La Scala Chopped Salad Recipe: A Culinary Delight

The original La Scala Chopped Salad recipe has become a staple in the realm of Italian cuisine, renowned for its fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors. This salad is not just a dish; it’s a celebration of texture and taste, bringing together the best of Italian culinary traditions.

Introduction to La Scala Chopped Salad

At its core, the La Scala Chopped Salad is a celebration of simplicity and quality. It combines the crispness of romaine and iceberg lettuce with the creamy texture of mozzarella cheese and the savory depth of salami. The addition of chickpeas introduces a nutty flavor and a boost of protein, making the salad not just a delight to the taste buds but also a nourishing meal.

What sets the La Scala Chopped Salad apart is its versatility. It can be enjoyed as a light and refreshing standalone dish, perfect for a summer day, or as a complementary side to a more robust Italian main course. Its adaptability to various dietary preferences also makes it a favorite among a wide range of food enthusiasts.

As you prepare to dive into the recipe, imagine the bustling streets of Italy, the aroma of fresh produce from the local markets, and the vibrant energy of an Italian kitchen. The La Scala Chopped Salad is more than just a recipe; it’s an experience, a taste of Italy that you can recreate in your own kitchen. Let’s explore how to bring this iconic dish to life, from the selection of ingredients to the final, delightful taste.

La Scala Chopped Salad, a name synonymous with Italian culinary excellence, has its roots in the famous La Scala restaurant. This salad is known for its:

  • Fresh and quality ingredients
  • Unique combination of flavors
  • Adaptability to various dietary preferences

Key Ingredients of Original La Scala Chopped Salad Recipe

The La Scala Chopped Salad is renowned for its delightful combination of flavors and textures, achieved through a selection of key ingredients. Each component plays a crucial role in creating the salad’s signature taste. Here are the essential ingredients that make up this classic Italian salad:

Romaine and Iceberg Lettuce:

These two types of lettuce form the crisp, refreshing base of the salad. Romaine offers a slightly bitter taste and a crunchy texture, while iceberg lettuce adds a cool, mild flavor.

Mozzarella Cheese:

This soft, creamy cheese brings a subtle richness and a smooth texture to the salad. Its mild flavor complements the other ingredients without overpowering them.


Salami introduces a savory, slightly spicy element to the dish. It adds depth and a hint of saltiness, balancing the freshness of the vegetables.


Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas contribute a nutty flavor and a hearty texture. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making the salad more filling and nutritious.

Red Onion:

The sharp, pungent taste of red onion adds a kick to the salad. It provides a nice contrast to the milder ingredients and enhances the overall flavor profile.


Fresh, ripe tomatoes offer a burst of juiciness and a sweet, tangy taste. They add color and a touch of acidity to the salad.


Cucumbers bring a refreshing, crisp texture and a light, clean flavor. They help balance the richer components like cheese and salami.

Homemade Dressing:

The salad is typically dressed with a homemade vinaigrette, often made with olive oil, vinegar, and various herbs and spices. The dressing ties all the flavors together and adds a zesty, tangy finish.

These ingredients, when combined, create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that define the La Scala Chopped Salad. Each ingredient contributes its unique characteristics, resulting in a salad that is not only delicious but also a visually appealing and balanced dish.

For more inspiration on Italian salads, consider reading about the Easy Salad Supreme Seasoning Recipe for Flavorful Dishes.

Step-by-Step Recipe Guide for original La Scala Chopped Salad Recipe

Creating the La Scala Chopped Salad is a delightful culinary experience. Follow this step-by-step guide to recreate this Italian classic in your kitchen.


  • Romaine lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Mozzarella cheese, diced
  • Salami, thinly sliced
  • Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
  • Herbs and spices (like oregano, salt, and pepper)


1. Prepare the Lettuce

  • Wash and dry the romaine and iceberg lettuce thoroughly.
  • Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.

2. Add Cheese and Salami

  • Dice the mozzarella cheese into small cubes.
  • Thinly slice the salami into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the cheese and salami to the bowl with the lettuce.

3. Incorporate Other Vegetables

  • Slice the red onion thinly and add it to the salad.
  • Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers and mix them into the salad.
  • Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas.

4. Prepare the Dressing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar in a 3:1 ratio.
  • Add herbs like oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Adjust the dressing according to your preference, adding more oil or vinegar as needed.

5. Toss the Salad

  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
  • Gently toss the salad to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.

6. Serve

  • Serve the salad immediately, or let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Garnish with additional herbs or cheese if desired.


  • Freshness is Key: Use fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best taste.
  • Balance the Flavors: Adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste preferences.
  • Chill the Salad: For a refreshing touch, chill the salad in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy your homemade La Scala Chopped Salad, a dish that’s sure to bring a taste of Italy to your dining table. Perfect for a healthy lunch, a light dinner, or as a side dish for your Italian-themed meals.

