A Chopped Salad
The first time I learned about a chopped salad, it was because of Wolfgang Puck. I don’t know if this is fact or fiction, but in my cooking lifetime, he was the chef with whom I first associated the concept of a chopped salad. Coarsely chopped deliciousness, topped with a vinaigrette. Oh, and with cheese!
I only have only one of his cookbooks; he wasn’t a chef I admired greatly, but I didn’t have anything against him, either. He popularized pizzas way back when, and was one of the first to fuse cuisines, like French and Asian.
Once on our way to Hawaii, my family spent the night in Los Angeles, and we went to Spago for dinner, which was his first restaurant. And that’s where I had my first chopped salad. For reasons unbeknownst to me, that restaurant closed, so I feel lucky to have had that dining experience. But he still has restaurants everywhere, endorses products, and seems to be pretty active on television as well. So bravo to him for his tenacity!
So, what is a chopped salad? The one I remember having was crunchy, because of endive and crispy salad greens. Plus it contained lots of different similarly-sized pieces of vegetables, either fresh or blanched, and also feta cheese crumbles. It’s the perfect salad to play with, because the ingredient options are basically endless.
So for my chopped salad today, I’m using endive, radicchio, raw zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and gruyere, for a more chewy cheese option than feta.
For my vinaigrette, I’m including parsley and basil. Easy and fresh. A perfect salad for late spring and summer.
A Chopped Salad
Inspired by Chef Wolfgang Puck
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Cherry tomatoes, because those are the highest quality in existence right now, sliced in half
Apple cider vinegar
Dollop of Greek yogurt, if you want a creamy vinaigrette
Fresh garlic cloves
To make the salad, toss all of the ingredients into a serving bowl. I have not listed an exact recipe, because the ratio of vegetables is completely up to you.
I’ve had chopped salads at restaurants, where the ingredients were very finely chopped. And those were good as well. You just don’t get the same crunch as you do with larger pieces. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
If you are throwing this salad together ahead of time, I would add the tomatoes at the last minute, or just leave them whole.
For the vinaigrette: In a small blender, add an equal amount of vinegar as olive oil, the garlic, herbs, and salt. Blend, and then add the desired amount of yogurt. Blend again until smooth.
Just before serving, pour in the desired amount of vinaigrette and toss the salad. I’m constantly writing “desired amount” because I like very vinegary vinaigrettes, and I also like a lot of vinaigrette in my salads. Many people do not!
Save any remaining vinaigrette and refrigerate.
note: Think about all of the fun ingredients that can be used in a chopped salad. Protein like chicken cubes, pieces of shrimp, or avocado. Different veggies, of course, croutons, and even chick peas. You could also make a vinaigrette containing goat cheese, so you get that flavor, without the crumbles. So many choices!
Great salad and with some chicken or cheese a lovely summer meal!
There is already cheese in it, but chicken or shrimp it would certainly be a meal!
Sorry. See that now but was picking up your suggestions at the end :)
No problem! I seriously don’t think that everyone reads every word! But I love the cheese addition because of the textural difference!
I love chopped salad, and love to throw whatever I have into it, kind of a kitchen sink concept. Love yours, everything is fresh and delicious and love the vinaigrette.
Thanks! They are good..
Lovely and fresh x
This is a delicious salad, we make it all the time. We mix this up and add spinach, grilled chicken, asparagus, grilled shrimp, etc.. almonds and more! Love this salad :)
did you see my recent post; Caramel Pie!
Yes, nuts are fabulous in it as well!!! I’ll check out your pie!
That sounds lovely! It could even be made into a hot-weather meal.
Absolutely. Most of my meals are salads!
You’ve outdone yourself dear! I have to try that dressing!!
I’m not a huge salad fan but even I’m drooling over this chopped salad! It’s got every vegetable that I love to eat and that dressing sounds delicious! I love all the herbs in there.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your nice comment!
This looks so simple and fresh! And, I love how you don’t have to heat up the kitchen to make it!
Absolutely! That is a plus!
This salad looks outstanding. I am looking at your photos longing for my grandparents garden back in the states. Please enjoy for the rest of us chef mimi!
AAAWWW, sorry! But trust me, I am enjoying summer produce here!
This is my favourite style of salad too, whatever I have to hand, but I love to include roasted sweet red peppers. Puck opened a short lived restaurant in Melbourne when he was at the height of his career….
Oh, really? It’s pretty amazing that he’s still out there with his restaurants, but that’s a testament to his longevity and talent, I guess!
A lovely memory of your first chopped salad. I would eat your version any day. What a flavorful vinaigrette… and who can argue with gruyere cheese?
I know, right?!!!
Looks lovely! The vinaigrette looks great too!
Thank you so much!
Yum! Lots of herbs taste like summer or if fresh herbs are not on hand, I like to stir through a dollop of pesto.
Pesto is the best stuff, isn’t it?!!!
Oh I hope you’ve got some fancy plans for your zucchini flowers, too!
I can’t eat flowers. Bad memories…
I cannot get lettuce to grow for the life of me this spring/summer, but I do have lots of tomatoes coming on and an over abundance of zukes already! So cool you can add Spago to your list of eateries. He (his company) opened a restaurant in Tulsa that closed. We only attempted cocktails there once and the service wasn’t stellar….perhaps that was the problem. Great post and absolutely fabulous salad dressing!!!!
It was in Brookside, wasn’t it? Never made it in – too many other good places to go! Gardening is so tough, here! So many challenges!
I agree — the pieces in a chopped salad should be a decent size, not finely minced. This looks wonderful — such a great combo of ingredients. Looks terrific, and I’ll bet it tastes even better. Love the dressing!
Thanks so much!