Monday, March 5, 2012

Kitchen Sink Chopped Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

I couldn’t decide whether to call this a chopped salad or a cobb salad… because, well, is there a difference? Or is a cobb salad simply a type of chopped salad? What is the specific distinction between the two? Anyone? … Anyone? (these really are the things that go through my mind! hah)

Oh well, whatever you want to call it… it’s DELICIOUS. For. Real.

I love a good hearty salad… one with all kinds of goodies in it! This fits the bill.

There are very few things I don’t like: raw meat -aka SUSHI- , oatmeal (it’s the texture – bleh), bananas (but I love banana bread), and fishy fish like salmon(I’m a Florida girl… I’m used to mild saltwater fish). Anyhow, when it comes to salads… the more ingredients the merrier!

My brother however, would gag at the mere thought of olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers being mixed into a salad haha He can be a picky little punk! 😉 I have to say he’s come a long way though, thanks to Heather (my sister in-law). She’s got him eating things that he once wouldn’t allow to touch his plate!

The dressing… OH the dressing. I could drink it. This recipe is based loosely off of another balsamic drissing recipe I got from my Aunt Kathy… I changed around a bunch since her secrets aren’t mine to give away…  😉

None-the-less this dressing is one you may just want to keep on Tap… yes, that good!

Make this salad ASAP. Add some grilled chicken, some chopped eggs (I actually intended to add eggs, but forgot… yah, i’m not perfect), whatever. you. want. Don’t like Balsamic? Use my favorite Garlic Ranch or Honey Mustard instead!

Make it your own, people!

NOTE: this dressing is more of a vinaigrette (the little bit of mayonnaise gives it a bit of a creaminess). It is meant to be thin, but will thicken up slightly after refrigeration. Also, I like my vinaigrettes more on the tangy side, but feel free to cut back the amount of vinegar in this if desired.

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Kitchen Sink Chopped Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 20-30 minutes


For the Creamy Balsamic Dressing:
(makes 1 2/3 cups of dressing)

4 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Morton's Nature's Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra light olive oil

For the Salad:
2-3 heads of Romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 - 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avacado, pitted peeled and diced
1 cucumber, peeled seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 can of artichoke hearts, coarse chopped
4-6 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese


For the Creamy Balsamic Dressing:
Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, sugar, Nature's Seasoning, and salt until well combined. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking).

For the Salad:
Add all ingredients to a large bowl (more or less of each ingredient depending on personal preferences). Toss with desired amount of dressing and serve.

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139 Responses to “Kitchen Sink Chopped Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing”

  1. 1

    Heather (Heather's Dish) — March 5, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    i never find good creamy balsamic, and now that you posted this i’m thinking i’ll just make it at home! i love dressings that you just feel like you could drink 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      there is NO comparison to homemade!

  2. 2

    christin — March 5, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    you just made my LIFE!!!

    • Kristina replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      aww you just made MY life 😉

  3. 3

    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — March 5, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

    These are the kind of salads I LOVE!

  4. 4

    Chels R. — March 5, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    This really looks good. I’m wishing I could just drink that dressing 🙂

  5. 5

    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — March 5, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    The salad is beautiful, and the dressing looks amazing.

  6. 6

    Nico — March 5, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    Wonderful salad!! Mine are always so boring (read:lazy). I must ask! What ever did your sister in law do that got your bro to broaden his horizons. After ten years, I’ve barely gotten my fiancé to budge. He won’t touch veggies. No salads, nothing. Sigh. Lol. Halp!

  7. 7

    Cassie — March 5, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    Trying this dressing ASAP. Sounds right up my alley!

    • Kristina replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      do it!!! 🙂

  8. 8

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — March 5, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    Absolutely love balsamic dressing, never made a creamy one! Salad has some of my favorite in it, looks great!

  9. 9

    Megan — March 5, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    If I’m going to eat a salad- I need a variety of dressings. And this is totally up my alley!

  10. 10

    Baking Serendipity — March 5, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    I love a good, hearty salad too! And homemade dressings are my new obsession. Everything about this one looks perfect 🙂

  11. 11

    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — March 5, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    I love salads with tons of goodies too! And this dressing sounds amazing! Going to try it soon!

  12. 12

    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — March 6, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    The salad looks amazing!! I love the photos and the dressing, yum!!

  13. 13

    Sandra — March 6, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    Saying yes to the dress-ing! I’m really over store bought dressings and can’t wait to try this one.

    • Kristina replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      yah, once you make it homemade… it’s really hard to buy bottled.

