Portillo’s Chopped Salad

This Portillo’s Chopped Salad is a knock off from the famous salad recipe at Portillo’s in Chicago. It’s hearty and topped with the tastiest dressing.

This Portillo’s Chopped Salad has bacon, tomato, Gorgonzola cheese and even little bits of pasta throughout!Portillo's Chopped Salad with tomatoes, bacon, and pasta


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.

Portillo's Chopped Salad Recipe on a plate

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 Portillo’s Chopped 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.Portillo's Chopped Salad recipe on a plate

The salad is tossed with an Italian vinaigrette with 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 Chopped Salad has chicken on it, so feel free to add chicken to make it a meal.

Everyone who has this salad asks for the recipe!! It’s so good.

Portillo's Chopped Salad
Prep Time
5 hrs 49 mins
Cook Time
5 hrs 49 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Christy Denney
  • 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
Sweet Italian Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. 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.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Let bacon cool, then crumble it.
  3. Combine romaine, iceberg, red cabbage, tomatoes and green onions in large salad bowl.
  4. Add cooled pasta, bacon and gorgonzola cheese to salad. Add chicken if desired.
  5. Add dressing to taste right before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.
  6. 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.
Recipe Notes

Another tip: If you make the dressing ahead of time and add a little bit to the cooled pasta and let it soak it up in the fridge for some time it adds a whole lot of flavor.
Some readers have used apple cider or red wine vinegar instead of regular balsamic (when white can't be found) so that the color is lighter and more appealing when drizzled on the salad. White balsamic can be found right next to the regular balsamic vinegar at the store.
Source: Salad from Christine Trevino

 This Portillo's Chopped Salad is a knock off from the famous salad recipe at Portillo's in Chicago. It's hearty and topped with the tastiest dressing. This Portillo's Chopped Salad has bacon, tomato, Gorgonzola cheese and even little bits of pasta throughout! the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

Speak Your Mind



  1. I wanna go back! Just kidding, it’s good to be home with my boys. I’ll be eating foilage all week, my scale was not nice to me this morning! Such a fun trip!

  2. You needed some foliage…I laughed out loud!! I should have done that today…I think I’ll start t tomorrow;) I’m with Kristy, scale was not nice to me…miss you, friend.

  3. I’m glad you’re back! I love seeing what you’re making! I’m glad you had fun!
    I’ll pray that you get thru the summer heat , I was prego with both my boys in the summer….oh…the heat, swollen feet and hands! You can do it!
    This salad looks scrumptious and it looks like a perfect summer salad! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This salad looks so enticing. I like the sounds of the dressing but I would switch the amounts of oil and vinegar. I like my salads on the tart side. Your trip sounds like it would have been great fun, except for what was waiting for you when you got back. I feel your pain about being pregnant in the summer, I gave birth to twins in August (decades ago) in a home that GASP had no air conditioning.

  5. I LOVE Portillos! If you’re ever around Chicago you MUST go. I believe they now have a location in Arizona and one or two in California as well? I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and Portillos is pretty much standard in everyone’s diet there. Except now I live in the middle of the state in farmland, so the only time I get it is when I visit my family 3 hours away back home. The chopped salad is my favorite, and this looks exactly like it! Can’t wait to try it out.

  6. Question about the oregano… Fresh, Dried, or Powdered?

  7. Ahhh Portillo’s! I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago so when someone says Portillo’s I immediately think of hotdogs and chocolate cake lol 🙂 That salad looks awesome!

  8. It was so fun to meet you Christy!!! You are just adorable. And this salad? IT IS MY FAVORITE SALAD FROM PORTILLOS. Yes, I just yelled that. But OMG yum!!!!

  9. I remember how that pregnant feeling keeps you from keeping up with, well the world! You look like you had a fun time in Austin and looked gorgeous the entire time, seriously, you are one of the most beautiful pregnant people I’ve ever seen! I’m loving this salad! It looks like a full meal-which I love! So many times salads that are for dinner don’t ever look like they would fill anyone up! This does! I’m making this the next time we have salad for dinner.

