If you’ve ever been to Outback Steakhouse you’ve probably had their chopped salad. Every time I go, everyone (except hubby, who isn’t a fan of bleu cheese) orders this. Forget the steak, it’s worth going to Outback just for this salad (at least in my opinion…but I have to admit I’m not a huge steak eater…I usually order chicken, even at steakhouses). This recipe is a pretty close replication of the original.
To make preparation of this salad even faster, you can use a few substitutions…
· Use store-bought crispy rice noodles instead of the crispy pasta.
· Use store-bought candied nuts. (But oh wow, the homemade recipe is incredible! It’s actually the same recipe for candied nuts I used for my Cinnamon Bun Oats.)
· Use store-bought balsamic vinaigrette.
Chopped Salad (Outback Steakhouse-Style)
(Yield: about 6 servings)
About 6 c lettuce, chopped (such as red leaf, green leaf, or Romaine)
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
½ c shredded red cabbage
2 TB fresh minced scallions or chives
3 oz Bleu cheese, crumbled
¼ c dried cranberries (optional; not used in Outback’s recipe)
¼ c crispy pasta (see below)
¼ c cinnamon-honey roasted nuts (see below)
Balsamic vinaigrette (see below)
1/4 c filini, vermicelli, or angel hair pasta broken into 1-2-inch pieces
1 ½ tsp olive oil
Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Roasted Nuts:
¼ c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp water
1 tsp butter
2 ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 ½ TB olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
For the nuts: In a small pan, heat the brown sugar, water, butter, cinnamon, and salt over medium-high heat until it bubbles. Add the nuts and stir to coat the nuts with the sugar mixture. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the liquid is mostly gone and the nuts are completely coated. Spread in a single layer on wax paper and allow to cool to room temperature.
For the crispy pasta: In a small pan, heat the pasta, oil, and salt over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until the color of the pasta turns opaque. Turn off the heat and leave the pasta in the pan for another 30 seconds until it turns golden brown. Remove the pasta to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Allow to cool to room temperature.
For the vinaigrette: Whisk together all ingredients.
Assemble the salad by tossing together all ingredients.