Chopped Salad

I have a confession; Mrs Cooksfoodgood and I don’t always cook at home; sometimes we order in (especially when our daughter came). We became hooked on a Chicagoland favorite, the Chopped Salad. While every pizzeria and sandwich shop has their own version, three things are non negotiable; chopped greens, cured meat, and ditalini pasta (Italian for small thimbles). Since we moved to Michigan, we have had a massive salad bowl shaped void in our lives.. until now. Make it a main with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Shop it:

  • 8 oz Ditalini pasta*
  • ½ cup turkey pepperoni
  • 6 cups lettuce (iceberg and spinach work great)
  • 1 cup cherry tomato
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup olives (green or black)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 lemons**
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard**
  • ¼ cup olive oil**
  • 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Make it:

  • Boil salted water in pasta pot; cook ditalini until very al dente, 7-8 minutes.
  • Chop veggies (tomato, red pepper, cucumber, olives, avocado) into uniform cubes and quarter pepperoni. Roughly chop lettuce.
  • Juice lemons into bowl, add in Dijon. Whisk in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.**
  • Assemble salad. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

*Make the entire box, add some to your next soup, or do like I do and just dump a ton of pasta into the salad. Bonus points if you use, say, a chickpea pasta for added nuttiness.
**The classic chopped salad has either a mayo based poppy dressing or a classic Italian dressing. This lemon vinaigrette is just a little lighter, but just about anything works.

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