This classic chef’s salad recipe is full of healthy and vibrant ingredients and also includes a simple homemade salad dressing. Made with rich toppings such as crisp lettuce, eggs, ham, and cheese, it’s a quick and perfect lunch to enjoy on busy days.
This salad is easy to make in advance and takes only 15 minutes to put together!
What Is a Chef Salad?
Traditionally, chef salad usually calls for lettuce, boiled eggs, cheese, and a meat of choice (ham, turkey, roasted beef, lamp, rotisserie,…)
A chef salad is meant to aesthetically showcase all the assembled ingredients on a large bowl or plate. The diner will get to choose which ingredients of them they want to add to their own serving plate and toss them with the dressing later.
Is Chef Salad Healthy?
In terms of nutrition, for a salad that combines vegetables, meat, and cheese together in one bowl, you will get all the essential nutrients to start your day. That’s how this salad is about— crispy, colorful, and fulfilling— it’s low in carbohydrates while still packed with flavors.
Although this salad is made with only a few basic ingredients, in reality, every restaurant has its own version of it on its menus.
Being a fresh and refreshing salad, the most amazing feature of this salad is that you get to take full control of which ingredient will be added. This chef salad recipe even makes it healthier as it requires no oil cooking.
Calories in This Salad
One serving of this chef salad gives you 200 calories, of which, there are only 5.5 grams of carbohydrates. It is a super quick and budget-friendly choice to add to your low-carb diet when you don’t have time to plan out your meals every day.
Cobb Salad vs Chef Salad
Chef salad is usually made of very common pantry ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and thinly sliced cold cuts of meat such as ham, bacon, or turkey. The types of cheese that are used the most for chef salad are typically cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, and blue cheese.
Chef salad is also served with a tangy cream-based dressing such as ranch dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.
Both chef salad and Cobb salad include boiled eggs. However, there are still a few differences between these two. Cobb salad usually calls for grilled chicken as the main ingredient, while chopped vegetables, bacon, and avocado are also the must-haves.
Chef Salad Ingredients
You’ll find cherry tomatoes, cucumber, ham, boiled eggs, and shredded cheddar cheese as the main ingredients of this salad.
As the name indicates, it’s totally up to how you— the chef of your kitchen— want to prepare and serve this salad. So be resourceful and use whatever ingredient that makes you feel good.
- Romaine lettuce has always been one of the favorite leafy greens for salads. Spinach, arugula, iceberg lettuce can also make great substitutions.
- For the toppings, you get to choose among these options: diced ham, crispy chopped bacon, thinly sliced (or chopped) boiled eggs, shredded cheese (of your choice), chopped green onions, tomatoes, and cucumber slices.
- To add more flavors, consider spicing it with salt and pepper to make the taste of vegetables and toppings stand out. Nevertheless, a small amount of oregano, basil, or parsley not only makes the entire salad more aromatic but also tastes delicate.
Of course, you can always change up the meats, vegetables, and seasonings. Always remember, you are the chef here.
Chef Salad Dressing
Mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, parsley, whole milk, Greek yogurt, ground black pepper, and dill. These are all the ingredients you’ll need for the dressing of today’s chef salad.
It’s not excessive to say that the dressing can really make or break a salad. So, feel free to mix and match your own dressing for chef salad to suit your taste.
How to Make a Chef Salad
Try our wedge salad with blue cheese dressing for a super easy salad twist!
Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, parsley, whole milk, Greek yogurt, ground black pepper, and dill. Whisk constantly until well combined.
Arrange the salad: Arrange the romaine lettuce as a base on the serving plates. Assemble the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, ham, and boiled eggs on top.
Drizzle and garnish: Drizzle the salad ingredients with the dressing, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, and the remaining parsley.
Toss and serve.
What to Serve With Chef Salad?
This chef salad recipe really makes one of the most versatile side salads you can make to serve for a quick breakfast, a nutritious desk-lunch, or a heart-warming dinner.
As chef salad itself already makes quite a fulfilling side dish, an added slice of crusty butter-enriched bread or a small portion of homemade croutons is enough to round out its flavors. Consider adding extra vegetables of your favorite on the side to make the appearance more colorful!
Here are other pastry options to enjoy with this salad:
How Long Does It Last?
Chef salad can last for 3-5 days, under the condition that it hasn’t been tossed with the dressing. Otherwise, it’s best to finish the salad within the day it’s made. Chef salad could last in the refrigerator until the following day, but the lettuce would probably get soggy.
Keeping the lettuce fresh and crispy is the key to a delicious prep-ahead salad. To do so, put the vegetables in a bowl, cover them with paper towels to absorb excess water, then seal the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Can You Freeze This Salad?
Yes, you can. Frozen chef salad can last up to 3-4 months.
Mayonnaise and Greek yogurt easily make a good base for a salad dressing. However, this magic combo also makes people shy away when they want to freeze a salad that goes with such creamy dressing.
Therefore, same as when refrigerating this salad, you should assemble the entire dish in advance separately with the dressing and save it for later use in the freezer.
Chef Salad Recipe
- Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of parsley, whole milk, Greek yogurt, ground black pepper, and dill. Whisking constantly until the mixture is combined.
- Arrange the romaine lettuce as a base on the 4 serving plates. Assemble the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, ham, and boiled eggs on top.
- Drizzle the salad ingredients with the dressing, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, and the remaining parsley. Toss and serve.