  14. 14

    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — March 6, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    This looks amazing! Totally bookmarking the dressing recipe too — have been craving balsamic lately! 🙂

  15. 15

    emily — March 6, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Yum, yum, YUM! I love salads with all the goodies! And the dressing sound delish. Beautiful photos, as always 🙂

  16. 16

    Christina — March 6, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    Looks delicious! Very similar to a dressing I make as well but I add honey to mine – thickens it up a little and you don’t have to add as much as the sugar 🙂

  17. 17

    Spicy Richmond — March 8, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    […] I saw this post on My Life as a Mrs., it reminded me of one of my favorite salads. It really earns its name […]

  18. 18

    Angela — April 13, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    I found this recipe on Pinterest about a month ago and have been obsessed with the dressing ever since! Seriously, been sharing it with everyone I know. 🙂 Thanks so much!!

    • Tina replied: — April 13th, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      yay!!! so happy to hear it!!! 🙂

  19. 19

    Courtney — May 7, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    Your recipe for creamy balsamic sounds wonderful, but check out salad in a jar’s recipe! VERY lo-cal and THE BEST balsamic I have ever had, hands down. I changed her use of dijon mustard into dry mustard instead and cut the calories down from 60-something to about 32 calories per two tablespoons.

  20. 20

    andrea p — May 12, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    I am so excited to try this! My only problem is that I can’t find the Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning. What would be a good substitute?? Thank you! Eagerly awaiting your response 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Tina replied: — May 16th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      The label says it contains: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powdery, celery seed, and parsley. Not sure of the ratios but I hope that helps!

  21. 21

    Erin Motz — May 12, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    This looks outstanding! Wondering why I never thought of this… I love creamy balsamic and always make my dressings from scratch. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  22. 22

    Shannan — May 13, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    This looks so delicious! I’m putting it on my dinner menu this week as I love a yummy salad with homemade dressing. Thanks!

  23. 23

    Nicola — May 13, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    Hi- where do you get the Mortons seasoning? Looks fab!

    • Tina replied: — May 16th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      I got mine at Publix (so I would presume it would be at most grocery chains)

  24. 24

    Carol — May 13, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    I love balsamic but haven’t found a really good store-bought creamy one. I look forward to trying it, as well as the kitchen-sink salad. Thanks!

  25. 25

    Lisa — May 13, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    I made this dressing and I was disappointed….it wasn’t creamy at all. I made it exactly like the recipe state. It didn’t turn out looking like the picture. It was very dark and balsamic vinegary. I added more mayo and even some sour cream and it was still not very creamy. I love basalmic vinegar, so I didn’t mind the taste. But I am huge creamy dressing fan and this just wasn’t a creamy type dressing.

    • Tina replied: — May 16th, 2012 @ 11:26 am

      it’s not a THICK creamy, but because of the addition of the mayo, I can’t call it a vinaigrette. It’s a healthified version of a creamy dressing – Note: it will thicken up as it sits in the refrigerator

  26. 26

    Courtney — May 13, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Try using Yogurt- I use the dressing that the blog salad-in-a-jar lady developped without the dijon (I use dry mustard instead) and it turns out great!

  27. 27

    Rose — May 13, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    I found the recipe link for the dressing on Pinterest and I’m so glad I came looking for the recipe. I’m going to make this tomorrow. I love my Ranch but I need a healthier alternative. I’ll have to make some adjustments on the sodium portion of your recipe though. Sorry.

  28. 28

    donna — May 14, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    I. Love. This. : )

  29. 29

    Paula Lojak — May 14, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Courtney, which salad in a jar recipe for the balsamic dressing? There are many. Thanks.

  30. 30

    Paula Lojak — May 14, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    OMG I just made this dressing and couldn’t stop asting it. I really do think I could drink it. Thanks for the great recipe.

  31. 31

    nathan — May 15, 2012 @ 12:18 am

    Lisa – If your dressing isn’t coming out creamy, and you’ve followed the recipe otherwise, you’re probably not mixing it enough. The “creamy” in creamy dressing is a textural element from the emulsion of the fats and liquids. If you don’t mix fast/long enough, it won’t fully emulsify and give it the right creamy texture. If you have trouble doing it with a whisk, do it in the blender instead (slowly drizzling in the oil after other ingredients are mixed). When you see it increase in volume and the color lightens (both due to air being whipped in) it’s ready. It helps if the ingredients are cold/cool. If you overmix or it gets too warm, the emulsion will break and the oil will separate out. A pinch of xanthan gum (a common ingredient in gluten free baking) will help your dressing stay emulsified in the fridge without having to remix.

