Chopped Salad, Three Ways

By Kate Riley August 11, 2015

Last year I vowed to change the way I eat. 20 pounds had crept up on me and I knew a lot of that came from lazy eating habits. Instead of picking a specific diet I simply decided to eat clean instead. I do not obsessively count calories, I hate feeling hungry so I never ever skip meals, but I do watch pretty carefully what I eat each day and for me the main rule is the food has to be as close to natural as possible. I won’t give up chocolate and red wine but both clean eating and consistent exercise has given me more energy and I’ve stuck with it for a year, dropped the weight, and I’m feeling better than ever.

With my clean eating manifesto comes a lot of salads. A LOT. And like with exercise you can totally plateau and become extremely bored. Lettuce, let’s face it, you’re drab.

good grips salad chopperWhen it comes to salads it’s all about the toppings but I was even growing bored with my go-to favorites, so last week I switched things up with a kitchen gadget that’s helping me love salads again.

I’ve been to a few restaurants and even Subway that offer a chopped salad and I wanted to be able to do it myself at home so I ordered this bowl and chopper combo. I’m hooked!


I love a basic cobb. Butter lettuce, BACON, blue cheese, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado AMEN, and cooked turkey or chicken.

chopped cobb salad ingredients

This tool is cool, you layer the bigger tougher ingredients on top of the lettuce and chop away.

chopping tool




Next, add the more delicate or softer ingredients.

more delicate

Drizzle your dressing (blue cheese or ranch) and toss.

drizzle dresing 3

A classic chopped cobb salad, hello lunch.

classic cobb

So instead of stabbing the salad with your fork it’s more like scooping and that small difference makes the salad taste better in my opinion. More little morsels in each bite. (That plate is vintage Tar-jay, seen here in 2011).

This may be obvious for many of you but do you know the easiest way to peel an avocado? I swear I didn’t know this until a year ago when my brother Nate the amazing cook showed me because he felt sorry for me watching me do it wrong. It was a light bulb moment and also embarrassing since I’ve lived in California all my life where avocados are like condiments, they’re served with practically everything.  #spoiledinsunnyCA

Anyway it’s simple, cut the avocado in half, remove the pit by stabbing with bottom of knife blade in a quick motion (or carefully spooning out). Place each half upside down on a cutting board, slice it down the middle, then peel back the skin. Slice thinly and serve.

how to peel an avocado


The Southwest BBQ Ranch salad is another version I love to make, sooo tasty. Combine romaine lettuce, black olives, cilantro, shredded cheese, chicken, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and ½ ranch and ½ BBQ sauce for dressing. Sometimes I add black beans too.

southwest bbq ranch salad

drizzle dressing


southwest bbq ranch chopped salad

Or go Greek with this medley: butter lettuce, crumbled feta, croutons, kalamata olives, heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, cooked chicken, and cucumber.

greek chopped salad ingredients

Add a squeeze of lemon, a dash of oregano, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and EVOO.

squeeze of lemon

This is a tangy salad because of the feta cheese, kalamata olives, and vinaigrette. You could skip the chicken and serve this alongside lamp chops, wow that would be really yummy.

chopped greek salad

I’m going to keep mixing it up to keep things interesting: roasted beets and heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese. Apple and cranberry and walnut and blue cheese, etc. What about you? Any kitchen gadgets or salad recipes you’re loving lately?


  1. We have this bowl and chopper and LOVE it! I actually use a spoon to eat my salad now. LOL! THe only issue is that if you make a chopped salad for two people, you both better like all the ingredients. No picking out an offending cucumber or olive. :)

  2. In addition to black beans, you can add in chickpeas and/or edamame for additional protein. I love creamy navy beans too for a different texture. Albacore tuna and baked salmon are delicious as well.

  3. I love, love, love chop salads but always hated having to chop every ingredient up individually. What a great find! It’s going on my next amazon order.

  4. A giant salad is definitely one of my faves, especially during the summer. I do a version with roast chicken from the store (and use any leftover meat for more salads/burritos later in the week), a little bit of taco seasoning, and I make the dressing by combining ranch, salsa, some lime juice and cilantro chopped fine. A few bits of tortilla chips make it even better. Thanks for the avocado tip, I always use a big spoon but this looks way easier! :)

  5. So happy that you thought to post this, such great ideas! I really enjoyed reading this and plan to get the bowl and chopper asap!

  6. You don’t need to peel an avocado at all – just remove the stone and slice with a butter knife right in the skin. Then squeeze the slices out. Done! If you want absolutely perfect slices then your brother’s way might be better, but if you want the avo out of the skin and into the bowl, do my way!

  7. How timely! I was just telling my husband yesterday, “There comes a time in every woman’s life where she needs to eat salad for lunch. At least there does for this woman.” These salads all sound amazing!

    Also, I lol’ed at “vintage Tar-jay.”

  8. We also have this salad bowl and chopper gizmo. I LOVE it. I use it often and it also is handy for making fillings for wraps. And thanks for posting some salad ideas, I’ve been in a salad rut lately.

  9. I love to cook and also love a good gadget – as long as it truly works well doing something that I find difficult or tedious to do!! Here are my two current faves of the last two years!!

    I am loving this strawberry huller:

    AND this wonderful little gadget for getting the pit out of bing cherries:

    I love your blog, Kate! I’ve made so many of your projects and am always inspired by your can-do attitude and your heart for helping others!


  10. I am not crazy for chopped salads but if this tool is encouraging you to eat more salads, that’s great! My favorite salad topping is banana peppers. They add a nice bite to my salads. :-)

  11. Good for you!! Keep it up :)

    Those look awesome and that looks like such a cool tool, I would eat salads even more if I used that :) So much nicer to spoon instead of stab.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  12. OK. I read this and just bought one! My husband has lots of pre-prepared unappetising salad bowls for lunch but I could make us both a healthy and varied one now. Well timed blog post, I was just thinking about how I could eat better!! Thank you!

  13. All faves, but I don’t chop as small….I think I might eat faster if I did! Suggest Niçoise style: add a can of tuna to the olives/egg/red onion/tomato. I also am still on the kale kick. I chop freshly washed kale and keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, with some olive oil and a light splash of sesame oil. Kale can be tough and generally unpleasant, but I’ve found the oil softens it up. I grab a handful each day I take my lunch to work, all the chopped ingredients on top and it’s done. The juices from the various ingredients flavor the salad, I’ve gotten away from high fat, sugar-loaded bottled dressings and haven’t missed them.

  14. Chopped salads are my favorite! I had no idea you could buy something like this!! Thank you for sharing! Putting this on my Christmas list!!

  15. Great suggestions!! The key to ANY great salad is to mix it with the dressing in a big bowl and then serve, I hate when I’m at a restaurant and the salad isn’t tossed!! You use much less dressing this way and it’s just better.

  16. Thank you so much for this idea. I saved this email until I had to time to sit down and write it down.

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