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Food & Drink > Recipes > Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

It's probably ten years ago that I first noticed chopped salads showing up on restaurant menus, keeping in mind that we have never gotten out much they might have been there longer. They are probably on the way out, if not totally gone from a lot of restaurant menus, but I still like them a lot.

Intuitively, salads are healthy and low calorie, but we have to be careful about adding ingredients like meat, cheese, olives, and bacon that bring up the fat count even before the dressing goes on. Or avocados. Of course, olives, avocados, and nuts contain the good fats, but a calorie is a calorie.

All that said, if the salad is your entree, it's likely to have fewer calories than a hamburger.

A chopped salad is one where all the ingredients have been cut down to a fairly uniform size - 1/2 inch cubes. And served very cold.

There's a good recipe at: herborvacious - Chopped Salad - Revisiting a Classic

Chopped Salad Dressing

3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard (Dijon)
1 small clove garlic, minced

Diced cucumber
Quartered grape tomatoes
Chopped pitted kalamata olives
Chopped parsley
Finely diced red onion
1 can garbanzo beans, cut in half to size of other ingredients
Romaine, chopped medium fine (see below)
Feta cheese
(Diced roasted beets)
(Sliced peperoncini)
(Dried cranberries)
(A few walnut halves)

Salt the cucumber and tomatoes and let stand in a strainer for 30 minutes. Put the oil and vinegar in the bowl and add the vegetables. Toss.

For chopping the romaine, the above web site suggests:
"The classic leaf for a chopped salad is romaine lettuce hearts. You can use some of the dark greens as well, but the ribs provide the structure that keeps the salad in cubes with some airspace, instead of collapsing into a mass of slimy leaves. A fantastic way to cut romaine is to make some lengthwise incisions, leaving the base intact, before cutting across the leaves at 1/2" intervals. Three of these lengthwise cuts is great for a normal salad, but for a chopped salad try five."

And make sure the lettuce is dry by using a salad spinner. No spinner? Wash it ahead of time, roll it in paper towels or a clean dish towel and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight. Should be dry and crisp.

posted on Feb 16, 2012 2:44 PM ()


America's Test Kitchen did an informative segment on chopped salads. There is a method to keeping the cut veggies from getting soggy. The salad sounds so crunchy and yummy, and would accompany so many dishes.
comment by marta on Feb 16, 2012 8:02 PM ()
We don't get that show here in Las Vegas right now, so I hope to catch that episode next summer when I'm back in Colorado. They are always so informative, and I like how they explain the things that didn't work in case we would get it into our head to deviate from the precise method. I've looked at their website for the recipes, but don't feel like signing up for the 'free' issues of the magazine as a condition so I always transcribe the recipes from the show. I don't like that younger dark-haired gal who does a lot of the vegetarian recipes - she talks too fast and skips information.
reply by kitchentales on Feb 18, 2012 10:09 PM ()
I like chopped salads best because I hate to wrestle big hunks of lettuce.
comment by elderjane on Feb 16, 2012 3:46 PM ()
Me too! It's funny how we form these opinions, but I suspect that some people feel this way their whole life and don't realize it. Have you seen those giant taco salad that some restaurants serve? Great big fried tortilla the size of someone's head, glued to the plate with a dab of refried beans, and it sticks up 12 inches off the plate. I'd be mortified to have ordered it and see it coming my way across the dining room.
reply by kitchentales on Feb 18, 2012 10:14 PM ()

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