Portillo’s Chopped Salad

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Portillo’s Chopped Salad is brimming with lettuce, cabbage, tender pasta, vegetables, and plenty of bacon, all coated in a delectable creamy balsamic dressing, with a perfect finishing touch of gorgonzola cheese!

Loving pasta in your salad? Give this BLT Pasta SaladAsian Pasta Salad, or this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad a try!

A vibrant bowl of Portillo's Chopped Salad with two serving spoons.

Portillo’s Chopped Salad

Portillo’s, with locations across the U.S. (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and California), is a renowned dining spot. Their chopped salad, a long-standing menu favorite since 1990, has gained immense popularity on the internet. After seeing it for years, I finally decided to give it a try.

This salad has a delicious blend of sweet and savory flavors and an abundance of textures. It has quickly become a family favorite, perfect for potlucks and BBQ gatherings. While my “copycat” version differs slightly from the original, we prefer this one, especially when it comes to the dressing. Portillo’s Chopped Salad traditionally features a sweet Italian vinaigrette, but my recipe incorporates Creamy Balsamic Dressing, currently my preferred dressing choice, which I’ve been eager to use in a pasta salad.

Prepping lettuce and cabbage, making dressing, cooking and draining pasta, adding toppings, and pouring dressing.

Ingredients In Portillo’s Chopped Salad

  • Uncooked Ditalini Pasta: Adds texture and heartiness to the salad.
  • Cooked and Crumbled Bacon: Provides a savory, salty richness to the salad.
  • Rotisserie Chicken (or Grilled Chicken): Adds protein and a savory meaty taste.
  • Chopped Lettuce (Romaine and Iceberg): Forms the salad base, offering freshness and crunch.
  • Chopped Red Cabbage: Adds color, texture, and a mild peppery flavor.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Infuse sweetness and juiciness into the salad.
  • Thinly Sliced Green Onions: Offer a mild, zesty kick.
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese: Provides a creamy, tangy richness to the salad’s flavor profile. Read more about the flavor of Gorgonzola cheese here.
  • Creamy Balsamic Dressing: A flavorful combination of honey-vanilla Greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, pure maple syrup, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper, offering a sweet, tangy, and savory profile that elevates the salad’s taste.

How To Make Portillo’s Chopped Salad

  1. Dressing: Blend all dressing ingredients until creamy and emulsified. Transfer the dressing to a mason jar and refrigerate. Shake the dressing before using.
  2. Cook Pasta: Cook pasta until al dente, generously salting the water. Drain, cool, and toss with a few tablespoons of dressing.
  3. Bacon and Chicken: Cook bacon, then chop it coarsely. Dice rotisserie or grilled chicken into small pieces.
  4. Salad Assembly: In a large bowl, combine lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, and green onions. Add pasta, chopped bacon, chopped chicken, and gorgonzola cheese. Dress with the prepared dressing (add to taste) and toss.

VARIATIONS

You can swap out Gorgonzola cheese with options like blue cheese, feta, goat cheese, cream cheese, or mozzarella, depending on what you like. Just pick the one that fits your taste, and adjust the amount to match the flavor and creaminess you want in your recipe.

The dressed dish on a platter ready to be enjoyed.

STORAGE

Salad Storage

  • Portillo’s Chopped Salad doesn’t store well when dressed; the dressing wilts the lettuce and makes the bacon soggy.
  • To make the salad in advance, store the salad, bacon, cheese, and dressing separately. Combine them just before serving and dress only what will be eaten immediately.
  • If you make the dressing in advance and it clumps or separates in the fridge, shake it until smooth. Let it stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes if it’s still clumpy, then shake again.

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Portillo's Chopped Salad

5 from 27 votes
Portillo's Chopped Salad is brimming with lettuce, cabbage, tender pasta, vegetables, and plenty of bacon, all coated in a delectable creamy balsamic dressing, with a perfect finishing touch of gorgonzola cheese!
A vibrant bowl of Portillo's Chopped Salad with two serving spoons.
Print Recipe

Portillo's Chopped Salad

A vibrant bowl of Portillo's Chopped Salad with two serving spoons.
5 from 27 votes
Portillo's Chopped Salad is brimming with lettuce, cabbage, tender pasta, vegetables, and plenty of bacon, all coated in a delectable creamy balsamic dressing, with a perfect finishing touch of gorgonzola cheese!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Portillo's Chopped Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Chelsea Lords
Calories 253kcal
Cost $12.49

