Smoked Salmon, baby arugula, tomatoes, corn, asiago cheese, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), currants, and couscous combine to make a super colorful, flavorful and delicious Chopped Salad!
This recipe was inspired by the Stetson Chopped Salad at Cowboy Ciao Restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz. There are many different interpretations of this salad on various websites; the recipe that is supposed to be the original (from the chef at Cowboy Ciao) can be found here. I especially love this twist on the traditional chopped salad for the spiciness of the arugula, saltiness of the toasted pepitas and the slight tartness of the pesto-buttermilk dressing. Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup Spinach Basil Pesto (can substitute purchased basil pesto)
- 1/2 shallot, chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like to use mayonnaise made with olive oil)
- 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
- squeeze of lemon wedge (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon-flavored olive oil (can substitute plain olive oil)
- 1/2 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 ounces aged Asiago cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup toasted pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 cup currants
- 2 cups chopped seeded plum tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped baby arugula
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (see Notes below)
- 8 ounces chopped smoked salmon (see Notes below)
- Place the pesto, shallot and mayonnaise in a food processor and blend. With the motor running, pour in the buttermilk. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the Israeli couscous and cook until lightly browned, around 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook just until the couscous is al dente, around 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain off any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cheese, pepitas and currants.
- On 6 shallow bowls or dinner plates (or one large platter), arrange the salad ingredients in rows in the following order – tomatoes, corn, cheese mixture, arugula, couscous and salmon. Serve the dressing on the side.
Note on corn: I like to use either frozen organic that is thawed, or freeze-dried. The latter adds additional crunchy texture to the salad.
Note on salmon: You can use either honey smoked (which is usually a thicker piece) or gravlax-style – it’s delicious either way!
Make ahead: dressing and cheese mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store the dressing, covered, in the refrigerator.
Gluten free: Substitute quinoa for the couscous. Use gluten free mayonnaise.