by Wolfgang Puck

Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette Recipe
Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette

When summer comes, one of my favorites is chopped vegetable salad we serve at Spago. Many of our guests feel the same way, always asking for it even when we don't have it on the menu. Of course, we always make it for them.

That's easy to do, because the recipe is simple and there's no one specific formula. All you need to do is gather a selection of the finest, freshest produce of the season; rinse, dry, and trim it; and cut everything into uniform dice measuring 1/4 to 1/3 inch (6 to 8 mm). Add some cheese and protein if you like, then toss everything together with a vinaigrette.

The most important words in the previous paragraph are "finest" and "freshest." With top-quality seasonal vegetables, your salad will look and taste its best. For this reason, we always buy our salad ingredients from organic farms. Of course, you should use ingredients from one of the good farmers' markets in your area.

Beyond that fundamental rule, you have lots of leeway. Along with a foundation of crispy lettuces or other salad leaves, use whatever vegetables you like, such as fresh sweet corn; yellow wax beans; red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers; broccoli or cauliflower; artichokes; asparagus; and ripe-but-firm tomatoes. You can also include cooked chicken, beef, pork, or firm seafood such as shrimp or lobster meat; cured meats like ham or salami; and firm or crumbly cheeses. Cooked, rinsed, and drained beans such as garbanzos, kidney beans, or black beans are also good additions, needing no chopping.

As for the dressing, vinaigrette is the classic choice, but there's lots of variety possible with it, as well. Depending on the range of salad ingredients and the flavor you want, use balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, red- or white-wine vinegar, Asian rice vinegar; or citrus juice. Olive oil, peanut oil, toasted sesame oil, and canola oil are among the many choices to enrich the dressing.

With that range of choices at every stage of the chopped salad's preparation, it's easy to imagine how many different great salads you can make, from Italian-style chopped salads to Asian chicken salads to Mexican taco salads. And then there's the recipe I share with you here, another favorite in my restaurants: a Greek-style chopped vegetable salad featuring feta cheese and a tangy, creamy vinaigrette enriched with yogurt.

Follow this Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette recipe a few times to get the hang of it before you start making your own variations. Then, go on enjoying delicious chopped vegetable salads all summer long.

Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course

Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette Ingredients

    Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette:

      1/4 cup plain organic yogurt

      1-1/2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

      1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

      1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

      1 garlic clove, peeled

      1/2 tablespoon chopped shallots

      1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

      1/4 cup peanut oil or canola oil


      Freshly ground white pepper


      1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

      1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

      1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

      1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

    Chopped Salad:

      1 cup small organic romaine lettuce leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

      1/2 cup diced organic radicchio leaves

      1/2 cup diced organic haricots verts (slender green beans)

      1/2 cup diced red onion

      1/2 cup diced organic English cucumber

      1/2 cup diced feta cheese

      1/4 cup halved small organic cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

      1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives


      Freshly ground white pepper

Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette Recipe Instructions

    First, prepare the vinaigrette.

    In a blender, put the yogurt, Sherry and red wine vinegars, mustard, garlic, and shallots.

    Blend until smoothly pureed, stopping once or twice if necessary to scrape down the bowl.

    With the machine running, slowly drizzle in both oils until the mixture is smoothly emulsified.

    Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a touch of sugar to balance the acidity.

    Stir in the dill, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

    About 30 minutes before serving, prepare all of the salad ingredients as directed in the ingredients list, taking care to trim everything, to tear the lettuce leaves into uniform bite-sized pieces, and to cut the remaining vegetables into small pieces of fairly uniform size.

    Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add just enough of the dressing to coat everything lightly but evenly. (Reserve remaining dressing in the refrigerator, covered, for another use.) Toss the salad thoroughly.

    Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasonings with some salt and white pepper.

    To serve, mound the salad in chilled individual bowls or serving plates. Serve immediately.


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Greek-Style Chopped Vegetable Salad With Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette Recipe by Wolfgang Puck

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