Nutritional Value

The La Scala Chopped Salad is not just a feast for the senses; it’s also a nutritious choice that offers a range of health benefits. This salad is a wonderful amalgamation of fresh vegetables, protein-rich ingredients, and a light dressing, making it a wholesome option for those seeking a balanced diet. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional value and health benefits of this delightful Italian salad:

Key Nutritional Components:

  • Low in Calories: Primarily made of fresh vegetables, the salad is naturally low in calories, making it an excellent choice for weight management.
  • High in Fiber: Ingredients like lettuce, chickpeas, and vegetables contribute to the high fiber content, which is beneficial for digestive health and helps in maintaining a feeling of fullness.
  • Protein Source: Salami and chickpeas provide a good amount of protein, essential for muscle building and repair.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: The variety of vegetables in the salad, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, are sources of essential vitamins (like Vitamin A, C, and K) and minerals (such as potassium and magnesium).
  • Healthy Fats: The olive oil in the dressing offers healthy monounsaturated fats, which are good for heart health.

Health Benefits:

  • Heart Health: The combination of fiber, healthy fats, and low-calorie content contributes to cardiovascular health.
  • Weight Management: High fiber and protein content can aid in weight loss or maintenance, as they help in regulating appetite.
  • Digestive Health: The fiber from the vegetables promotes healthy digestion and can prevent constipation.
  • Immune Support: Vitamins and minerals from the fresh ingredients support a healthy immune system.


  • Salami: While it adds flavor and protein, salami is also a source of sodium and saturated fats. Those monitoring their salt intake or following a heart-healthy diet might consider reducing the amount or opting for a lower-sodium alternative.
  • Cheese: Mozzarella adds calcium but also contributes to the fat content. Using part-skim mozzarella can be a healthier choice.

In summary, the La Scala Chopped Salad is a nutritious dish that aligns well with a health-conscious lifestyle. Its combination of fresh ingredients not only tantalizes the taste buds but also provides essential nutrients, making it a smart choice for a wholesome meal.

For detailed information on the health benefits of fresh produce, check out Healthline.

Serving Suggestions for La Scala Chopped Salad

The La Scala Chopped Salad is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways to suit different occasions and meal preferences. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, looking for a quick lunch, or preparing a family meal, this salad can be adapted to fit the setting. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your La Scala Chopped Salad experience:

As a Standalone Meal

  • Lunch or Light Dinner: Serve the salad as a complete meal for a satisfying yet light lunch or dinner. Its balance of vegetables, protein, and cheese makes it filling and nutritious.

Alongside Main Courses

  • Italian-Themed Dinners: Pair the salad with classic Italian dishes such as spaghetti carbonara, lasagna, or chicken parmesan for a complete Italian dining experience.
  • Grilled Meats or Fish: Accompany the salad with grilled chicken, steak, or fish. The freshness of the salad complements the richness of grilled proteins.
  • Pizza Night: Offer the salad as a fresh and healthy side to balance the indulgence of pizza.

As Part of a Buffet or Potluck

  • Buffet Table: Include the salad in a buffet spread, where its vibrant colors and flavors can stand out among other dishes.
  • Potluck Gatherings: Bring the salad to a potluck as it’s easy to transport and can be a crowd-pleaser with its universally appealing flavors.

For Special Occasions

  • Brunches: Serve it at brunch gatherings as a refreshing side dish.
  • Holiday Meals: Incorporate the salad into holiday menus for a light and healthy option amidst heavier festive foods.

Presentation Tips

  • Garnishing: Enhance the visual appeal with garnishes like fresh herbs, a sprinkle of extra cheese, or lemon zest.
  • Serving Bowls: Present the salad in a large, attractive bowl for family-style serving or in individual bowls for a more formal presentation.

Customizing for Dietary Preferences

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Easily adapt the salad for vegetarian or vegan diets by omitting or substituting the salami and cheese.
  • Gluten-Free Needs: The salad is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

The La Scala Chopped Salad is not only a delight to the palate but also a flexible dish that can be tailored to various dining contexts. Its combination of fresh ingredients, ease of preparation, and adaptability make it an excellent choice for any meal or occasion.

Variations of the La Scala Chopped Salad Recipe

The classic La Scala Chopped Salad is beloved for its perfect blend of flavors and textures. However, one of the joys of cooking is the ability to adapt and modify recipes to suit different tastes and dietary needs. Here are some creative variations of the La Scala Chopped Salad that you can try:

Vegetarian Version

  • Replace Salami with Grilled Vegetables: Swap out the salami for grilled zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplants to maintain the heartiness without the meat.
  • Add Olives or Artichokes: Incorporate olives or marinated artichoke hearts for added Mediterranean flair.

Vegan Adaptation

  • Use Vegan Cheese: Substitute the mozzarella with a vegan cheese alternative.
  • Omit Salami: Simply leave out the salami or replace it with a vegan protein source like marinated tofu or tempeh.

