If you like a good chopped salad, you’ll love this easy Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad! Serve it with my Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing for a chopped salad that’s filled with the fresh flavors of lemon and parsley and includes lots of colorful veggies.
The past few months I’ve been delving more into making chopped salads for our meals instead of my usual tossed salad. I mean, why not? They’re delicious and easy to make. Just chop, slice, or dice your ingredients into bite-sized pieces, throw them all together, and you’re done!
Chopped salads are fun to eat too! With a tossed salad, I often find myself biting into a forkful of lettuce or a forkful of tomatoes or peppers or cucumbers. But with a chopped salad, you’re more likely to get a variety of flavors and textures with each bite. That’s because all the ingredients are cut smaller and it’s easy to get more than one item on your fork. And honestly, that makes eating a salad a true enjoyment. Lots of flavor, lots of color, and lots of texture.
What’s more is that chopped salads are a great way to expand your vegetable and salad greens repertoire. How’s that you ask? Think about it. It’s easier to add veggies you’re not keen on, or unfamiliar with, when the bites are small and mixed with other greens and veggies that you do like! Chopped salads easily fit that bill.
For example. . . maybe you’re not a big fan of kale. After all, kale can have a bit of a bitter aftertaste. But when it’s chopped small and mixed with other greens and vegetables, you don’t really notice that. What you do get though, is more variety and nutrition. And it doesn’t have to be kale. Maybe it’s cauliflower or radishes or zucchini you’re not fond of. But you know they have a lot to offer nutritionally. Just cut them up small and add to your chopped salad. More variety leads to more balance and nutrients in your diet, and that leads to a healthier you!
How about this Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad, what makes it a healthy choice? One word comes to mind – variety. I include eight different veggies, greens, or fresh herbs, along with some kalamata olives and gorgonzola cheese to add a bit of healthy fats and protein. And when you have variety, you naturally get a wider array of nutrients into your body. Trust me, your body will thank you for that!
How do I make a Mediterranean Chopped Salad?
To make this chopped salad, you’ll need to gather the ingredients, find a sharp knife, put out a good-sized cutting board, get a colander ready, and have a large bowl to toss everything into.
You’ll need to gather the following ingredients:
- Romaine lettuce – I tend to use the hearts, but if you have a whole head that will work too. This is the foundation of the salad and boy is it a healthy one! Romaine is packed with Vitamins A and K, and is also a good source of folate.
- Red or purple kale – I love the color this kale brings to the salad. It’s a deep reddish purple and looks beautiful against the green of the romaine lettuce. Plus it’s a powerhouse nutritionally, known for its provision of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as manganese, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6.
- Cucumbers – I like using the baby cucumbers you can find these days in the grocery store. They don’t have many seeds and they’re super easy to clean, chop, and toss into the salad. Cucumbers offer good amounts of vitamins C and K as well as potassium.
- Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes are my favorite in this chopped salad. Take your pick of colors though. These days you can find red orange, purple and yellow grape tomatoes, any of which will taste and look delicious! And tomatoes are a great source of fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Red peppers – You can really use any color pepper you like, I just prefer the sweet red bells for their flavor and color. They’re also high in fiber, vitamins A, C, E, B6, and folate.
- Red onion – Red onion has the perfect flavor to complement the other ingredients in this salad. Nutritionally, onions are also a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, and vitamins C and B6.
- Zucchini – Zucchini plays nicely with the rest of the ingredients and brings everything together visually, adding a pop of brightness. It also supplies a good amount of fiber, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins C, K, and B6.
- Parsley – It’s pretty easy to find fresh parsley at the grocery store, so if you can, go with fresh. I love the smell it gives off as you chop it. And did you know parsley is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K?
- Kalamata olives – While you can use any kind of olive in this salad, my favorite is Kalamata olives. Their distinct flavor adds a nice touch to the salad. Plus, they provide a good source of mono-unsaturated fats – important for heart health. If you’re watching your sodium, however, be aware that any kind of olive can be high in sodium.
- Gorgonzola cheese – Gorgonzola cheese is my go-to cheese for this chopped salad. It’s creamy, tangy, and has just enough salty bite in it to complement the other flavors. Of course, use any cheese you like or none at all if that’s your preference!
Choose a good, sharp knife and get ready to chop
My favorite to use is a nice sized, sharp chef’s knife. While you could use a paring knife, a chef’s knife will make your work a ton easier. I like this one from Chicago Cutlery. It makes chopping everything into bite-sized pieces much easier.
How do I make this a main dish salad?
To make this a main dish salad, simply add another good source of protein – about 2 ounces per person. That could look like any of the following:
- Chick peas
Can I add other vegetables to this chopped salad or leave some out?
You can add any veggies you like or take out the ones you don’t like! Remember variety is key. These are just some of my favorites, and ones often found in Mediterranean style salads.
What should I use for the dressing?
My favorite dressing for this salad is this Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing. It’s easy to make, and melds perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. You can find the recipe here. Ready to get chopping? See the recipe below!
Meditrranean-Style Chopped Salad
- 4 c chopped Romaine lettuce
- 1 c chopped red or purple kale
- 2 each mini cucumbers, diced
- 48 each grape tomatoes, halved about 2 cups
- 1 each red pepper, diced
- 1/2 c diced red onion
- 1/2 c diced zucchini
- 1/2 c Kalamata olives, whole
- 4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- Clean and prep all ingredients above as directed.
- Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl except the cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, toss with Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing or your own favorite dressing.
- Sprinkle the gorgonzola cheese on top of the salad right before serving.