Portillo’s Chopped Salad
From Christine Trevino
It would be an understatement to say that most Chicago area residents have “had” Portillo’s. Around here, we grow up on Portillo’s hot dogs, beefs and burgers. And a high school graduation party without their famous catering – mostaccioli, chopped salad and chocolate cake, barely counts as a celebration. Heck, minutes after we were pronounced husband and wife, John and I took our whole bridal party out for pre-reception Portillo’s hot dogs…and then we catered it for our post-wedding brunch!
Yeah, it would be an understatement to say we like Portillo’s around here. So when we were trying to pick a salad to serve at our 4th of July BBQ, we knew that a knockoff of the iconic Portillo’s Chopped Salad would be a huge hit. That is, of course, if we could nail the recipe. After a fair bit of research (of the internet variety, as well as a few extra visits to Portillo’s for inspiration), we decided on this version. The verdict – dead on! The beauty of this salad is that it keeps pretty well in the fridge for a few days, as long as you hold off on adding any dressing. Plus, if you want to make it a complete meal you can add cubed up chicken breasts, which is how it’s served at the restaurant.
- 8 oz dry ditalini pasta (about 4 cups cooked)
- 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 3 cups red cabbage, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup green onions, green and white parts, diced
- 1 lb bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
- 5 oz Gorgonzola cheese (we cheated and used feta because John’s not big on moldy cheeses)
- salad dressing, to taste (we cheated and picked up the actual dressing – a sweet, creamy Italian – from Portillo’s for all of $3, but the funny thing is, usually when we actually buy the salad we request packets of Hellman’s honey mustard – moral of the story, any dressing works well with this fabulous salad)
- Cook ditalini pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and shake very dry.
- Combine cooled, dry pasta, romaine, iceberg, cabbage, tomato, green onion, bacon, and Gorgonzola in a large salad bowl. Toss until well combined.
- Serve with dressing on the side, or toss dressing with the whole salad (not recommended, because it will wilt fast with dressing on).