Does anyone know the origin of the chopped salad? I’m guessing some fancy restaurant somewhere came up with the idea, which was then picked up and glorified by California Pizza Kitchen. Strange that I think of CPK more for their chopped salads than their pizzas… Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t eat a salad any other way now– tons of interesting ingredients, everything chopped into tiny pieces, tossed with a very complementary themed dressing, so that each and every single bite is full of every flavor. So. Yum.
I think a lot of people still think of “salad” as a bowl of iceberg (or maybe romaine) lettuce with some sliced cucumbers and tomato, and a glob of bottled dressing on the top. If that’s you, don’t worry; let’s go on an adventure! I’ll be your guide, because the weather’s getting warmer and I make a lot of interesting chopped dinner salads.
You’ll learn that salads aren’t just for side dishes any more. Oh, no, they’re quite a complete and filling meal with every food group under the sun, and they have the ability to transport you to another region or country in the matter of a bite. Craving a quick trip to the southwest? How about Thailand, or the Mediterranean? Oh yeah, there’s a chopped salad for that.
I was thinking about Thai Chopped Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing the other day, but not really. So I made this version instead. Shredded Napa cabbage instead of lettuce. Baked sesame tofu, which is completely delicious. Edamame, which makes you feel like a really exotic eater, even though it’s just a bean in the freezer section, and red quinoa, because I know Pinners love quinoa, especially if it’s red.
Toss it all in a deliciously creamy and nutty tahini based dressing (or you could use peanut butter, but why not take a leap?). Quick and easy dinner salad, with leftovers for lunch. Bonus, because of the tofu, edamame and quinoa, it’s super protein packed and fills you up with happy, healthy stuff.
This looks like a long ingredients list, but it’s really so easy. And – mostly the same ingredients are used in the tofu marinade and the dressing. You only need about 1 cup of uncooked quinoa (about 2 1/2-3 cups cooked) but make more and freeze the extra for a later meal. Make the quinoa, tofu and dressing ahead of time and just assemble it when you’re ready to eat.
What’s your favorite chopped salad? Do you make it at home, or just eat it at CPK?
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