Chef's Salad Ingredient Ideas

Chef's Salad Ingredient Ideas
Forty years ago, when I was a young woman, one of my favorite things to do was to go to lunch with my friends. Our group's hangout, The Netherlands Coffee Shop, was a humble little café. Those waitresses served a dynamite Chef's Salad. It was arrayed on a large plate and was a complete meal.

Just what is a chef's salad? Traditional chef's salads have lettuce, hard-boiled egg, cheese, and meat. However, I'm of the opinion that the best chef's salads have your favorite ingredients that are incredibly fresh. My dream chef's salads are always served in a giant bowl. I love to dig around my salad and stir things up, but I don't like it slopping over the edges! Here are some ideas for building your perfect chef's salad for that lovely sandwich meal.

Chef's Salad Ingredient Ideas

Greens and Herbs: Use fresh and crispy greens. You want bite-sized pieces. It is better to tear lettuces and greens, rather than cutting them.
-iceberg lettuce, mesclun, spring mix, arugula, Romaine, spinach, endive, radicchio, butter lettuce, cilantro, parsley, basil, dill.

Fresh Vegetables: Chop the vegetables into small pieces. Vegetables that need to be sliced should be thinly sliced.
-radish, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, red cabbage, mushrooms, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, celery, sweet onions, scallions, pea pods, fresh green beans, summer squash, avocado slices.

Preserved Vegetables: Adding texture and complex flavors, preserved vegetables also impart probiotics that are helpful for digestion.
-black olives, green olives, muffaletta olive salad, capers, kimchee, pickled pepperoncini, pickled jalapenos, pickled beets, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated mushroom caps.

Proteins: Both plant and animal proteins can be tasty in a chef's salad.
-garbanzo beans, black beans, tempeh, tofu, mung beans, edamame, hard-boiled egg, ham, turkey, chicken, roast beef, shrimp, calamari, salami, mortadella, capicola, pepperoni, prosciutto, soppressata, Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, Parmesan, Romano, pepperjack, mozzarella, Havarti.

Dressings: Use the best dressing that you can afford. Don't use cheap dressings on your creative chef's salad. In fact, making your own dressing is preferred to using a bottled dressing.
-Thousand Island, Ranch, Italian, Green Goddess, oil and vinegar, balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, Dorothy Lynch, blue cheese, Caesar, gorgonzola, mayonnaise.

What would my perfect chef's salad be filled with? I would start with a big old bowl of mixed greens. That would be a combination of iceberg, spring green lettuces, and spinach torn into small pieces. I would add some cilantro, too. Thinly sliced radishes, cucumbers, sweet onions, celery, and shaved carrots would add color and crunch. I wouldn't forget some diced Campari tomatoes and a bit of avocado. Then, I would pile on the preserved veggies. Sliced black olives, green olives, pickled pepperoncini, pickled beets, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated mushroom caps. Chopped ham, turkey, Colby cheese, hard-boiled egg, and garbanzo beans would provide protein. I'd finish it off with a generous serving of homemade Thousand Island dressing. Since my perfect chef's salad is eaten with a skinny sandwich, I wouldn't have any croutons, but you can add them to your salad!

I want you to know that I am very picky about my salad ingredients. Most pickled beets are a bit soft and just vinegary. I don't like them a bit! However, Safie's makes a pickled beet in a jar. They are perfectly cooked so that they are not mushy. The vinegar and sugar ratio is perfect, and they have a very subtle spicy flavor. These pickled beets taste just like the best ones that you had as a child. You can buy them online, but they are sometimes sold at Costco.

So, pull up your big salad bowl and make yourself a skinny sandwich. I enjoy a quesadilla or pinwheels. It's a sandwich meal at its very best.

Related links: The Related Links below this article may be of interest to you. They contain ideas for sandwiches that go well with chef's salad.

When I mention stores or products by brand name, these are the ones that I use. I have not received free products from the manufacturers, nor have I been paid to mention the products or stores by name.

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