The classic chopped salad is one you can easily create with your favorite ingredients and makes a great "create your own" buffet to serve to your friends.
You've probably eaten a chopped salad before. It's not quite a cobb salad, nor a chef salad, but of course it could be, because, in my mind, a chopped salad is any salad where all the ingredients are small bite sized pieces.
Chopped Salad Ingredient Ideas
The best part of the chopped salad is having fun with the ingredients. I like to use hearts of romaine. They are a little tastier than iceburg, but still have great crunch value. Of course, the nice thing about salads is that you can include what you like and exclude those ingredients you dislike.
When choosing ingredients think about balancing sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy. I like to have a little bit of everything. Stack them up on your fork for a mouthful of wonderful flavors. And hey, it's pretty healthy too.
Another tip I like, is making sure that you do not over dress your salad. One way to do this is by placing a small amount of dressing in the bowl first. Add all of your greens and goodies, and then toss. You can always add more if you think you need it.
In the salad I made above I used hearts of romaine, pickle style cucumbers, grape tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, carrots, red onions, dried cranberries and dates, and fresh goat cheese. To dress this salad I made my friend Mary Ann's Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette.
Other ingredient ideas outside of the many variations above are: olives, celery, fruit, beans, corn, couscous, quinoa, beets, peppers, fresh herbs, edible flowers and nuts.
Serve as a side dish, or add a protein like grilled chicken or shrimp, and serve as a main course. This also makes a perfect buffet dinner idea when entertaining. You can place several different options and a few great homemade salad dressings and go let your friends create, and eat, their own masterpiece.