Kate Johnson: Clean out the fridge: make a chopped salad (recipe)

Kate Johnson says there are many variations to a chopped salad.

Kate Johnson says there are many variations to a chopped salad.
Courtesy Kate Johnson

Lately I have been absolutely hooked on chopped salads. I love how different they taste compared to the traditional salads of my childhood. Likewise, they are meatier and more satisfying to munch! I think if I were to open a restaurant I would call it “Chopped” and I would have nothing but chopped salads and protein on the menu!

Personally, I cannot get enough of purple cabbage and so most of my chopped salads are centered on this spicy/sweet vibrant veggie. Today I will share a recent “Mexican” chop with you, but I will also share some other ideas that I have tried or plan on trying down the road. As usual, there are as many potential variations based on ethnic eats, old time favorites or new food pairings that one could ever imagine.

Mexican Chopped Salad

Serves: 4

1/2 head purple cabbage

1/8 - 1/4 purple onion

Corn from two ears roasted on the cob (I do this quick and easy in my air fryer/roaster)

1/2 avocado

1 jalapeño pepper

1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

1 cup Cotija cheese crumbles

All ingredients are roughly chopped

Creamy Mexican:

1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt

1-2 tbs of your favorite hot sauce (my favorite is The Pepper Plant chunky Garlic Hot Pepper Sauce)

1 tbs lime juice

1 tbs finely chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients well

OR if you prefer a vinaigrette:

Mexican Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup avocado oil

2 tablespoons Hatch Chili Infused Olive oil (I purchased on a trip to a place that had an Olivelle store - you can substitute with some chopped pepper of your desire or leave it out)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

3 tablespoons Cotija cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

Shake it up well!

Just before serving you can break up and add some tortilla chips to this salad which takes it to a whole new level!

Serve this as a main dish on its own or with some added protein or as a side dish to a Mexican meal.

Other chop ideas (clean out the fridge!):


Red or green cabbage






Brussel sprouts (raw or roasted)

Red/Orange peppers

Peas (fresh blanched)

Egg plant (air fryer/roasted)

Roasted fingerling potatoes (air fryer/roasted)

Summer or winter squash (air fryer/roasted)




Pepper jack

Blue Cheese (Linda’s blue cheese dressing is TO-DIE-FOR on a chop!)



Roasted sausage

Smoked salmon

Chicken Thigh

Short Ribs

Tofu (air fried)


Dressing Flavorings:

Juice (lemon, lime, orange, blood orange…etc.)

Hot oil

Flavored vinegar

Flavored oil


Soy sauce

Rooster sauce

Sweet chili sauce



Olives (green, black or marinated)





Rice (regular or crispy pan fried)





You get the idea!

A recent favorite chopped munchy lunch:

Purple cabbage




Pickled ginger (pickled from last summer’s baby ginger purchase)

Smoked trout (from a recent fishing trip)


Mayo 2 tablespoons

Wasabi 1 teaspoon

Soy sauce 1-2 teaspoons

This tasted every bit as good as an expensive sushi bowl!

Kate Johnson is a long-time resident of Carson City. She is an avid gardener, cook, musician and lover of dogs.


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