CHOPPED SALAD - ITALIAN STYLE
As part of the 'STURDY SALAD LINE', having this salad on hand means a lunch or a side salad at dinner is ready to go. It's a hit with kids and adults, and besides being delicious, this salad packs a huge nutrient and antioxidant punch.
Get it in you!
PREP TIME: 30 min
MAKES: 13-14 cups
FOR THE SALAD & DRESSING
4 zucchinis (courgettes), cut into small cubes
3 carrots, cut into small cubes
2 red onions, finely diced
2 sweet red bell peppers*, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup (240 ml) olive oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 ½ to 2 tsp salt (to taste)
Chopped lettuce leaves (spinach and/or romain)
Chopped cherry tomatoes
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
MAKE THE SALAD
Mix all salad ingredients (not the serving ingredients) together in a large bowl, transfer to an airtight container and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours to soften and absorb the dressing.
WHEN READY TO SERVE...
Add your chopped lettuce leaves to a mixing bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to just season and soften the lettuce.
Remove your prepared chopped salad from the refrigerator and spoon it into the bowl with the spinach. Add parmesan cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds and mix well.
Gently mix in your chopped cherry tomatoes.
Spoon into individual serving bowls and garnish with a few extra seeds and parmesan shreds for looks.
See COOK'S NOTES below for portion guidelines.
Click below to see the start-to-finish process and explanations.
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees
Video Credit: Hannah Menees
Don't skip the cheese and pumpkin seeds (unless you're allergic)! This salad is lovely as is, but the cheese and pumpkin seeds elevate it to something special and add that tiny bit of salty crunch and protein that makes it a satisfying meal on its own.
Red onions in the US tend to be much bigger than red onions in Europe. In order for you to gauge your portions, my red onions weighed about 4.5 oz (125 g) each (before peeling). So have a look at the photo for proportions and if your onion is the same size as a bell pepper, then scale down to 1 onion!
Sweet bell peppers are easy to find in Europe. If you can’t find them in the US, just substitute with your standard red bell peppers.
The chopped salad can last 7-8 in the fridge, and in fact, gets better over time as the flavors intensify.
The spinach, cheese, and seeds get nasty after a few hours, and tomatoes go mushy, which is why I only add them at the time of serving.
While this salad keeps for a long time, the natural juices of the vegetables will start to seep out into the salad, which is nice in terms of moisture, but it can dilute the salt-taste in the dressing. So after a few days, you'll probably want to season with a bit more salt to taste at the point of serving.
You can take the below as guidelines, but this is all a matter of taste. If I’m serving this as a side salad next to a hearty meal, then I like to go lighter on the cheese and seeds to give the meal a delicate balance. If I’m serving this as a main course lunch or dinner (yes, mostly to girls), then I like a bit more cheese and seeds to give it the feeling of a satisfying meal. I'm sure you'll come to your own 'taste' ratios in time!
If serving as a 'main dish', you can start with the following amounts per person:
1 cup (40g) chopped lettuce leaves (spinach and/or romaine, loosely packed)
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt
3-4 diced cherry tomatoes (25-35 g)
2-3 Tbsp (12-18 g) shredded parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp (15 g) toasted pumpkin seeds.
1 ½ cup (285 g) of the chopped salad
If serving it as a side or starter at dinner, then cut the above 'per person' recommendations in half and adjust to your taste.