Salad Wednesday’s – Perfect Italian Chopped Salad

Growing up, eating the perfect chopped salad could only be found at La Scala in Beverly Hills.  I would crave this salad and when I worked as a talent manager in the 80’s, one could find me at lunch time, sitting in one of their big red leather booths, at least once a week.  Other than The Palm, The Grill, Hugos(for breakfast), La Scala was my drug of choice!

It truly is one of the simpliest salads; finely chopped iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced julienne salami, thinly sliced provolone cheese, garbonzos, and one kalamata olive.  If you choose, you could add in sliced turkey, grilled chicken, tomatoes, or basil.  Dressing on the side of course (perfect for dipping their freshly baked bread).  Their salad dressing is distinct, like no other.

When a friend of mine visited from New York, I took her there for that salad.  She put me on a mission to recreate the dressing.  I tried and tried.  Then one day, I found it in the L.A. Times S.O.S. food section and tried it.  Tried it again, but it was bitter and just wasn’t right.  I gave up.  Recently, I revisited it after finding it on After several attempts, I think I have come up with something pretty darn close to the original.

I don’t chop my lettuce as well as they do, but my combo of sliced turkey, salami, provolone, garbonzo beans, kalamata olives, tomato and basil suits me just fine!

Susan’s version of the Perfect Chopped Salad


1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried mustard
1/8 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
10 grindings freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press
romaine lettuce
roasted turkey, sliced thin
italian salami, sliced thin
provolone cheese, sliced thin
garbonzo beans
kalamata olives
1 tomato, diced
5 basil leaves, thinly sliced


• in a large glass jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried basil, dried oregano, dried mustard, crushed red chili flakes, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic.
• secure tightly with a lid and shake it all up.
• put in the fridge until ready to use.
• assemble your salad.  this is merely my suggestions on what you should put in your chop.  be creative, add stuff, omit stuff.  the important element here is the dressing!
• the dressing can last in the fridge for 3 days.
p.s. this dressing is also a great marinade for fish and tofu!

The Urban Baker /

More Salad Ideas:
Baby Arugula Chopped Salad – Kalyn’s Kitchen
Classic Chopped Salad – Herbivoracious
Chopped Salad with Miso Dressing – Bitchin’ Camero
Grilled Radicchio Salad – Simply Recipes

Showing 17 comments
  • Reply

    Great salad Susan, I used to love salami as a kid and have not had it in years. Need to get me some 🙂

  • Reply

    Salads are so refreshing, especially when it’s hot out. I need to hear more about your talent manager days!

  • Brooke @ Food Woolf

    It’s all about the chopped salad. Seriously.

    • Susan

      Brooke, so true! Chop anything in bite sized little cubes or strips and one is all over it. Such a genius concept!

  • Fran

    Can never get enough of a good chopped salad and this is the most perfect time of year for one! Ok, anytime is the most perfect time of year for one. 🙂

  • Kim

    Oh wow! This salad is really full of flavors. It’s so difficult to recreate a recipe sometimes… This salad sounds like the perfect lunch meal for me and I will definitly try this one day!

  • Amanda

    This is so beautiful and oh my gosh does it sound good!!! You have the greatest recipes girl. I love coming here!

  • Lucy Lean

    Love chopped salad – had it today at the Ivy. My fav around town is the Nancy’s Chopped Salad at Mozza (now there’s a surprise!) – she uses loads of dried oregano in her salad…

  • Reply

    Ha! I’ve always wanted to know why is Scala the industry favorite? My friend used to work in the movie industry and everyone went there too.

  • Georgia Pellegrini

    This does indeed look like the perfect chopped salad : ) I’d eat a salad over anything else any day!

  • Nancy@acommunaltable

    This could truly be addictive – in a good way of course!!! Isn’t it fun when you truly nail a recipe??
    It sounds like you definitely did with this one!

  • Barb

    You have created THE BEST SALAD DRESSING!!!! I made a chopped salad tonight, roughly based on your recipe, but made the dressing exactly as written and it was delish! One of these days I may make a legit chopped salad, but in the meantime, I’ll just use my new favorite dressing recipe …many, many thanks!

    • Susan

      Hi Barb! So glad you liked it. Actually, this is my go to staple dressing and is always in the fridge. Just a little hint, cut up some avocado, tomatoes, and red onion and pour a little of this over it! It will change your life!

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