My friend Barb, told me about how awesome Portillo’s Chopped Salad is. Portillo’s is a Chicago institution, a hot dog stand that was started in 1963 by Dick Portillo’s in a small trailer with no running water, and has now grown to 47 locations. Their chopped salad is famous, and rightly so. Oh, what a great summer recipe this is for all of you… The recipe is widely available online, this is how Barb makes hers…
Portillo’s Chopped Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 – 2 heads Romaine lettuce, depending on size
1 small head red cabbage, minced or 1 bag sliced red cabbage, chopped
1 small red onion, finely minced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 c. ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (Amish Blue Cheese from Sam’s is awesome)
Vinaigrette dressing, bottled or homemade
Wash and dry the lettuces. Finely chop until the lettuce is in small pieces, this is the secret, you want this to be finely chopped, not large chunks.
Put in large salad bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except dressing, and toss to combine well.
Serve dressing along side the salad or pour on and combine just before serving.
Barb uses a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, I’ve also read that Marzetti’s Sweet Italian Dressing is a dead ringer, Commenters also say that Aldi’s Grandesse House Salad Dressing tastes really similar. I also found a homemade recipe with positive reviews if you would like to try it.
This Italian Dressing is from the Chicago Sun-Times. It is similar to the dressing found on salads at Portillo's and Maggiano's restaurants.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.
While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified.
Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks