Chef salad is an easy, healthy and delicious way to enjoy leftover meat and vegetables. You are the chef and can make it any way you like!
What is a Chef Salad?
A Chef Salad (or Chef’s Salad) got it’s name from restaurant chefs throwing together a salad from whatever was available in the kitchen. No one knows for certain which restaurant the first recipe originated in, but it is speculated that it was at the Ritz Carlton in New York. It usually consisted of lettuce, cheeses, deli meats, hard boiled eggs, and vegetables.
Chef Salad vs. Cobb Salad
Chef salad and cobb salad are very similar. In fact, some might argue the only difference is the addition one avocado. A classic chef salad recipe doesn’t usually include avocado. It is also argued that chef’s salads also shouldn’t include tomatoes. Cobb salads may have more intense flavors like blue cheese and bitter greens.
Chef salad ingredients can vary greatly depending on who is making the salad. There is no one perfect way to make it. The easiest thing to do is just cobble up whatever ingredients you have, whether it be sandwich toppings or chicken dinner leftovers, and add it to a bed of lettuce. All the ingredients are cut into bite-sized pieces for easier eating with a fork. Here are some common toppings:
Lettuce: Romaine, iceberg lettuce, or any kind of green leaf lettuce will work great
Meat/Protein: Ham, turkey, roast beef, bacon, chicken (rotisserie, grilled, or fried), and/or hard boiled egg
Cheese: cheddar, Swiss, or pepper Jack
Vegetables: Cucumber, cherry or grape tomatoes, carrots, and/or peas
What Dressing is Best?
You can put any kind of dressing you like on a chef salad. From oil-based dressings to creamy dressings. You really can’t go wrong. Here are some common dressings:
- Ranch dressing
- Blue cheese
- Russian dressing (or thousand island dressing)
- Honey mustard
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- French dressing
- Oil and vinegar
What to Serve with Chef Salad
Chef salad can be an entire meal on its own. On restaurant menus it usually is served as an entree rather than a side salad. However, if you want to serve it as a side salad, you can serve it alongside chicken, steak, fish, or as a co-entree (is that a thing?) with your favorite soup!
More Salad Recipes
How to Make a Chef Salad
- 2 cups leafy romaine lettuce (coarsely cut or chopped)
- 1/3 cup chopped deli ham
- 1/3 cup chopped deli turkey
- 2 slices cooked bacon
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (cubed)
- 1/4 cup Swiss cheese (cubed)
- 1/3 cup cucumber (chopped or sliced)
- 6-7 cherry tomatoes
- 1 hard boiled egg (prepared and sliced)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)
- 4 tablespoons ranch dressing (or your favorite dressing)
- Prepare ham, cheese, and vegetables by chopping into cubes or bite-sized slices.
- Place lettuce in a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.
- Serve with ranch dressing or your favorite salad dressing.