Big Springtime Chopped Salad

published Mar 18, 2023
Big Springtime Chopped Salad Recipe

A springy vegetable medley topped with crispy Parmesan chickpeas and Italian dressing.

Serves6 to 8

Prep1 hour

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

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Big Springtime Chopped Salad on platter with serving utensils beside.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Every year, during that exciting shift from winter to spring, I’m eager to give my Dutch oven a little rest and add some color back into my meals. My big springtime chopped salad — in my honest opinion — is the perfect dish to accompany the change in seasons. In place of regular ol’ lettuce, I reach for fresh veggies like sugar snap peas and asparagus, both of which add crunch and texture. I build in big, bold flavors by nestling sun-dried tomatoes, olives, salami, and provolone cheese into the springy base. To top it all off, I layer on crispy Parmesan chickpeas and finish it with a robust Italian dressing that’s good on almost everything. This big chopped salad is the ultimate feel-good meal that will take you out of those winter blues and help you jump headfirst into springtime bliss. 

If You’re Making the Big Springtime Chopped Salad, a Few Tips

  • The vinegar in the dressing is swappable. If you don’t have white wine vinegar, feel free to use red wine vinegar.
  • Blanch your veggies for a crisp-tender texture. Blanching is a classic technique that calls for quickly cooking foods in boiling water to help retain their color, flavor, and texture. To blanch, boil a large pot of water, prep your veggies, and fill a bowl with ice and water. Cook your vegetables separately until crisp-tender, then chill in the ice bath.  
  • You can break up the prep. This salad has many components; to make it manageable, you can make the crispy chickpeas up to one week in advance and the dressing up to two weeks ahead of time. 
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Big Springtime Chopped Salad Recipe

A springy vegetable medley topped with crispy Parmesan chickpeas and Italian dressing.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the chickpeas:

  • 1 (about 15-ounce) can

    chickpeas

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup store-bought grated)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup store-bought grated)

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 5

    fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon

    honey

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

For the salad:

  • 4 quarts

    water

  • 1 pound

    sugar snap peas (about 5 cups)

  • 1 bunch

    medium asparagus (about 1 pound)

  • 1 cup

    fresh or frozen peas

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    jarred peperoncini (about 6)

  • 1/2 cup

    sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup

    Castelvetrano olives (about 12)

  • 8 ounces

    unsliced Genoa salami

  • 5 ounces

    unsliced provolone cheese

  • 1

    medium shallot

Instructions

Make the chickpeas:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 1 (about 15-ounce) can chickpeas. Place between 2 kitchen towels and gently pat dry and rub to remove the skins. Transfer the chickpeas (leave the skins behind and discard) to a rimmed baking sheet (no need to line or grease the baking sheet).

  2. Finely grate 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), or measure out 1/2 cup store-bought grated. Drizzle the chickpeas with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer. Bake until golden brown and crisp, stirring and shaking the pan halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes total. Meanwhile, make the dressing and prepare the remaining ingredients.

Make the dressing and cook the vegetables:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same jar or small bowl as you complete it: Finely grate 3/4 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup), or measure out 1/4 cup grated. Finely grate 1 garlic clove. Juice 1 medium lemon until you have 2 tablespoons. Pick the leaves from 5 fresh thyme sprigs until you have 1 tablespoon.

  2. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Seal the jar and shake to combine, or whisk until combined. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  3. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Meanwhile, remove the tough strings from the sides of 1 pound sugar snap peas. Trim the tough stems from 1 bunch asparagus. Shuck fresh pea pods if needed until you have 1 cup peas, or use 1 cup frozen. Fill a large bowl 2/3 full with ice and cold water to make an ice bath.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt to the boiling water. Add the snap peas and blanch until crisp tender and bright green, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer to the ice bath.

  5. Repeat blanching the asparagus and peas and transferring to the ice bath, each will take 1 to 2 minutes blanching time. Drain in a colander and remove any remaining ice. Shake off any excess water.

  6. Cut the snap peas in half and the asparagus crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix together with the peas and place in a large bowl or or on a large platter.

  7. Prepare the remaining ingredients in the following order, layering them on top of the peas and asparagus: Drain and thinly slice 1/2 cup pepperoncini and 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Pit and coarsely chop 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives. Remove the casings from 8 ounces Genoa salami and dice (about 1 1/2 cups). Dice 5 ounces provolone cheese (about 1 cup). Dice 1 medium shallot (about 1/4 cup).

  8. Top with the chickpeas and drizzle with all of the dressing. Toss before serving.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the white wine vinegar.

Make ahead: The chickpeas can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The dressing can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container; shake or re-whisk before using.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.