Italian Chopped Salad – Using romaine, ditalini pasta, chicken, bacon, blue cheese, honey mustard, & more, makes this one of our NEW favorite salad recipes!
Italian Chopped Salad
I don’t even know how to begin telling you about this salad.
Well, I’ll start here I guess…
Last month I went to Chicago for a home influencer conference, and before leaving town on the last day, I was STARVING and on the hunt for something good.
I decided to pop in to a popular pizza restaurant to order that delicious deep dish pizza that I had already fallen in love with, and I saw a salad on the menu that caught my eye.
So after making an indulgent decision of getting deep dish pizza AND this salad, I quickly found myself in salad (and pizza) heaven.
Salad with Pasta?
I know, it probably sounds crazy right? But it caught my eye on the menu and let me tell you… the added texture of the ditalini pasta in this lettuce salad, is insane. INSANE I tell you. So flipping good.
So since Chicago is too far away to simple go down the road to get this salad anytime that I wish, I decided I better try and recreate it at home. Friend, I got it pretty close… and it has now come a favorite in our house.
Combine the romaine (and head lettuce if you wish) and ditalini with ingredients like:
- green onions
- roma tomatoes
- chopped red cabbage
- blue cheese crumbles
- honey mustard dressing
…and this salad is going to fill you up on so many levels with the protein, flavor.
How to Make Italian Chopped Salad
If you’ve made my “BEST Side Salad” recipe, then you know how I feel about big hunks of lettuce leaves in my salad.
I don’t feel that anyone should have to
Romaine Lettuce Leaves
But what I do
However, I remove a lot of the white, bitter part of the stalk, and only keep the little bit towards the top of the leaves. (You can adjust this with how you prefer it too! Salads are super flexible, so change it up on how you prefer it!)
Feel free to use some romaine AND some head lettuce to really up your salad texture game here.
Besides the photo below looking super pretty with all of the colors of the salad ingredients, the flavors that these bring in to this Italian Chopped Salad are where.it’s.at.
Make sure to chop up all of your ingredients into smaller pieces, so it becomes the “chopped salad” you’re aiming for.
TIP: I like prepping and chopping my salad ingredients ahead of time, while the chicken, bacon and the pasta are cooking, to help speed things up.
Easy Italian Chopped Salad
I’ve liked salad since being a little girl, but now that I’m older and I’m the “head chef” here in my house, I STILL love salads because they’re so easy to make, versatile and forgiving.
Feel free to assemble how you wish because you will toss this all anyway, but I wanted you to get a good look at the ingredients as I added them in!
I believe food is love, and I believe photos can help tell the love story…
Chopped Italian Chicken Salad
Now although you can leave the chicken out of this salad and use the ingredients as a side salad, rather than as a hearty main dish… I DO love the texture (and protein) that the chicken provides.
Feel free to use and cook chicken tenders like I did for this recipe, or even grab a rotisserie chicken from the deli of your grocery store to make things super quick and easy.
What Kind of Salad Dressing for Italian Chopped Salad?
Well, when I think of an Italian salad of any kind, I think of using Italian dressing.
But when I had this salad in Chicago, it was made with what tasted like a honey mustard dressing, so I went with that, and I was NOT disappointed.
SIDE NOTE: I actually used the honey mustard dipping sauce you see below, instead of honey mustard dressing. Why? Because that’s what I had on hand.
But I’m actually liking the thicker texture it provided on this salad, so I’m not sure if I’ll ever use a different one.
Planning on serving this salad at a party or later in the day? No problemo! I like making things ahead of time, and am especially a fan of make-ahead salads.
REMEMBER: Refrain from adding the dressing to the salad until right before serving, but feel free to go ahead and toss the ingredients beforehand and place it in the refrigerator until ready.
(However, I wouldn’t make this salad or blend the ingredients together until the day you’re planning on serving it, in case the toppings make the lettuce soggy.)
Tossing the Chopped Salad
If you have one of the large Pampered Chef mixing bowls, or similar, I LOVE using it for this salad.
It’s big enough to mix the salad and I can even slip the lid right on it if I need to store it for later.
Serving the Whole Salad
If you’re dressing the entire salad at once, rather than dressing individual salads, and depending on the size of your bowl with a lid, a fun tip I have is to pour your honey mustard dressing on top of you salad, put the lid on, and shake it!
Such an easy way to dress your salad! Grab some tongs and portion out the salad on to individual salad plates!
Italian Chopped Salad
- 5 chicken tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 cup cooked and cooled ditalini pasta (About 1/2 cup uncooked.)
- 3 heads romaine lettuce
- 1.5 cups chopped red cabbage raw
- 5 green onions chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
- honey mustard dressing
- Begin by dicing chicken tenderloins in to small, bite-size peices and saute and cook thouroughly in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Set aside.
- Cook bacon according to package directions. (I prefer a softer bacon texture, rather than crunchy for this particular salad.) Set aside.
- Tear romaine leaves off of the stalks and wash and dry (air or salad spinner).
- With a knife (my favorite knife) chop lettuce into bitesize peices. (I remove most of the white stalks and disgard, as this tends to add bitter flavors to the salad.)
- Chop remaining veggies and bacon in to small, bite-size peices.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and toss with honey mustard dressing, either individually or as a bulk salad! (Just remember, tossing all of your salad with the dressing will make any leftovers soggy!)
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
Love Salad Recipes?
We do too. We’ve gathered all of our favorite salad recipes for you so you can keep them all in one spot!
Here are just a few you’ll find here on the blog:
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