Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper! Sometimes a giant salad loaded with veggies, meats and cheeses is the perfect kind of supper. Especially if you’re feeling creative but not in the mood to do much cooking. Making a big salad like this really gets the creative juices going; arranging the ingredients according to color and texture is so satisfying. And then you end up with a gorgeous bowl of salad that is worth presenting to a dinner party! Let’s get to it: Chef Salad Sunday Supper.
The only rules of a Chef Salad are that it have three kinds of meat and three kinds of cheese. Ultimately, the combination is up to you – the chef. Same for the veggies; go with what you like!
Let’s start with the dressing. I use a repurposed jar for this because this particular jar has measurements on the side. I like my salad dressing to be an almost equal ratio of oil to vinegar – a little heavier on the vinegar side. We have one large shallot, diced. One tablespoon of Dijon mustard, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
So, 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup (plus an extra splash) of vinegar goes into the jar with the mustard and shallots. About 5-7 cranks of fresh black pepper and a pinch of kosher salt. Screw on the lid and shake until combined. Set that aside. Be sure to shake it up again before using.
How to Build a Chef Salad
For a salad with a lot of ingredients, I like to start with the bed of lettuce, then arrange the salad ingredients like toppings, in columns. This way, you can scoop across the columns to get a little of everything when you serve.
In my wide shallow serving bowl, I have a mix of romaine lettuce and baby kale. A perfect template for our colorful Chef Salad. The easiest way to prep and assemble this big of a salad is to prep, assemble and clean up as you go. It saves counter space. Assemble all of your planned ingredients on the counter; then one by one, prep an ingredient; arrange that ingredient on the bed of lettuce in the bowl; put the remainder (if any) of that ingredient away, wipe your cutting surface and move on to the next ingredient.
Start with Veggies of Similar Color and Texture
Start with ingredients of similar color and texture and arrange them in columns, on opposite sides. This will make varying the colors easier as we go. I am starting with my cucumber, then my green beans.
Now for my pink ingredients, which are salami and ham. For the non-veggie ingredients (meat and cheese), I like to dice them into 1/4-inch cubes. One thing I don’t particularly like in chef salads I have had before is that cheese or meat cubes tend to be in 1-inch cubes, which totally overwhelms a bite. It’s up to you, but if you like a reasonable mix of flavors and textures in each bite, err on the side of smaller cubes.
Like the cucumbers and beans, arrange them in columns, apart from each other. Now for some cheese! I have sharp white cheddar and smoked Gouda to start. Arrange the similar colored cheeses in columns, apart from each other.
For the final meat and cheese, I have chicken breast and pepper jack. Then, I have some scallions that I have left in longer cuts – mostly because Alex likes them that way, but also they add more green and a little variety.
To finish things off, I have some cherry tomatoes to dot the top of the salad, adding bright red and orange color, like jewels. We also have croutons. I made these by toasting some cubed Ciabatta bread tossed in olive oil with salt, shallot and thyme. The final touch is some fresh dill scattered over the top.
And that’s it! Drizzle the dressing over individual servings and any remaining naked Chef Salad will keep really well, tightly covered in the fridge overnight.
This post is less of a recipe and more of a tutorial for making a very pretty, well-balanced, delicious Chef Salad. You can use your favorite meats, cheeses and veggies. You can also use whatever dressing you like best. So no printable recipe today, just take these ideas and run with them – get creative! For more salad ideas, check out my Salad Round Up. Thanks so much for stopping by today, take care and be well! xo Kelly
The best serving vessel for a gorgeous salad is a wide shallow serving bowl. I have a few and I use them not only for salads, but for serving all kinds of things from pasta to roast chicken. See several great options below.
Wide Shallow Serving Bowls
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Julie GreeneApril 10, 2022 at 10:29 am
This salad is beautiful, a real work of art. Thanks for this tutorial; I am a decent cook, but always fall short on the presentation. Your blog is helping me improve in that department.
Kelly DjalaliApril 10, 2022 at 11:09 am
Hi Julie, That extra presentation step is important – not always – but a lot of times, I feel even more satisfied with the success of a recipe when it’s presented beautifully. It adds to the enjoyment of eating. Thanks so much! Have a wonderful day, xo Kelly
TerryApril 10, 2022 at 10:59 am
Now that it’s getting warmer who doesn’t want a great light dinner salad. This is not only beautiful but looks delicious .. have a great Sunday ?❤️Mom
Kelly DjalaliApril 10, 2022 at 11:09 am
Thanks Mom! It’s hard to beat a beautiful salad! xo Kelly
MariApril 10, 2022 at 12:08 pm
I hate to be a copycat, but this is a beautiful salad. It is pleasing to the eye, and your stomach will thank you if you make it. This will help clear out the refrigerator too. We all have things we need to use before they go bad. My last big salad helped get rid of a vegetable party platter. It was a small one as platters go, but four pounds is a lot of veggies! The salad fed us for two evening meals, plus three breakfasts and a lunch for me. This one looks especially appealing now that we are on the mend from the latest pollen blitz. It is really hitting us hard this spring. Yesterday we were up early and went shopping for groceries. Normally we would do it in the late afternoon, but it was a beautiful day and the stores are deserted early in the morning. By deserted I mean 25-40 shoppers instead of. 100+. I think there were 10 plus us. We left shortly after 9, just as people began trickling in. Of course being outside meant more pollen, but without pollen, the apples, trees and flowers don’t grow. Next week is an expedition to Pennsylvania to a discount grocery store. They buy from grocery stores that are clearing things out, or they have things nearing the expiration date. Usually within a week or two, but you have to read labels. If they have a lot of good produce, we’re making salad when we get home! Happy Sunday and a wonderful week for Kelly, Alex, Terry, Dante and the ladies. I loved your fashion column at Beth’s blog, and I am obsessed with the green and white check shirt. I had one in high school that was blue and white, and I haven’t seen many since then that I liked. So now you can add model and fashion maven to the list now!
Kelly DjalaliApril 10, 2022 at 1:55 pm
Hi Mari, it sounds like you are having a lovely weekend, despite the pollen! Thank you so much for stopping by and for visiting my column on Style at a Certain Age! It’s a lot of fun to try new things! I am headed outside to do some yard cleanup, have a wonderful end to the weekend! xo Kelly
Pam watsonMay 5, 2022 at 8:56 pm
Love these salads
You are a great cook
Am planning to make them all
Kelly DjalaliMay 6, 2022 at 8:54 am
Thanks Pam! I am sure you will enjoy these salads. Have a wonderful weekend! xo Kelly