Protein Boost

  • Grilled Chicken or Turkey: Add grilled chicken or turkey breast for an extra protein kick.
  • Beans or Lentils: Mix in cooked beans or lentils for a plant-based protein boost.


  • Omit Chickpeas: Remove the chickpeas to reduce the carbohydrate content.
  • Increase Cheese and Salami: Add more cheese and salami to up the fat and protein content, making it more keto-friendly.


  • Naturally Gluten-Free: The standard recipe is gluten-free. Ensure all added ingredients, like dressings or meats, are gluten-free.

For a Crunchy Twist

  • Add Nuts or Seeds: Sprinkle in some pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds for a crunchy texture.
  • Croutons: For those not following a gluten-free diet, homemade croutons can add a delightful crunch.

Dressing Variations

  • Creamy Dressing: Use a creamy Italian or Caesar dressing instead of a vinaigrette for a richer flavor.
  • Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a sweet and tangy finish.

Spicy Version

  • Add Pepperoncini or Hot Peppers: Introduce some heat with sliced pepperoncini or hot peppers.
  • Spicy Dressing: Use a spicy vinaigrette or add a dash of hot sauce to the dressing.

Sweet and Savory

  • Dried Fruit: Add dried cranberries or chopped dates for a touch of sweetness.
  • Apple Slices: Thinly sliced apples can provide a sweet and crisp element.

These variations of the La Scala Chopped Salad allow you to cater to a wide range of palates and dietary preferences, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this classic Italian salad with a personalized twist. Experiment with these suggestions or create your own unique combination to keep this salad exciting and new every time you serve it.

Storing and Making Ahead: La Scala Chopped Salad

Preparing the La Scala Chopped Salad in advance and storing it properly ensures that you can enjoy its fresh and vibrant flavors at your convenience. Here are some tips for making ahead and storing this delightful salad:

Making Ahead

  • Prep Ingredients Separately: Chop the vegetables, cheese, and salami, and store them in separate containers in the refrigerator. This keeps the ingredients fresh and prevents them from becoming soggy.
  • Prepare Dressing in Advance: The salad dressing can be made ahead and stored in a jar or bottle in the fridge. Shake well before using.
  • Combine Just Before Serving: Mix the ingredients and add the dressing just before serving to maintain the crispness and freshness of the salad.

Storing Leftovers

  • Refrigerate Promptly: Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Consume Within 2-3 Days: For the best quality and taste, consume the salad within 2-3 days.
  • Note on Dressing: If the salad has been mixed with the dressing, it may become soggy over time. It’s best to dress only the portion of the salad you plan to eat immediately.

Tips for Best Quality

  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended for this salad, as it can drastically affect the texture of the fresh ingredients.
  • Keep Ingredients Dry: Ensure that the lettuce and other vegetables are dry before storing them to prevent wilting and spoilage.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: For make-ahead salads, using the freshest ingredients possible will help extend the salad’s shelf life.

By following these storing and making-ahead tips, you can enjoy the La Scala Chopped Salad at its best, whether you’re prepping for a quick weekday meal or planning for a gathering. These practices ensure that every bite of the salad remains as delightful as when it’s freshly made.

To explore more about Italian salad recipes, visit Epicurious.

FAQs About La Scala Chopped Salad

How to Make La Scala Chopped Salad

Making La Scala Chopped Salad involves a few simple steps:

  1. Gather Ingredients: You’ll need romaine and iceberg lettuce, mozzarella cheese, salami, chickpeas, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar, and seasonings.
  2. Prepare the Lettuce: Wash and chop the romaine and iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Chop Other Ingredients: Dice the mozzarella cheese and salami. Slice the red onion, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
  4. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the lettuce with the chopped ingredients and drained chickpeas.
  5. Make the Dressing: Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and seasonings like salt, pepper, and oregano.
  6. Dress the Salad: Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together to combine.
  7. Serve: Serve the salad fresh, optionally garnished with extra herbs or cheese.

How Many Calories in a La Scala Chopped Salad

The calorie content in La Scala Chopped Salad can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. However, a standard serving typically contains:

  • Approximately 300-400 calories per serving.
  • Note that adding more cheese, salami, or dressing will increase the calorie count.

What Does a Chopped Salad Contain?

A chopped salad generally contains:

  • A variety of fresh vegetables (like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers) chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • It may also include proteins (such as chicken, cheese, or beans), nuts, and dressing.
  • The ingredients are usually tossed together rather than layered, ensuring each bite contains a mix of all components.

Where Was the Chopped Salad Invented?

The chopped salad is believed to have originated in the United States. Its exact origins are unclear, but it gained popularity as a staple in American cuisine, particularly in:

  • New York City: Some accounts suggest that it became popular in New York delis and restaurants in the early to mid-20th century.
  • Los Angeles: Others believe it may have originated in Los Angeles, where the concept of health-conscious salads took off.

The chopped salad’s appeal lies in its versatility and the ease of combining various flavors and textures into one cohesive dish.

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