Portillo’s Chopped Salad!
A copycat recipe of the delicious salad served at Portillo’s restaurants.
Have you ever been to Portillo’s?
Well, if you haven’t, let me introduce you.
Portillo’s is a famous Chicago area fast food restaurant that’s been feeding and making people happy since 1963.
They serve hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and of course, this wonderful salad.
I read somewhere that this salad is the most popular item on the menu, and if you try it, you’ll quickly understand why!
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This wonderful salad is like a cross between a really good, loaded with goodies, chopped salad, and a great pasta salad.
All in one!
No need to choose which you prefer, with Portillo’s Chopped Salad you get them both in one divine forkful.
Two types of lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, onions, bacon, chicken, pasta, and bacon!!!!
That’s one heck of an ingredient list all mixed together, I tell ya, my friends!
The great news is it’s a snap to customize the recipe, when you make it at home, to suit your own personal taste.
Like feta instead of blue cheese. Switch ’em.
Want more protein, throw in more chicken.
Want a lower calorie version, use turkey bacon, low-fat cheese and maybe some whole wheat pasta.
The point is, if it’s homemade, this salad is extremely versatile and easy to tailor to your family’s tastes.
Oh, did I mention the dressing????
I believe originally, this copycat recipe for this sweet Italian dressing, was published in the Chicago Sun Times.
Now I must say, the dressing that this recipe makes doesn’t look like the dressing from Portillo’s restaurant.
Portillo’s dressing is white in color and possibly a little thicker.
Really the differences seem pretty dang small in my estimation.
The overall taste of this salad and the dressing on the whole, is a wonderful copycat version of the original recipe.
This is a great dish to make when you don’t want to heat up your house by turning on the oven.
Cook some bacon up in the morning and stick it in the fridge.
It’ll be ready to chop up when you want to have dinner in your nice cool house 🙂
You can use grilled chicken, a store bought rotisserie chicken, or leftover chicken from another meal.
Personally, I love using a rotisserie chicken in this recipe.
The flavors are great and it makes getting dinner out on the table so much easier!
Occasionally, when I make this recipe I substitute the chicken with leftover grilled steak from the night before.
That combination of steak and the rest of the salad ingredients is really amazing.
No surprise the steak version is my hubby’s favorite way for me to prepare this salad.
I simply have to convince the big ole carnivore not to eat all the steak we grill the night before!
Easier said than done~LOL!
Portillo’s Chopped Salad
- When I make this recipe I like to double the salad dressing ingredients.
The dressing is really easy to make and it’s wonderful to have on hand to use throughout the week.
It’s also helpful to have the increased quantity, because a lot of times I add extra things, like chopped up leftover veggies, to the salad.
It’s an easy way to sneak a few more veggies in the family diet.
Even my pickiest eaters don’t notice the cooked broccoli if I chop it fairly small when it’s mixed in with all the other amazing ingredients in this salad.
So needless to say, it’s good to make sure I have plenty of dressing.
Also, I want to let you know that Portillo’s sells it’s dressing, so if you’re lucky enough to live near a Portillo’s that’s always a really easy option!
- The salad itself is easy to double or even triple if you need to feed a large group.
When I serve this to a large group, I dress the salad with the suggested amount of dressing then serve extra on the side.
You’d be surprised how often people want a little more salad dressing.
For large groups, I serve this in my Grandmas gorgeous cut glass punch bowl.
It’s the perfect size when this recipe is tripled!
If I’m making this for dinner for just hubby and me, I cut the recipe in half.
A half recipe feeds us both generously with a little left over for a midnight snack!
- I try to make the dressing ahead of time, so I can toss the cooked and well-drained pasta with a bit of the dressing.
The pasta has a little more time to absorb more of the dressing than it otherwise would and it really adds a good deal of extra flavor to the finished salad.
- Let’s talk about the blue cheese.
The easiest way to crumble it is to place the chunk of cheese on a plate and break it apart with a fork.
I put the crumbled cheese on a small plate and stick it in the freezer for about 5-7 minutes before I’m ready to toss the salad.
This little step helps to firm up the cheese so it doesn’t break up too much when you add it to the salad.
I also toss the salad a few times before adding the blue cheese, then I add it in, and toss just until the cheese is evenly distributed.
- Cutting the lettuce.
I cut the Iceberg lettuce like I would chop an onion. I cut the head in half down through the stem.
Then I lay one half on the flat side and cut all the way through the long way, then all the way through the width way.
You end up with little squares.
For the Romaine lettuce, I stack the leaves up about 4-5 at a time and then cut through the stack all the way through the layers down the long way, then all the way through the layers down the width way.
Fortunately, at my local grocery store, I can buy shredded red cabbage.
All I have to do with the cabbage is to run my knife through it and chop it up!
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Portillo's Chopped Salad Recipe
Sweet Italian Salad Dressing
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2-3 Cloves Fresh Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 4 Cups Ditalini Pasta Cooked al Dente In Salted Water, Completely Cooled
- 3 Cups Iceberg Lettuce Chopped
- 3 Cups Romaine Lettuce Chopped
- 2 Cups Red Cabbage Chopped
- 4 Roma Tomatoes Seeded and Diced
- 1 Cup Green Onions Finely Sliced
- 2 Cups Chicken Cooked and Cubed
- 1 Cup Bacon Cooked and Crumbled
- 4 Ounces Gorgonzola Crumbled
- 1. Make the Salad Dressing by adding the first 6 ingredient to a blender. Turn the blender on and very slowly add the olive oil while the machine is running. Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients together in a small container with a tight fitting lid, and shake well before applying. Set aside or store in the refrigerator for 1 week.
- 2. In a large bowl, add the salad ingredients together except the blue cheese. Toss well. Add blue cheese and Sweet Italian Salad Dressing. Toss just until blue cheese is evenly distributed through the salad and the salad is well coated with the dressing. Taste and add more dressing as needed.
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