This copycat Portillos Chopped Salad is the best of all worlds — romaine lettuce, pasta, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and cooked chicken all tossed in an easy homemade vinaigrette, and enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.
Portillos is a restaurant I discovered while visiting Chicago 10 years ago. I fell in love with their house chopped salad and day-dreamed about it for several years until they opened a location in Anaheim, California where we are lucky enough to visit several times a year. Lucky for us, that means every few months I get to enjoy a Portillos chopped salad, crinkle cut fries, and hot Italian beef[-and-sausage sandwich (with all the fixin’s). In between those glorious visits to Portillos, when I just can’t wait till my next trip, I make this copycat salad at home and I promise it is so close to the original it will satisfy the most intense Portillos cravings.
Here’s How You Make It
Making this simple salad recipe is so very easy, it only has two steps!
- First, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
- Then, combine all together the bacon, pasta, lettuce, gorgonzola, tomatoes, and chicken (if using). Toss these ingredients with the homemade dressing and serve the green salad recipe for dinner immediately.
Why This Recipe Works
It’s a copycat — Admit it — we all have a food obsession from a restaurant. But it’s just not feasible to go to that restaurant every day or even once a week. Or maybe the restaurant isn’t even in your hometown or anywhere near it. That’s where a good copycat recipe comes in handy. You get the dish you love (ahem Portillos salad) without having to leave your house.
The dressing — I loooove a good homemade dressing. They are so easy to make there’s almost never a reason to buy the bottled stuff. And this dressing for this green salad recipe? To die for. It’s amazing on this simple salad but also great on every salad!
Bacon — Everything goes better with bacon. Everything. Need I say more?
So Easy — This chicken salad recipe is so very simple to make. Seriously, in just 15 minutes you can have this amazingly tasty salad on your plate.
Ideas for Customizing Portillos Chopped Salad
- When I serve this as a main dish I include the chicken, but sometimes serve it as a side salad and only include the chicken if I have some leftover chicken on hand.
- Adding some avocado slices or dices to this green salad recipe makes a great addition.
- If you don’t have or like gorgonzola or blue cheese, add feta cheese.
- In a hurry, no time to even cook pasta? I have a cooked pasta hack: Purchase those packets of already cooked pasta. Even if you can’t find ditalini, you can really use any kind of pasta. The smaller shape the better. But hey, if you can only find rotini, then rontini it is! (You could always run a pizza cutter through the pasta a time or two to cut it into smaller pieces.)
- Another hack: Add in bacon bits if you don’t have time to cook your own. (Although my recipe for bacon in the oven is so easy.)
- Okay hack #3: Purchase pre-cut romaine in a bag (this Portillos salad keeps getting easier and easier, amiright?)
- If you’d like a vegetarian option for this simple salad, skip the bacon and add chickpeas instead of chicken.
What Is Portillos Famous For?
Portillos originates from the Chicago area. People all over Illinois rave about Portillos food — particularly their famous Chicago-style hot dogs. But, people also love to come in and dig into their Italian beef sandwiches, chopped salad, chocolate cake, cheese fries, and more.
Although there are many Portillos in the Chicago area, the franchise has branched out across the country to include more than 60 locations in several states, including California, where we are sure to get our fix when we visit.
- You can keep this Portillos salad in the fridge, dressed, for up to 24 hours. Much after that and it gets too soggy to eat.
- Making this salad ahead of time is a cinch: If you plan on serving this chicken salad recipe at a potluck or later in the day, put the salad ingredients together, and then save the dressing in a mason jar. Shake up the dressing to remix and add over the salad and toss right before serving so that the lettuce isn’t all soggy by the time you get to your destination.
- I feel like this should go without saying but do not freeze this simple salad.
More Recipes Like This
For more copycat recipes, try my popular posts for Copycat Olive Garden Salad and Dressing, Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Copycat Recipe, and PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef.
If you make this Portillos copycat salad, please come back and let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating the recipe! And be sure to snap a photo and email it or tag me on social media, I love connecting with you and seeing your CDLC creations!