Our copycat recipe of Portillo’s Chopped Salad is LOADED with lotsa chicken, pasta, bacon, and blue cheese then dressed in a sweet Italian dressing! YUM!!
Looking for a salad recipe that everyone will LOVE? Well, in my book, Portillos Chopped Salad is “that” recipe!
This wonderful salad is like a cross between a really good salad and a delicious pasta dish! Loaded with everyone’s favorite goodies 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 Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette (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.
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
- I LOVE Every Single Ingredient In This Salad!
- The Ratio Of Goodies To Veggies Is Fabulous.
- Even My Hubby, Who Always Says Salad Never Fills Him Up, BEGS For this Salad!
- Ohhhh The Dressing <3
SAVE THIS PORTILLOS CHOPPED SALAD
TO YOUR SALAD OR DINNER BOARD FOR LATER
LET’S BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!
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!
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 Recipe
- 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 Recipe Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette (aka-Sweet Italian Salad Dressing)
- In a large bowl, add the salad ingredients together except the blue cheese. Toss well.
- Add blue cheese and Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss just until Gorgonzola is evenly distributed through the salad and the salad is well coated with the dressing. Taste and add more dressing as needed.
Fans Also Made:
Recipe Notes For Portillo’s Chopped Salad:
Dressing: When I make this homemade Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette 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!
Bigger Batch: 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.
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:
- For The Iceberg 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.
Cabbage: 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!
Looking For More Salad and Salad Dressings Favorites?
- Pea Salad – Little green gems lend beautiful color and texture to this delicious creamy salad.
- 7 Layer Salad – Beautiful fresh salad, loaded with texture and layer of flavor!
- Tuna Pasta Salad– where the chicken of the sea meets the salad of Southern gatherings! You’re gonna want another serving of this fresh and creamy pasta mix.
- Mediterranean Salad– Our Mediterranean Salad has all the flavors of the Mediterranean in an elegant, refreshing salad that’s quick to make and tossed in a delicious vinaigrette.
- Dorito Taco Salad– Our Dorito Taco Salad is made with Nacho Doritos, Zesty Taco Meat, Lotsa Cheese and MORE. Double it for your next Potluck or serve it for Taco Tuesday!
Kristine Wade says
So yummy!! I used Ken’s Greek Simply Vinaigrette. I ran out of steam and couldn’t face making the dressing. I will another time.
Hi, Kristine! Glad you like this salad 🙂
Thank you for your positive review!
Totally amazing, absolute keeper!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Dawn Kazmierski says
Can I use any type of cheese? I do not like Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola cheese. Thanks.
Love this salad! My husband and picky daughter ask for it often! We have not been disappointed by any of your recipes!
Oh Brenda, thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear <3
Portillo’s serves the salad with sweet Italian dressing. Marie’s makes good sweet Italian. I could eat this salad everyday!!!
Me too, Erin! The balsamic vinaigrette I use in this recipe is on the sweet side too. It can easily be altered by adding a little more sugar to be any sweetness you’d like. having a good commercial alternative is a great idea though! Thanks so much for sharing <3
Ren Rose says
Good morning! This looks delicious! But when I click on the link for the sweet italian dressing, it takes me to a balsamic vinaigrette recipe. Any chance you could fix the link?
Also, are you using gorgonzola or blue cheese? I know they are the same family, but I’m making this for a baby shower and don’t want to mess it up!
Thanks for posting! 🙂
Hi Ren Rose! I made a mistake when I labeled the dressing. The link is correct and that is the dressing I use for this salad. I’m sorry for the confusion!! I will go back and label the dressing correctly.
As for the cheese, honestly, either would work equally well. I generally prefer Gorgonza for the salad. I would probably try to get a mild version of whichever you choose since you are serving it to a group. I hope this helps! LMK if you have any more questions!
Could you please fix the link to the salad dressing?
Thanks Cyn for letting me know the link wasn’t working. I just fixed it <3
So glad I have found this recipe. I have already made it at least 4 times. MY church family requests it now. I like to use holiday themed pasta. I’M making it for a party tonight and have Halloween pasta. Everyone tells me they think it’s better than Portillas. Thanks. This recipe is in the family favorites board now. 🙂
Kathleen Smith says
Hi Grandmarmie! So happy to hear everyone is enjoying the salad. I love the idea of using holiday themed pasta. So fun!!!
Kathy Doran says
Do you use both types of lettuce, or just one or the other?
I use both lettuce 🙂
Does this stay room temp? I am using it tomorrow
Hey Cheryl. Yes, I serve this either cold or at room temp.
so glad I found this recipe. Very excited, looking forward to making it. I especially want to thank you for all the extra directions and guidelines. That’s what really makes me want to try this, all the extra personal notes you added.
Hi Carla. Thanks so much for telling me that! I really appreciate hearing that it’s a help 🙂
I made this salad for a large pool party. It is labor intensive but you can do part of the prep in stages. What a huge hit! I give this a very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Hi Kathy. So glad it was a hit at your party. I love the two thumbs up!!!
This salad looks delicious!! Going to try it tomorrow with grilled chicken. I love salads in the summertime and this one looks extra special!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Thanks Cristy, I hope you enjoy!!!
Susan P says
In your ingredient list for the amount of pasta there’s a “4.” Is that 4 cups of dried pasta, or 4 cups of cooked pasta or is it 4 ounces of dried or cooked?
Hi Susan. 4 cups of cooked pasta 😉
Denise Wyskida says
That’s 2cup dried. Which when cooked makes 4 cups.
What is the 4 by the Ditalini Pasta stand for?
Hey Cindy. It’s 4 cups of cooked pasta 🙂