A little while back I had a phase, okay more of an obsession, with chopped salad mixes. I know, I know…pre-made salad kits, who am I? But Kris was traveling a lot for work, and they’re so easy for those nights when it’s just me. And I love that all the components of the salad are pre-chopped to be exactly the same size. The OCD part of me revels in the uniformity of the salad. Chopped salads look SO perfect after they are mixed. I just add some protein and, done – dinner for one. Before Kris and I got married, the majority of my dinners were giant salads. Salads are my default meal; you can get creative with a variety of lettuces, veggies, nuts, seeds, cheeses, meat, and dressings. I never tire of giant, dinner salads, in fact, I even crave them, true fact!
The grocery stores have a ton of chopped salad kits. They have their own little growing section, creeping in on the boring pre-cut, pre-washed bags of plain iceberg. And the varieties are endless; there’s pomegranate, Southwest, bacon and blue cheese, Italian, sunflower seed, and most recently the super food mixes. Predicatively, I fall for the super food, “health-boosting” antioxidant mix nine times out of 10….. a sucker for marketing, I guess. The super food mix I like best boasts of kale, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin seeds. And honestly, I really do like the crunch of all those veggies and seeds, but I do always end up adding more pumpkin seeds, and maybe some sunflowers seeds….and then half the time I use a different salad dressing than the one it came with, and then I am usually disappointed by the ratio of kale and brussels sprouts to romaine. So because of my constant altering of the kits, I finally decided to start making my own chopped salad so it would be exactly the way I want it.
Now making your own chopped salad is more time consuming than buying a salad kit, obviously, but getting the perfect salad is worth the time and effort. For this chopped salad, I went with romaine, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, made my own Greek yogurt-based dressing, and topped it with pan seared chicken thighs. You can easily make substitutions to this chopped salad, use whatever ingredients you have on hand – come up with your own recipe. You could add cheese, dried cranberries, chopped salami, bacon, steak instead of chicken… I mean, any combination you dream up will work, just chop all your ingredients to be the same size. Anything to increase your vegetable intake is a plus in my book.
Enjoy and let me know what you put in your chopped salad!
- One heart of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 kale leaves, stems removes, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups of brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 1 small head of broccoli, florets removed and chopped
- ¼ head of red cabbage, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup of sunflower seeds
- ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1 pound of cooked chicken thighs, chopped into 1-inch pieces (if making dinner salad)
- For the dressing: ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, juice from ½ a lemon, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Mix romaine, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.
- For salad dressing, combine, Greek yogurt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and seasonings in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
- Toss salad in Greek yogurt dressing or dressing of choice.
- Divide into two large bowls for dinner option and top with chicken or serve as a side salad.