This is what I would very loosely call a recipe for the salad I’ve been making all summer, and I’ve named it “(Optional) Chopped Salad” because all the ingredients are optional, depending on your taste and what’s available that day. I’ve brought it to BBQs and served it to company, and everyone wants the “recipe,” which makes me giggle. It’s just what you like and what you’ve got, all chopped up nicely in a bowl.

Don’t like olives? Fugettaboutem! Have a few Kirby cukes around? By all means. Rather use goat cheese or no cheese at all? Be my guest. The key is to wind up with a fresh, crunchy, lightly-dressed salad that makes you happy and is pretty good for you.

This salad is clearly an art, not a science, so express yourself and savor the results!

(Optional) Chopped Salad
Orange and yellow bell peppers, chopped (red or green peppers are fine too)
English cucumber, halved, seeded, then quartered and chopped
Radishes, chopped
Red onion or sweet yellow onion, chopped
Cherry or grape tomatoes, or quartered cocktail tomatoes, or a large chopped tomato
Chick peas, rinsed and drained
Edamame, shelled and cooked
Boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached in chicken broth, cooled and chopped
Feta cheese, chopped
Chopped fresh herbs (oregano, parsley or tarragon)
Greek or French olives
Frisé or romaine hearts, chopped

Salt, Maldon or kosher
Ground black pepper
Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Olive oil

Use whichever ingredients you like in whatever quantity you want, and chop everything so it’s fairly uniform in size. Make a single serving or chop up a lot for family-style. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper to taste, then dress lightly with vinegar and olive oil and toss.

Serves: as many people as you make it for

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