LuAnn's Family Favorites Recipes

LuAnn's Vegetarian "Take-Off" of
Portillo's Chopped Salad

Loosely based on a salad featured on the menu of Portillo’s, a Chicago-based restaurant, popular from California to Florida, but most prevalent in the Midwestern states. I don't know that Portillo's would choose to be associated with my vegetarian version of their Chopped Salad, but WE like it! (Portillo’s orginal Chopped Salad also contains bacon and Gorgonzola cheese).

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  • 4 cups cooked small pasta (I've used both small shells and elbow macaroni)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups chopped mixed salad greens (again, I use whatever varieties I have on hand - but always something leafy and colorful)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, well-scrubbed then coarsely grated
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onions
  • 1 cup sliced green olives (adds the saltiness of cheese; I have also used diced, canned hearts of palm)


  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or preferred oil)*
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Salad

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Run under icy cold water to chill quickly, then drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all of the remaining salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cooled and drained pasta.
  4. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the salad, then toss gently until well mixed.
  5. Serve immediately.

For the Dressing

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, then blend until smooth.


* To reduce the fat in the salad dressing, you can substitute 1/4 cup of the liquid drained from the beans for 1/4 cup of the olive oil.


Recipe by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals I and II, a two-volume collection of family-approved, plant-based recipes.

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