    • Tina replied: — May 15th, 2012 @ 8:49 am

      Thanks for the explanation, Nathan! 🙂

  32. 32

    Courtney — May 15, 2012 @ 10:26 am


    Here is a link to my pin of the dressing, and a comment about my modification on lowering the calories- I LOVE this dressing!

  33. 33

    Paula Lojak — May 15, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Thanks Courtney!

  34. 34

    Judie S — May 15, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    This is a traditional Cobb Salad that was created at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood in the 1930s. I learned about them in the 70s and 80s when I worked at Disneyland. We used to serve them at the restaurant I worked at. They are delicious. Traditionally, they are served with Roquefort dressing. I am not so fond of Roquefort or Bleu Cheese dressing myself, so I always opt for something else. They are still delicious!!

    If you Google ‘Brown Derby Cobb Salad,’ you will come up with all sorts of interesting information on it.

    I get so annoyed when I go into a restaurant and they offer a Cobb salad on the menu, and they leave out the avocado and/or bacon. I’ve had people tell me they never put avocado on the salad. I want to scream, “Then it’s not a Cobb salad!!” but I behave myself.

    Enjoy your Cobb Salad!

  35. 35

    Paula A — May 16, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    Hi we don’t have the Morton’s spice in Canada, any suggestions on what I can use in it’s place? Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Tina replied: — May 16th, 2012 @ 11:25 am

      The label says its: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powdery, celery seed, and parsley. Not sure of the ratios but I hope that helps! 🙂

  36. 36

    Terra — May 17, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

    What a lovely dressing recipe! My hubby and I are wanting to start making all our own dressings, I hate all the High Fructose Corn Syrup in the store bought dressings. You kitchen sink salad looks pretty delicious!!! 🙂 Take care, Terra

  37. 37

    Sarah — May 18, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Thank you!!! I have tried so many Balsamic dressing recipes….Finally a delish and Easy Dressing!!! Thank you a million Thank yous!!!<3<3

  38. 38

    Nicole — May 20, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    This is great! How long will it last in the refrigerator before it needs to be tossed out? Thanks!

  39. 39

    Joelle — May 27, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

    We tried the salad and dressing today and LOVED it!!! I even took corn off the cob and added it to the salad for a really sweet pop. The dressing was VERY garlicky but I really liked it. My son thought it was a little spicy, though 🙂

  40. 40

    jennifer — May 27, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    I don’t have the Morton’s spice either but used the 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joe’s and it’s wonderful! Thank you for a delicious alternative to oil and vinegar:)

  41. 41

    Nancy Lafferty — May 31, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    With all the fresh herbs out now, which ones would you use instead of the seasoning mix?
    Thanks, the salad looks amazing!

  42. 42

    Carollee Holland — June 2, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

    This looks amazing! and really want to try it…but does anyone know the calorie count in the dressing? I know the salad will depend on what I put in it, but not sure how to calculate the dressing!!! THanks for any help!!!

  43. 43

    Jessica — June 10, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    I made this an it was SO salty. 🙁 I don’t know if it was the salt plus the Morton’s but it was almost unbearable. I am going to try again and skip the salt and Morton’s and add it as I go.

  44. 44

    Mikki — June 12, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    WOW! This was delicious!! SOOO amazing.
    I posted about it on my blog too.. had to share this.. it was soo good. Great job!! Thanks so much!! It tastes amazing on just about everything.

  45. 45

    Creamy Balsamic Dressing | SheSaved® — June 22, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

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  46. 46

    Pam — June 25, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    WOW! This salad and dressing looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for posting!

  47. 47

    Amanda — June 27, 2012 @ 12:45 am

    I think a “chopped” salad just means you put all the ingredients together in a bowl and then dump them out and…chop it up 🙂 At restaurants they use those half-moon shaped knives so they can just roll over the salad pieces and then toss it with the dressing.
    It ensures that every bite gets an equal amount of each ingredient.

  48. 48

    Cobb salad with garlic ranch dressing « Brave New Food — July 9, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

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  49. 49

    Gina M. — July 11, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    Made this tonight for my family….we loved it, and the dressing is amazing. I’m glad it made a ton so I could use it on my other salads. 🙂

  50. 50

    Erica {let why lead} — July 12, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    I’ve made this a couple of times and we love it! The first time I made it my husband kept asking me how I was going to keep track of this recipe so I wouldn’t forget about it (which I sometimes do). That’s a good sign! Thanks!

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