  10. I have made this salad many times (never been to the restaurant either), but I do change the salad dressing to a creamy cilantro dressing I found on http://www.goodcheapeats.com. It’s so amazing!!!!!

  11. So glad you liked the salad! It’s totally my favorite. And if you ever make it to the Chicagoland area – you must stop by the restaurant to try it yourself. Portillo’s is awesome!!

  12. Made this salad for dinner tonight and my family loved it! Thanks for the delicious recipe. Hang in there this summer. I am a mom of four also and carried two of my boys during the hot Arizona summer months. I will keep you in my prayers.

  13. Hey,

    I just recently started following you blog and let me just say I inspire to be like you when I grow up. Anyhoo I’m from Chicago (now living in San Diego) and I totally miss Portillo and this salad. Thanks for posting!!!

  14. It was SO amazing meeting you at BHF Christy! You’re a beautiful, glowing and hilarious lady and I can’t wait to meet your bundle of joy!! And I tooootally agree with you; my body is rebelling from all the deliciously unhealthy food and is craving something simple and light like this!

  15. This is almost identical to the Portillo’s Chopped Salad – which I must admit I eat at least once or twice a month (gasp!) If you add chopped up grilled chicken, it would be spot on 🙂

  16. Yum! I adore chopped salads. This one looks fantastic. I might skip the bacon though and add some chopped salami, just because I am a salami fanatic. Or heck, maybe I’ll leave the bacon in there too. This will be great for BBQ’s this summer!

  17. Wow, that’s a really great salad! I made it for supper this evening, and it was a winner all the way around. I have been thinking about chopped salad since I first read about it last summer, and I’m pleased with this, my first attempt. (I had to cheat a little, using bottled dressing and feta cheese–the price of gorgonzola here is outrageous–but everyone liked it, even the “it’s not dinner without a slab of meat” crowd!) Thank you for sharing this recipe, it is a keeper!

  18. It may sound like a dumb question, but… How much uncooked bacon do you need to end up with 1 cup of cooked and crumbled bacon?


  19. Even though we now have Portillos in Arizona. My sister and I make this about once a week. WE LOVE IT!!!!

  20. Thank you for this! I lived in the Chicago burbs for 12 years and returned home to Louisiana a little over a year ago. I love being back home and there are only a few things that I really miss from there. This salad is one of those things. I need to search for the chocolate cake recipe now!

    Can’t want to make this!!

  21. Looks great, but I got to tell you as a Chicagoan and huge Portillo’s fan, their chopped salad also has chicken in it! 🙂

  22. Just made this tonight- such a crowd pleaser! The kids even ate it- say what?! The “real” one does have chicken, and I believe avocado- but good Lord it doesn’t need it. This took me forever to make, but it was SO worth it!

  23. salad was a huge hit tonight! I made it with lasagna ! Def will make again!! Thanks!

  24. Debra Villalobos says:

    I made this salad but used romaine instead. Iceberg lettuce has ino nutritional value or flavor for that matter.

  25. Made this salad tonight & it was great! I didn’t make the dressing due to time & forgot some items at the grocery but I used a creamy balsamic dressing from Kraft & it was a good substitute…I used feta instead it was cheaper … Sorry… But I really appreciate you sharing! I will definitely make this again…AND my 5 yr old loved the noodles ! Of course I made homemade chicken noodle with them for him!

  26. One key ingredient you’re missing is the chicken! LOVE this salad at Portillo’s in the Chi-town area.

  27. It is great you had a wonderful time with people who share the same passion as you do—-and so do I.
    The reality check thing is biggie that is for sure. You do have a VERY full life—-and being pregnant too—YIKES. Double YIKES. Awesome salad. Very colorful and a mix of flavors and textures. It just works overtime as salad—-just like you do. Hang in there.

  28. Omg I am from Chicago now living in Dallas and I sooooooo miss Portillo’s. The food and Salads are well worth the long lines! These salads are awesome!

  29. The photo is VERY misleading…that is the beautiful salad WITHOUT the dressing on it…once the dressing is on, the balsamic makes it look like……..poo.

    • Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} says:

      Oh. I’m sorry you feel that way. I drizzled some on there. I didn’t think it changed the appearance much at all.

  30. Elizabeth Bailey says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! Looks perfect for a Fourth of July picnic!

    Sorry to be the grammar police, but it is “further,” not “farther.” 🙂


    • Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} says:

      Grammar is my pet peeve so I appreciate any help when I have mishaps because they are mortifying! Thank you!

  31. I made this today and it was good, but I didn’t find the dressing super close to Portillos. It was just a bit too tart and not sweet enough. If I were to tweak it I would use a white wine vinegar, I am pretty sure Portfolios doesn’t use balsamic because their dressing is cream colored. I also might use more sugar. The salad was good though.

  32. I live in Chicago and so loved this salad until I tried their Mediterranean salad. Wow, just love the dressing they use on that one. Wish I knew how to make that one. But seriously if any ever visit Chicago, you have to try Portillo’s chocolate cake shake. Yes, I said chocolate cake shake! Make sure to start your diet a few weeks before you visit! LOL!!!!

  33. This is a very good salad, but to be honest, the dressing does not taste or look like Portillo’s.

  34. loved this recipe, my family did too! very easy to make and the salad dressing is easy to. it was such a hit they have asked for at family gatherings, hope you give it a try.

  35. Thank you so much for the recipe, I lived in the Chicago suburbs for 15 years and loved Portillo’s restaurant. It had a great variety, loved their fish sandwiches. I will definitely be making this. Thanks!

  36. I love Portillos and am going to make this yummy salad for lunch for 10 women. I plan on adding the chicken to it. What do you suggest to serve with it besides rolls and a dessert?

  37. Yum – thank you and have another great weekend!

  38. In the suggestion I said to just add a little. I just made this and it did not turn brown and was fine.

  39. This is an absolute hit. I make it every time we have a family function.

  40. OMGosh! This salad is awesome! I am a transplanted Chicagoan, but I never ate the chopped salad at Portillos! I MUST have the Italian beef, so salad??? I don’t think so. Cut the recipe in half for my husband and myself for dinner thinking there would be leftovers. There weren’t! My husband ate two huge platefuls. I was hesitant because his preference is a creamy thousand island dressing or ranch, never a oil and vinegar based dressing. This was really, really fantastic just the way it’s written. Husband asked me to make it for a potluck at his office next week. Really good.
    As a side note, those who said the noodles looked like “poo,” I suggest they probably did not use white balsamic vinegar! This is an excellent salad! Thank you!

  41. Great recipe! I tweaked it a bit for the 21 Day Fix and gave you a shout out on my blog. Thanks!

  42. Thanks! Enjoyed this last night after not eating at Portillo’s in years! Marzetti makes a Sweet Italian dressing (in refrigerated section) that worked well if you are lazy like me.

  43. Delicious salad. I used less pasta, omitted bacon and cabbage & head lettuce (didn’t have it on hand). I added grated carrot and cucumber. The dressing is delicious. What a great salad!

  44. This salad looks really good! Just so you know you can always order portillos and have it shipped. I live in te suburbs of Chicago now, was born and raised, but I lived in Las Vegas for 4yrs and I’d order it online and have it shipped. I also had sweet corn shipped as well… which would be a great addition.

  45. Michelle Vires says:

    I’m eating a portillos chopped salad right now, actually. I wish I could post a picture. It looks exactly the same. It was a $7 salad, and I had some there for lunch, and I was FULL. There’s enough in this bowl to eat dinner tonight, and lunch tomorrow, too. Maybe even dinner again. This thing was huge!

  46. I make this every year for our holiday party at work and every other week at home for my boys. They eat almost the whole batch in 2.5 days! I have to reserve some for myself!

    I do substitute feta because its always in the fridge. Thanks so much for posting this.

  47. This is so good! Makes a ton! I marinated the pasta in the dressing for about 5 hours too! Next time I will double the dressing recipe! The dressing I would be a great substitute for Italian Dressing in a pasta salad. Thanks for sharing!