will increase carbs.
  • Adding more higher-carb ingredients like carrots, peppers or croutons will increase carbs.
  • Using more lower-carb veggies like celery, mushrooms or radishes will decrease carbs.
  • Skipping croutons or reducing amount will decrease carbs.
  • Using less salad dressing will decrease carbs slightly.
  • Adding extras like breaded or fried mozzarella, fried zucchini sticks will increase carbs.

You can also make substitutions or omissions to reduce the carb count. For example:

  • Use lettuce instead of starchy pasta salads or potato salad.
  • Choose more low-carb vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans.
  • Use thinly sliced deli meat instead of salami or pepperoni.
  • Choose part-skim mozzarella instead of fresh mozzarella.
  • Use black olives instead of green olives.
  • Use oil and vinegar instead of thick, sugary Italian dressing.

Lower Carb Dressing Options

The dressing can also make a significant impact on the total carb content. Some lower carb salad dressing options include:

  • Oil and vinegar – 0g carbs
  • Lemon juice – 0g carbs
  • Balsamic vinegar – 0-5g carbs per 2 Tbsp
  • Red wine vinegar – 0g carbs
  • Herb vinaigrettes – 0-2g carbs per 2 Tbsp
  • Blue cheese dressing – 1-2g carbs per 2 Tbsp
  • Caesar dressing – 2-4g carbs per 2 Tbsp
  • Ranch dressing – 2-4g carbs per 2 Tbsp

Avoid thick, sweet dressings like honey mustard, Italian, Russian, or other oil and vinegar-based dressings as they can add 15g or more carbs per 2 tablespoon serving.

Lower Carb Vegetable Options

Choosing non-starchy, lower carb vegetables is an easy way to reduce the carb content of antipasto salads. Some great options include:

  • Lettuce – Romaine, spinach, kale, etc.
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Radishes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Avocado

These types of non-starchy vegetables contain about 3-5g net carbs or less per cooked cup. Limiting higher carb veggies like corn, peas, carrots and peppers to small amounts or avoiding completely can make a significant dent in the total carb count.

Lower Carb Meat Options

Deli meats are generally low in carbs, but there are still better options for restricting carbs. Here are some of the lowest carb deli meat choices:

  • Roast beef
  • Corned beef
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Roast pork

Processed meats like salami, pepperoni, and cured sausages tend to be slightly higher in carbs, so consume those in smaller amounts. And be sure to check labels, as sugar is sometimes added to sliced deli meats.

Lower Carb Cheese Options

In general, cheese is relatively low in carbs. However, some types are better than others if limiting carbs is a priority.

Some low carb cheese options include:

  • Cheddar
  • Mozzarella
  • Feta
  • Blue cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Swiss
  • Monterey Jack

Higher carb cheese varieties that are best minimized or avoided include:

  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Ricotta
  • Cream cheese
  • Mascarpone
  • Burrata


The total carb count of an antipasto salad can vary greatly based on the specific ingredients used and the portions of each. Our estimates indicate an average restaurant-style antipasto salad contains around 39g net carbs for a large entree-sized portion.

You can reduce the carbs by minimizing starchy vegetables, croutons, sugary dressings, and higher carb ingredients. Opting for more non-starchy veggies, lower carb dressings, meats and cheeses can help keep an antipasto salad within a lower carb limits. With some modifications and careful tracking of carb counts, it’s possible to enjoy antipasto salad even when restricting carbs.