Chopped Chef Salad with Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing ~ the chef salad is an American institution, and probably the original main course salad. But this epic loaded salad gets even better when you chop everything into yummy little bits, so let’s dig in!
Go green tonight with a chopped chef salad!
Pull up a fork for #4 in my Main Course Salad Challenge, where I’m sharing hearty main course salads to inspire you to lighten up dinner once a week this season, and hopefully beyond. Every once in a while, especially during the warmer months, a big salad for dinner just hits the spot. This one is bursting with protein, with a healthy dose of crunch!
Here’s a recap of my main course salad recipes so far:
Main course Salad #1 ~ Salmon Cobb Salad
Main Course Salad #2 ~ Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad (balela salad)
Main Course Salad #3 ~ Shrimp Taco Salad
chef salad is all about tradition
I’m going back to basics with this last installment of my main course salad challenge. You know I like to fool around with recipes and put my special tvfgi stamp on them, but sometimes tradition rules, and making a great chef salad is one of those times.
The origins of the chef’s salad are a little murky, nobody knows for sure when or where it was invented, but was on the menu of the Ritz Carlton Restaurant in New York City starting in the 1940s and that’s really where it got its popular start.
The non-negotiables of a great chef salad ~
- the meat: ham and turkey (or chicken) and bacon (used smoked meats for extra flavor)
- the cheese: more than one kind, I’m using Swiss and cheddar
- red onion
- boiled eggs
- good crunchy lettuce
- a fabulous creamy dressing
Why chop a chef salad?
- Chopping all the ingredients in a chef salad accomplishes a few different things. For one, it makes it easier to eat. There’s nothing worse than struggling to get a forkful of an ungainly salad.
- Chopping everything into similar sized pieces allows you to get a little bit of everything in every bite, so the wonderful flavor combinations in a chef salad can really shine.
- Remember, chop doesn’t mean shred, julienne, or slice…the even little chunks are critical to the experience of a great chopped chef, so get out your chopping tool (see the box below) for the perfect salad.
This salad comes with the added bonus of a fabulous creamy sweet onion dressing
~ the dressing works really well to jazz up the mild flavors of the salad. It’s a Southern classic from down where sweet onions are a religion. If you can find a sweet Vidalia onion for this recipe, perfect. If not, another sweet variety will do. Sweet onions are milder than regular onions, and so they don’t overpower this dressing the way a regular onion would. Even so, when you pull the top off your blender after making this dressing you’ll get a definite onion-y blast!
I like to make the dressing the day before to let the flavors mellow.
It makes enough to fill a Bon Maman jam jar, about 13 ounces…more than you need, so store the rest in the fridge for your next salad.
Love chopped salads? Me too, and here are some favorites…
- Chopped Greek Salad
- Chopped Asparagus Salad
- Israeli Chopped Salad
- Chopped Salad with Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette
- Chopped Italian Salad Recipe
Make this chopped chef salad your own ~
- use roast beef or leftover steak
- Add in extras like olives, roasted peppers, chickpeas, bell peppers, avocado, corn, etc.
- use Thousand Island or Russian dressing.
- If you don’t want to chop everything, you can slice the meat and cheese in long thin strips.
For more information, please see more information about What is in a chef’s salad