When I was a kid, just like most of my friends, I hated vegetables and didn’t particularly care for salads. If it wasn’t iceberg lettuce with sweet French dressing, I wouldn’t touch it. These days I love all kinds of salads, filled with vegetables and different types of greens.
One of my favorite meals is an old-fashioned chopped salad. Have you ever had one? It is a standard offering at most steak houses across the nation, each with their own version. That is the beauty of a chopped salad; it can be completely different each time you make it!
The basic principle of a chopped salad is that everything is pre-cut into bite-sized pieces. You should never need a knife when eating this salad.
While I typically look to main-course salads during the hot weather months, this is good any time of the year. You can include any vegetables that are fresh, steaming or microwaving briefly any that need it. In the winter, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are wonderful additions. During the summer when heirloom tomatoes are in season, by all means include them – I would never miss an opportunity to enjoy their incredible flavor.
This salad is one of the best ways to help clear out your refrigerator. It is perfect if you have leftovers from dinner that aren’t enough for another full serving. Combine them with a few other ingredients and you can feed your whole family! 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.
You can certainly use any dressing that you like, but I prefer a heartier, creamy dressing, something that will stand up to the strong flavors of the salad. You can use the recipe I created below or try one of my other favorites included here.
Tonight’s version included cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sunflower seeds, salami, fried pancetta, celery, carrots, green onions and toasted sliced almonds. Topped with the Ranch-Style dressing, it was filling, healthy, gluten-free, and a one-dish meal. I love the salad and appreciate the quick and easy clean up!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Happy Festive Friday!!
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup lite mayonnaise, preferably Best Foods or Hellman’s
- 1/2 tsp gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp very finely minced fresh garlic
- 2 tsp minced fresh 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
- In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, soy, 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 and leave overnight before using for best results.
- Yield: about 1-3/4 cups
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