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!

Smoked Salmon chopped salad with ingredients all in rows, like a cobb 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!

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Smoked Salmon chopped salad with ingredients all in rows, like a cobb salad.

Smoked Salmon Chopped Salad with Pesto-Buttermilk Dressing

  • Author: Adapted from Cowboy Ciao Restaurant's Recipe
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main dish, gluten free



Pesto-Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cheese, pepitas and currants.
  5. 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.


Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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3 Responses to “Smoked Salmon Chopped Salad”

  1. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    What a beautiful salad…and I absolutely love smoked salmon. One of my favorite breakfasts is a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers. I also put it in pasta. I’ve never tried it in a salad, but this looks delicious! Thank you for sharing it with us at #FoodieFriDIY…I am sharing it on my Facebook page right now.

  2. Steve

    I had this salad three times in the past week and enjoyed the third as much as I did the first. It was wonderful! The combination of flavors and textures is difficult, at best, to discribe. An outstanding salad whether as a salad prior to the main course or as a meal in itself, is is absolutly delicious.

  3. Mary Gut

    I made a similar recipe using fresh basil leaves and now I can not find it because the link could not be reached anymore. Do you have the original using the basil leaves? Thanks, Mary


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