1 jar (16 ounces) pepperoncini peppers, drained, divided
1 pound brick sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
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1 pound brick Monterey jack cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cans (6 ounces each) large pitted black plives, drained
1 jar (5.75 ounces) pimento-stuffed green olives, drained
2½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes
½ pound thin sliced pepperoni sausage
1 packet (.6 ounces) zesty Italian dressing mix
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons water
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Set aside 5 pepperoncini peppers for garnish and combine the remaining peppers and the rest of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl; toss to combine.
Pour the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well. Pour dressing over salad. Arrange reserved peppers in a star pattern on top of salad. Serve at room temperature.
Serves eight to 10.
Cook's note: If made a day ahead the flavors have a chance to blend. Bring to room temperature and toss again before serving. Garnish with pepperoncini.
Judy Monaco, Glendale Heights