Today’s Chopped Meats and Cheese Salad is one of my favorite meals, especially when I have a refrigerator filled with an assortment of odds and ends. This is the perfect way to use them up!
Being married to an Italian-American, there is always some form of charcuterie in the fridge. When we get down to small bits left, this salad is a terrific way to create something new with them.
A chopped salad is basically a regular salad where all the ingredients are pre-cut into bite-sized pieces. This makes it exceptionally easy to eat and no need to use a knife.
If you do recipe development like I do, there are always small amounts of ingredients waiting to be turned into something delicious. Do you have a lonely carrot or single stalk of celery? Chop them up and toss them in. Any leftover meat can be added, grilled steak, pork chops, or roast chicken all work beautifully in this salad.
You can start with any lettuce greens and vegetables you like. From there it is totally up to you. I typically include chunks of cheese, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and any leftover meats I might have, including deli meats. The more the merrier in my house!
You can certainly use any dressing that you like, but I prefer a heartier, creamy dressing. Today’s Creamy Ranch-Style Dressing stands up to the strong flavors of this salad and it makes a beautiful dip for a charcuterie platter too!
Tonight’s version of our salad included cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sunflower seeds, salami, fried pancetta, celery, carrots, green onions and toasted sliced almonds. Topped with a little homemade ranch-style dressing, it was filling, healthy, gluten-free, and a one-dish meal. I love this salad and appreciate the quick and easy clean up!
When you have an assortment of cold cuts, vegetables, and cheeses in the refrigerator and you’re looking for ideas for dinner, just pull them all together and make this beautiful Chopped Meats and Cheese Salad. It is perfect all year long!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are short on time or don’t want to spend a lot of time chopping ingredients, you can stop by the salad bar at your grocery store and find many of the ingredients there. Just be aware that there is a high chance of cross contamination as people may use the same spoon or tongs to serve a variety of ingredients.
Making your own dressing from scratch lets you control the ingredients you serve, making sure it is safe for your family and guests. If you are using a store-bought dressing and are serving someone who is gluten-free, be very careful to check the label.
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp very finely minced fresh garlic
- 2 tsp minced chives or very finely minced green onions
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard
- 1-1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp dried dill weed, optional
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large head green leaf lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 red or orange bell peppers, stems and seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, trimmed and chopped finely
- 2 cucumbers, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced thinly
- 1 cup small cubes of gluten-free salami or other charcuterie, optional
- 4 strips of gluten-free bacon, chopped and fried until crisp; drained on paper towels, optional
- 1 cup small cubes of cheddar cheese, optional
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped dill
- Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Make the Dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper. Whisk again until everything is evenly distributed.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours to give flavors a chance to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Make a day ahead for the best flavor.
- Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the lettuces, vegetables, meats, cheese, sunflower seeds, green onions, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add 2 to 3 tbsp dressing, tossing well to be sure everything is blended and evenly coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Transfer salad to a large bowl and sprinkle the top with the almonds. Let your guests serve themselves. Pass remaining dressing at the table.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 553 Total Fat: 43g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 29g Cholesterol: 74mg Sodium: 1450mg Carbohydrates: 24g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 11g Protein: 21g
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