Chicken and Bacon Chopped Salad

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One of the best places I find inspiration for developing new recipes and dishes is, of course, other people’s food.  In particular, I love to take a restaurant dish that is really popular and make it my own.  Sometimes I try to mimic the restaurant version, while other times, I like to make my own spin of the restaurant version.  In the case of this salad, I’m mimicking the original chopped salad, created by Portillo’s.  I don’t know that Portillo’s actually  created the chopped salad, but theirs is the best, so I like to give them credit.  Anyways, I’ve come up with a pretty good version of my own, with a few twists, such as mozzarella cheese, instead of the traditional Gorgonzola.  This salad pairs great with some soup for a satisfying and healthy weeknight dinner.  Leftovers of the salad are great for work the next day too!

Diced red onions.  Take the bite out of them by letting them soak in some ice water for 10 - 15 minutes.

Diced red onions. Take the bite out of them by letting them soak in some ice water for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Chicken breast seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Chicken breast seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Gotta have bacon...

Gotta have bacon…

Italian Chopped SaladChopped Chicken, Bacon and Noodle Salad

Chicken and Bacon Chopped Salad

Chicken and Bacon Chopped Salad

Chicken and Bacon Chopped Salad

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4 – 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Recipe type: Appetizer, Entree

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • ¾ cup dry Ditalini pasta
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • ¼ head of red cabbage, chopped
  • 4 ounces (half of an 8 ounce block) of mozzarella cheese, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ small red onion, diced
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Place bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan. Put into a cold oven and turn oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes until bacon is crispy and browned. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a foil lined dish and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  3. When oven is pre-heated and up to 400 degrees, add chicken breasts. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes until cooked throughout. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When chicken is cool, chop into bite size pieces.
  4. While chicken cooks, prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and spray with some cooking spray. Toss and set aside to cool.
  5. For the dressing: Whisk sugar, vinegar and water in a medium size bowl until sugar has dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, except vegetable oil. Add mixture to a blender and blend on low. Slowly drizzle in vegetable oil until an emulsion forms. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
  6. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together. Add dressing a few tablespoons at a time and toss well. Continue to add dressing as desired.

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