Deconstructing Maggiano’s Chopped Salad
Maggiano’s Chopped Salad is a familiar take on a classic chopped salad. The lettuce is chopped and coated with dressing, then the add-in ingredients are chopped and added on top. The add-ins include bacon, bleu cheese, tomato, green onions, and avocado to top it off. The dressing gets a nice tang from white and red wine vinegar, and mixing the dressing into the lettuce ensures every bite of the salad is dressed.
The most complicated part of deconstructing this salad is the dressing. Most restaurants closely guard their house dressing recipe, and Maggiano’s is no different. They don’t even discuss the ingredients for it on their menu page. As I mentioned, the flavor I noticed most while eating was white wine vinegar, so I’ve made that the star of my copycat recipe.
If you’ve ever been to Europe, or read about European salad traditions, salads are usually dressed with a simple combination of olive oil and vinegar, often at the table by the person eating it. This tradition seems to be the root of most Italian dressings, which usually have olive oil and vinegar as the base. Most restaurants in the US additionally add some sugar, both to mute the vinegar’s tang, plus garlic and select Italian seasonings for added flavor. In my recipe, I have added sugar, minced garlic, and dried oregano for this purpose. If you don’t have dried oregano, you can substitute it for Italian seasoning, dried parsley, or dried thyme.
A tip on salad dressing
I strongly recommend using a ball jar or other water tight container to shake the salad dressing ingredients to combine. Oil and vinegar do not want to mix with each other, but shaking helps to force them together. Shaking the dressing will separate the oil throughout and the combination will look almost creamy. While you could stir or whisk the ingredients to combine also, shaking will force the combination together faster and more reliably.
How to serve Copycat Maggiano’s Chopped Salad
This recipe serves 2 as an appetizer or side dish, or it could serve 1 as an entree. If you are serving this for 2, I recommend layering all of the ingredients except the avocado in a serving dish and using salad tongs to combine. Then, once you’ve divided the salad between 2 bowls, add your avocado on top for a nice presentation.
Can I meal prep Copycat Maggiano’s Chopped Salad?
Yes! But some ingredients require special treatment. You can prepare a mix of bacon, bleu cheese, and tomatoes and store them in individual serving containers. The dressing can also be prepared ahead of time, just shake it to re-combine any ingredients that separate. However, you will be best off chopping the lettuce and avocado daily, as both have a tendency to brown within a few hours of chopping.
Other great Copycat Maggiano’s Recipes
If you love Maggiano’s as much as I do, you may be wondering, how can I turn my Copycat Maggiano’s Chopped Salad into a complete meal? You can serve it as an appetizer to any of my other copycat Maggiano’s recipes!
How to make Copycat Maggiano's Chopped Salad
Copycat Maggiano's Chopped Salad
- 2.5 tbsp White wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
- 1 tbsp Water
- Pinch of salt
- 3 oz Bacon
- 1/2 cup Bleu cheese
- 1 Avocado, sliced
- 1 Roma tomato, diced or sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 head Iceberg lettuce
- Sliced green onions Optional
- To prepare the dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a sealable container, like a small ball jar, and shake to combine.
- Fry the bacon on medium-high heat until crispy. Chop into bite size pieces.
- Add the diced lettuce to a medium size bowl or serving dish, large enough to hold all of the lettuce with some extra room. Pour all of the dressing over the lettuce and stir to combine. I used a fork, but salad tongs will work well too.
- Pile the bacon in a circle in the middle of the salad. In a circle around the bacon, add the diced tomato or sliced cherry tomatoes. In a final circle around the tomatoes, add the bleu cheese crumbles. Finally, lay the sliced avocado on top of the bacon.
- Serve as is for an entree, or use salad tongs to combine all the ingredients and serve in individual sized bowls.