Copycat Portillo's Chopped Salad | Ambitious Kitchen

Copycat Portillo’s Chopped Salad | Ambitious Kitchen

9 mins read

Before September hits and we all start dreaming about cozy soups and all of the pumpkin recipes, I had to share a brand new chopped salad recipe that truly checks all of the boxes.

We shared a Reel of this delicious, crave-able salad last summer and it’s a little ode to Chicago. Say hello to the best-ever copycat Portillo’s chopped salad recipe. It’s crunchy, savory, super flavorful, and such a fun pasta salad to meal prep for lunch or whip up for a BBQ.

There are tons of easy ways to customize this salad and it’s the perfect clean-out-the-fridge meal for busy weeks. Hold onto summer with your new fav salad recipe!

Wait, what is Portillo’s?

Fellow Chicagoans will recognize this famous fast-casual restaurant that’s been serving up Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, shakes, and more since 1963. One of the most popular things on the menu besides the sandwiches is their loaded chopped salad. This baby is HUGE and makes the perfect side or main when you’re there, so you know I had to re-create it for the blog.

portillo's chopped salad unmixed in a bowl

Everything you’ll need to make the Portillo’s chopped salad at home

As I mentioned, this is a loaded chopped salad filled with tons of delicious, crunchy, savory ingredients. Everything gets tossed in their house dressing, which I recreated with a light vinaigrette. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bacon: we’re starting off on a savory note with crispy chopped bacon. Learn how to cook bacon in the oven here! You can also use turkey bacon for a lighter version.
  • Pasta: the Portillo’s chopped salad has cute ditalini pasta, which is what I used as well! Feel free to use any short pasta shape that you like.
  • Vegetables: we’re gettin’ crunchy and bright with romaine lettuce, red cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and green onion.
  • Chicken: get a delicious boost of protein from diced chicken breast.
  • Cheese: gorgonzola cheese crumbles bring an extra flavor boost to the salad.
  • For the dressing: the AK “house” vinaigrette is made with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, a little maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, salt & pepper.

pouring dressing onto a copycat portillo's chopped salad

Customize your salad

I love a good chopped salad because it’s super easy to customize with what you have on hand. Truly a clean-out-the-fridge meal. Here are some easy ways to make it your own:

  • Go vegetarian: simply omit the chicken and bacon and add in a can of chickpeas.
  • Keep it gluten free: use your favorite gluten free pasta shape.
  • Choose your cheese: to keep it dairy free feel free to omit the cheese, otherwise feta, shaved parmesan, or even cubed cheddar cheese or provolone would be perfect.
  • Pick your veggies: you can also use more of one veggie than another, or throw in whatever you have in your fridge like cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, avocado, or even shredded brussels sprouts.

portillo's chopped salad in a bowl

Easy ways to cook your chicken

This copycat Portillo’s chopped salad is the perfect way to use up leftover chicken (like a rotisserie chicken!), otherwise, check out all of our easy ways to cook chicken here to add it to the salad.

portillo's chopped salad on a platter

Can I make it ahead of time?

Absolutely! Feel free to make the full salad without the dressing 1-2 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to toss it and serve.

Otherwise, I’d recommend chopping up all of your veggies and cooking your chicken, then storing them separately in the fridge before assembling.

copycat portillo's chopped salad on a platter

Storing tips

Store any leftover chopped salad in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. If you’re meal prepping, I recommend leaving off the dressing until you’re ready to serve so the lettuces don’t get soggy.

copycat portillo's chopped salad on a platter and in a bowl

More salad recipes you’ll love

Get all of my salad recipes here!

I hope you love this copycat Portillo’s chopped salad recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Copycat Portillo’s Chopped Salad

portillo's chopped salad on a platter

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Serves6 servings

Enjoy Portillo’s right at home with the perfect copycat Portillo’s chopped salad recipe! This iconic salad is filled with textures and flavors from crunchy veggies, savory bacon and gorgonzola cheese, juicy chicken, and your fav pasta. It’s the perfect weekday lunch or side dish for your next party or BBQ!

Ingredients

  • For the salad:
  • 8 ounces bacon
  • 4 ounces dry ditalini pasta (or your favorite gluten free short pasta)
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
  • 2 medium-size vine-ripe tomatoes, seeds removed & chopped (or sub 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ cup diced green onion
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  • cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles (or blue cheese crumbles)
  • For the dressing:
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Make the bacon: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon in a single layer on the prepared pan and place in a cold oven, then preheat the oven to 425°F and bake until the bacon has reached your desired level of crispiness, 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon). Transfer bacon to a plate-lined with paper towels and blot excess grease with a paper towel. Transfer to a cutting board and chop bacon into bite-sized pieces.

  • While the bacon is cooking: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then stir in the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package, then drain and set aside to cool.

  • Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl or a platter: romaine lettuce, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, pasta, chicken, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese.

  • Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar or a small bowl: olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Shake in the jar or whisk well in the bowl to emulsify.

  • Pour the dressing all over the salad and toss to combine. Enjoy! Salad will last 2-3 days in the fridge; if you’re meal prepping, I recommend leaving off the dressing until you’re ready to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (based on 6)Calories: 504kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 21.2gFat: 36.6gSaturated Fat: 10.7gFiber: 2.3gSugar: 5.3g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats


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