My Nana was a stickler for tearing salad greens into uniform, "bite-size" pieces. She despised floppy leaves that slopped dressing when maneuvering unwieldy ingredients into her mouth.
Enter the modern chopped salad: They are not only neater to eat because the ingredients are cut into a uniform size and shape, they also better distribute separate flavors into a cohesive forkful.
There is a national chain called Chop't offering long lists of customizable chopped salad greens, topping and dressings. Subway and trendy supermarkets offer a wide variety of chopped salads, although they can be pricey.
The Star's Italian chopped salad with pasta is a simple salad to prepare and one the whole family will enjoy.
Preparation tip: Chopped salads are a great way to practice your knife skills. If you own a crescent-shaped mezzaluna blade, this is a great time to use it, but any sharp knife will do.
ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD WITH PASTA
Makes: 8-10 servings
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup small shell pasta
2 heads of hearts of romaine, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 slices turkey bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola
Place the dressing ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender to process until smooth; set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and allow to cool. Place pasta in a salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine.
Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve immediately.
Per serving, based on 8: 140 calories (51% from fat), 8 g total fat (3 g saturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 214 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber.