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This summer, after having to step in maybe times to help the salad station at work, a hatred for “chopped” salads became noticeable. When you’re busy making 9 other things that you are prepped for and a ticket comes in for a “cobb salad, chopped, small dice” – you just roll your eyes and wonder what’s the big deal?! It’s a saaaalad, it’s already chopped, diced, and in small bites. Why does the customer want to annoy me with these ridiculous requests that make me dirty an extra cutting board and salad bowl!? It might seem like a tiny detail, but when you’re on the line and making a million things, a “chopped” salad throws you off your game.

That is, until you actually taste the so called “chopped” salad. It’s perfection in every bite. It’s flavorful without having to fish for a juicy piece of chicken or that salty crumble of bacon; it’s all there in every forkful. And the only reason is because it was chopped.

Am I going to give you a recipe for a chopped salad? Heck no! You can chop and mix and dice anything your heart desires. But I will give you some tips on making great combinations, as well as choosing the best greens. Here goes:

  • Start with deciding what dressing you’ll make. Whether it’s a vinegar based dressing (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar) or you’ve decided to make a creamy dressing like blue cheese or caesar. It’s important because each dressing deserves a good mate – the perfect greens to coat.
  • Choosing a Green vehicle: If you’re dressing is light, such as a balsamic and olive oil dressing, go with a tender and sweet green like Boston Bibb or Mache, that has a delicate taste and carries well acidic flavors. If you’re going for the heavier and creamier dressings, be sure to choose a green that has some body to it, such as Radicchio or Romaine.Why not go for a mix of greens?! Check out this link from the Huffington Post for a slideshow on lettuce varieties.
  • Add some protein! The possibilities are endless – grilled chicken cut in cubes or roasted chicken pulled and cooled; grilled salmon or a scoop of tuna salad; a mix of three beans or chopped hard boiled eggs; seared tofu or pulled pork! It’s your chopped salad, so you do as you want to.
  • Up the vegetable content: shredded carrots, sliced avocados, extra greens for added texture and flavor, roasted squash to go with the season. Toasted nuts such as walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts add crunch and essential nutrients; dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, apricots, and even rainsins balance out the salad.

Chopped Salad How To:

  1. Prepare all your ingredients. Cook your protein and set aside. Make your dressing.
  2. When ready to serve, chop greens bite size, as well as all other ingredients.
  3. In a cold bowl, toss all your ingredients, along with a drizzling of dressing and gently toss well to combine. Top with protein or chop that as well and serve alongside crusty bread for an easy lunch.
Other salad varieties, plus great add-in ideas!

And there you have it, a quick and easy guide to chopped salads. This post is participating in the Food Network’s Fall Fest, so be sure to check out all of the links below for more posts all about this week’s ingredient, MIXED LETTUCE!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Quinoa and Black Lentil Salad With Mixed Salad Greens
Haute Apple Pie: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing
Dishin & Dishes: Beet Salad With Garlic Vinaigrette
Thursday Night Dinner: Mixed Lettuce, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pita Pizza
And Love It Too: Rainbow Salad
Made By Michelle: Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches
Feed Me Phoebe: Hearts of Romaine With Beets, Pistachios and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Mixed Lettuce
Virtually Homemade: Mixed Fall Greens With Dijon Chive Vinaigrette
Devour: Lettuce (Hold the Salad)
Daily*Dishin: Almond Chutney Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Delicious Lean: Chiffonade of Mixed Greens
FN Dish: Top 12 Lettuce Wraps

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  1. Oh this is absolutely so good! What helpful info on salad prep. Thanks for sharing this and all the links. Will go check them out. Happy summer !

  2. Mr. Hungry Couple is a HUGE chopped salad fan and also loves lots of “stuff” in his salads. He’s taught me to love it that way, too.

  3. It’s funny you posted this girlie. I was so good this week making a triple batch of vinaigrette. Pre washing and spinning lettuce and arugula and storing it in between paper towels, in the fridge, in an air tight container. ‘shelling’ pomegranate arils in advance. Even dicing the shallots right into the vinaigrette. So much prep work I can sympathize, but so well worth the effort, made my life throughout the week so much easier! 🙂

  4. Ick. I do NOT like chopped salads. I like regular salads that have been cut, but if I need a spoon to eat the salad… no thanks! I seem to recall talking with you about this subject in August. lol

    Great salad suggestions though!! Yum.

  5. Nice! I need some knife skills so I can chop those salads beautifully like you do! 😉