Ingredients

Chopped Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (7 slices)
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken (or leftover grilled chicken), diced
  • 5 cups chopped lettuce (I like to use half romaine (2-1/2 cups; 100g) and half iceberg lettuce (2-1/2 cups; 150g )
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4- 1/2 (27-57g) cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/2 cup honey-vanilla Greek yogurt (I recommend Greek Gods)
  • 1/4 cup of EACH: balsamic vinegar (54g), pure maple syrup (73g) (not pancake syrup!), olive oil (45g)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: finely minced garlic, fine sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Place all the dressing ingredients in a small blender jar. Blend until combined, creamy, and emulsified. Transfer dressing to a mason jar and store in the fridge until ready to eat. Shake up the dressing before dressing the salad.
  • COOK PASTA: Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente. Make sure to generously salt the water; this is what will actually season the pasta! I add 1 teaspoon salt to every 4 cups of water. Drain and cool; run under cold water and shake off to dry. When dry, toss with a few tablespoons of the prepared dressing.
  • BACON AND CHICKEN: Cook bacon in a skillet or on an electric griddle. Remove, let cool slightly, and then chop coarsley. Chop a rotisserie chicken (or leftover grilled chicken) into small bite-sized pieces.
  • SALAD ASSEMBLY: In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, red cabbage, halved or quartered tomatoes, and thinly sliced green onions. Add in the cooled pasta, chopped bacon, and chopped chicken. Add gorgonzola cheese. If eating all of this salad, add dressing to desired preference (you may not use it all -- See Note 1) and toss to combine. If not, only dress what will be eaten; this salad doesn't sit well with the dressing.
  • SALAD STORAGE: The salad can be made in advance as long as the salad, bacon, cheese, and dressing is stored separately. Combine right before eating.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: The dressing recipe makes a good amount of dressing. Depending on how dressed you like your salads, you may use it all or you could have a good amount leftover. Leftover dressing will stay fresh, stored in an airtight container in the fridge, for 5-7 days. Use it to top other salads or raw veggies.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8as a side | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.3g | Protein: 12.3g | Fat: 10.6g | Cholesterol: 28.8mg | Sodium: 92.9mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 9.7g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Recipe Rating




45 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely fabulous! Did half the amount of syrup and plenty sweet. Added 1/2 English Cuke bc I needed to use it. Otherwise, exactly as written. Family gave it 5/5

    1. I don’t think the two would exchange particularly well in this recipe because honey is such a strong flavor and maple syrup is much more subtle.

    2. We made this for dinner it was amazing! Two of my people donโ€™t like blue cheese so I took their portions out and added it in after. So good

    1. I’m so happy you guys have enjoyed this and have been able to make it work with dietary preferences! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

    2. I’ll be making this the same for my daughter, for Christmas. Also trying Cheesy Monkey Bread. We’ll have ham and I hope, share the salad.

    3. 5 stars
      Excellent for meal prep while Iโ€™m training for a fitness competition. Easy to make, stores well, filling, and hits my macros! Oh AND itโ€™s delicious! Saw the recipe on Facebook and so glad I tried it! Itโ€™s my lunch for at least the next 7 weeks!

  2. 5 stars
    This is the second time I made this. My friend is recovering from surgery and requested this again as one of the best tasting things she had during her recovery. So good!!

  3. Made this tonight and OMG it was AHMAZING!!! I always have the Italian Beef Sandwich when I go to Portillos so can’t compare the taste but will definitely be making this again and again!! That dressing WOW I could eat that by the spoonfuls!

    1. I haven’t tried freezing it, but I don’t think it’ll freeze well. If you try let me know! Thanks Peggi! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 5 stars
    I love love love PORTILLO’S CHOPPED SALAD
    recipe. It tastes delicious. Everyone asks for the recipe. It’s a keeper !

  5. 5 stars
    One of my favs! LOVED this salad!! Dressing is phenomenal! Next time I make it , will add toasted pecans.

  6. I’ve made this several times now using a store bought Portillo’s dressing. I used vegan bacon bits and omitted the chicken. Thanks for posting!

  7. 5 stars
    Really great salad recipe! The dressing is divine. I added small pieces of salami and cubes of cheddar cheese.

  8. Blue cheese makes me gag, so I ask for a substitution of mozzarella and cheddar blend when I go to Portillos. It tastes amazing!

  9. Portillos chopped salad only uses romaine lettuce, not iceberg per their menu. Romaine definitely stands up better making ahead too.

  10. Missed the mark on the dressing. It tasted
    good alone, but not when I mixed it in the
    salad. I think a good store bought italian
    dressing would be better. I will try again with
    Olive Garden dressing.

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