The Ultimate Chopped Salad

Like I posted last Friday, as the weather gets warmer, I crave lighter, fresher dinners.  And since we spend several nights a week at the baseball field, or at church, or on the soccer field, not only do I want something light and fresh, but also quick and easy!  And it’s hard to get easier than a nice, big NO-COOK salad.  For those nights that we either have very little time between dinner time and leaving for the ball fields or I just don’t want to put in the full cooking effort (or both!) a big chopped salad is perfect.  A bunch of greens, some protein, and a selection of veggies, nuts, fruits, and other accouterments that any Ruby Tuesday’s would be proud of fits the bill.  Here’s our very informal recipe to our favorite Ultimate Chopped Salad:

Diced Grilled Chicken (I use rotisserie chicken, the pre-cooked packets in the deli section, or make a big batch at the beginning of the week and save it)
Cherry Tomatoes
Red Onion
Sunflower Seeds
Hard-Boiled Egg
Blue Cheese
Ranch AND Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressings

The best part about these salads is that you can sub in all your favorite ingredients!  Sub in shrimp or steak for the chicken, cheddar for the blue cheese, walnuts for the sunflower seeds.  Add more veggies (or less)!  The options are truly endless, and I think the salad becomes a real meal the more you pile on.  I think the key is chopping everything close to the same size so that you can mix it all together and get a new bite everytime.  This is one of the kids’ favorite

This is one of the kids’ favorite meals, because I typically fill their bowls with lettuce and chicken, and then let them choose which toppings they want out of our at-home salad bar (Ben chooses everything, Gracie gets all the veggies, and Brantley chooses practically nothing, but always cheese).  I fill up a bunch of little bowls with all the salad additions and we go down the line, buffet-style.  Mom wins since they are at least getting a healthy meal, and the kids win since they love making their own choices.  100% of the time, they eat the whole thing!

I hope you’ll take our basic recipe and make it yours!  Let me know if you try it, and what your family’s perfect chopped salad combination is!

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