Nancy's Chopped Salad

October 22, 2019
13 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
Author Notes

What makes us keep coming back to this now-iconic salad from Chef Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in L.A.? Its powerhouse dressing? Its versatility? Yes and yes—plus a few buried tricks. Salting the tomatoes ahead to make them taste riper and more tomatoey. Soaking the onion in ice water to wash away the funky aftertaste. Finishing the salad not only with salt to taste but also lemon juice. But maybe most memorably, making an oregano vinaigrette with this much dried oregano. It's not a mistake. Silverton advises, with this much oregano, to be sure to buy the good stuff from Penzey’s or another store that specializes in dried herbs. Recipe adapted slightly from The Mozza Cookbook (Knopf, 2011) and The Washington Post. —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Nancy's Chopped Salad
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 8
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon), or more to taste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, 1 smashed flat and 1 grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut in half from top to bottom
  • 1 head (22 ounces) iceberg lettuce
  • 1 head (11 ounces) radicchio
  • 1 pint small, sweet cherry tomatoes, such as Sun Golds or Sweet 100s, cut into quarters
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 pound aged provolone, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1/4 pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 5 pepperoncini (stems discarded), cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon), or more to taste
  • Dried oregano (preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch), for sprinkling
In This Recipe
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, the smashed garlic and grated garlic and the salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes (to marinate the oregano). Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, and add salt or lemon juice as needed. The yield is a generous 1 1/2 cups; you'll use up to 1/2 cup for this salad, and the remainder can be refrigerated for another use (up to 3 days).
  2. Separate the layers of the onion and stack two or three layers on top of one another, then cut them lengthwise into 1/16-inch-wide strips. Repeat with the remaining onion layers. Place the onion in a small bowl of ice water to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain the onion and pat dry with paper towels before adding to the salad.
  3. Cut the iceberg lettuce in half through the core. Remove and discard the outer leaves, and discard the core. Separate the lettuce leaves, stack two or three leaves on top of one another, then cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Repeat with the remaining leaves; thinly slice the radicchio in the same way. Cut the tomatoes in half, season them with salt to taste, and toss gently.
  4. Combine the lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, chickpeas, provolone, salami, peperoncini and onion in a large, wide bowl. Season with salt to taste, and toss to thoroughly combine. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the salad, then sprinkle with the lemon juice; toss gently to coat the salad evenly. Taste, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, plus salt and/or lemon juice as needed.
  5. Transfer the salad to a large platter or divide it among individual plates, piling it like a mountain. Sprinkle the dried oregano leaves on top and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Debra Fletcher
    Debra Fletcher
  • Hmoshman
  • Karla S Heath
    Karla S Heath
  • Megan
  • Grant Melton
    Grant Melton
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

12 Reviews

Debra F. March 18, 2021

I will try it if you can pry me away from this one. But I will try this one and I will share the one I have. I hope that’s OK
Hmoshman January 8, 2021
I did not find soaking the finely sliced onion in ice water to be enough to reduce the pungent taste. I prefer to macerate in vinegar--much better. Then add that vinegar instead of the lemon juice. Omitted chickpeas. Used red cabbage instead of radicchio. Good. Will make again.
Hmoshman January 8, 2021
Also, I don't eat iceberg lettuce so used crunchy romaine.
Karla S. October 29, 2020
Love this! I have always called it my Big Italian Salad. Never thought to add ChiChi beans! YUM
Regine October 22, 2020
Did anyone try to veganize this?
Judi December 31, 2019
This isn't for me. I dislike both radicchio and iceberg lettuce but went ahead and made it anyway. Husband liked it. I didn't care for it at all and thought it was a lot of effort.
Megan November 30, 2019
This was a great salad to have for a big lasagna dinner. So good!
Angelag83 November 3, 2019 food 52
Angelag83 November 3, 2019
Absolutely wonderful! I waited till I had a crowd large enough to polish it’s a lot of salad. Rustic and perfect EXACTLY like per the recipe. I would not change a single thing. Thank you!
Stacey November 1, 2019
I made this last night for a large group (doubled the recipe) and it was the hit of the party! We ended up with fewer guests so I had a full bowl extra and can't tell you how happy I am to have extra! Everything about this works - the flavors are the perfect match for each other - nothing stands out in particular (which is a good thing in my opinion) but it all works together beautifully.
Grant M. October 26, 2019
I'm absolutely obsessed with this salad. Changing anything about would be blasphemous. IT'S PERFECT. Do yourself a favor and make this salad tonight. You'll be so glad you did.
Kristen M. October 28, 2019
Thanks so much, Grant—glad to know you love it, too!