Chop chop salad with creamy kalamata dressing is my version of the house salad from Crust Pizza, one of my very favorite restaurant salads.
Chopped salads were a big trend a few years ago. Honestly, I can’t really tell you what sets “chopped” salads apart from “regular salads, because essentially all of the salads that I make are chopped salads. I guess the word “chopped” just refers to having a bunch of ingredients in addition to whatever green you are using that are chopped up with a knife. Am I right or am I wrong? Someone help me here.
I remember when I was a teenager reading somewhere that you shouldn’t use a knife to chop lettuce because it would cause the cut edges to turn brown. While that’s true (it has something to do with how the cutting action damages the cells of the lettuce), unless you are going to serve the lettuce a few days later and/or you are really concerned about a little bit of browning, who cares? Personally, I am not down to tear up a huge pile of lettuce. I have better things to do with my time, and I imagine that you guys do too. I’ll use my knife, thank you.
One of my favorite pizza places in town is Crust Pizza (home of the cracker-thin crust…I thought I loved Pizza Hut’s thin crust the best until I ate at Crust). When you go there for their lunch buffet, you get a salad to go with your pizza. Their house salad is one of the best chopped salads I’ve ever eaten, with iceberg lettuce, romaine, spinach, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion (you guys know I pick that out), garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, and mozzarella cheese. I always order mine with their creamy kalamata dressing, which I liked long before I had my olive awakening last year. I guess it helped to ease me in. That salad…that salad is art. For a house salad, it’s pretty huge and served in a cute stainless steel bowl (unfortunately I don’t have one that size).
My chop chop salad is my ode to that amazing salad. I tossed together all of the ingredients except, of course, the onions, and the mushrooms because Philip didn’t realize that cremini mushrooms are the same as baby bellas (that’s my fault because I thought about that and forgot to tell him that they were the same thing…I couldn’t remember how Publix labels their creminis. They label them as baby bellas. Oops. I threw in some kalamata olives on top too, because why not?
To top my chop chop salad, I of course whizzed up a creamy kalamata dressing. All of the recipes I found when I was researching kalamata dressing online were vinaigrettes and I WANTED A CREAMY DRESSING, so I had to make this up on my own. It worked out. I am now officially obsessed with this salad and I want to eat it every day. And this past week, that’s just what I did for lunch.
Make this chop chop salad for lunch or dinner this week!
Yield: 4 salads
30 minPrep Time:
30 minTotal Time:
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I like full-fat yogurt)
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt to taste
- 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce (about 1/3 of a head)
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 heart of romaine)
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 4 ounces salami, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 8-ounce package cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (freezing the mozzarella for about 30 minutes before shredding makes this much easier)
- In a food processor, process the Greek yogurt, kalamata olives, white wine vinegar, oregano, and sugar on high until mostly smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the olive oil slowly through the pour spout with the machine running. Salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Toss the greens together in a large bowl. Divide between 4 salad bowls or plates. Divide the remaining ingredients among the plates. Drizzle each salad with 2 tablespoons of kalamata dressing. Serve immediately.