This Portillo’s Chopped Salad is a knock off from the famous salad at Portillo’s. It’s hearty and topped with the tastiest dressing.
I just returned from BlogHer Food in Austin, Texas where I was surrounded by people who love food as much as I do. It was nice to be able to eat in abundance without being judged. It really was a magical trip. There was always food waiting to be eaten and parties to attend (where there was more food to be eaten). I met so many wonderful people and made so many new friends. We had late nights of talking and made a lot of memories. Ahhh…..
Usually I’m eager to get home but I struggled getting back to reality after this trip. When I got home the laundry, cooking, and cleaning was waiting for me and I longed for the carefree lifestyle I had experienced for the weekend. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to be a mother. I missed my kids. But physically as I get more and more pregnant, it’s hard to keep up with all that goes into being a mother of four very active kids. My body is exhausted. I pray that I can make it through the summer.
Needless to say after the weekend of eating I had, a big bowl of foliage was calling my name. I feel like chopped salads are all the rage these days; the new black if you will. This salad is apparently from Portillo’s restaurant. I’ve never actually been there but it looked enticing. Adding pasta to a salad is a great way to add some bulk and make it stretch further.
The salad is tossed with an Italian vinaigrettewith a hint of oregano that gives it a unique flavor. You can totally use a store bought vinaigrette but I really like the flavor of this homemade one. Supposedly the real Portillo’s salad has chicken on it, so feel free to add chicken to make it a meal.
- 4 cups cooked Ditalini pasta
- 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 2-1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
- 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 cup sliced green onions
- 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (about 1 cup)
- (optional) 2 cups cooked and diced chicken
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Cook Ditalini pasta according to package instructions. Make sure you salt the pasta water while cooking to give it some flavor. Drain and cool. Set aside.
- Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Let bacon cool, then crumble it.
- Combine romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, tomatoes and green onions in large salad bowl.
- Add cooled pasta, bacon and gorgonzola cheese to salad. Add chicken if desired.
- Add dressing to taste right before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.
- For the Dressing: Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified. You can also just whisk it in a bowl. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Some readers have used apple cider or red wine vinegar instead of balsamic so that the color is lighter and more appealing when drizzled on the salad.
Source: Salad from Christine Trevino ; Dressing from Sun Times