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Published January 22, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
You will absolutely love this meat-filled vegetable-packed classic chef salad recipe served up alongside a delicious thousand island dressing.
The chef salad has been around for centuries. While it never had a title way back when you can certainly trace salads back to Roman rule times where people would gather nuts, fruits, vegetables, and greens. Fast forward to Louis XIV in Versailles and his beautiful table spreads that were loaded with greens that had cheeses, meats, nuts, and vegetables on them.
If looking for an exact recipe, the best you will find is from Louis Diaz of the Ritz Carlton in New York during the 1930s. I believe Louis provided some context around the recipe and simply made a salad based on what was on the refrigerator. When ordering a chef salad at a restaurant in present times, you will find variations across the board. This is solely based on the restaurant’s interpretations and using what they have on hand or that’s already currently on their menu.
What’s In It?
A classic chef salad is a greens salad that is served with assorted meats, cheeses, and vegetables and coasted in a homemade thousand island dressing. Here are the basic staples in this salad:
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Boston Bibb Lettuce
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Cheese (Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Cheddar, and American)
- Meat (Duck, Turkey, Chicken, and Roast Beef)
How to Make a Chef Salad
Follow these easy to prepare instructions for how to make a classic chef salad from scratch:
Prepare the lettuces by cutting and rinsing. Set them aside.
Cut and prepare all vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
Add the lettuces to a bowl and serve with vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
Serve alongside a thousand island dressing or a dressing of your choice.
If you take a look at all of those ingredients, a chef salad can certainly get extremely expensive. I believe you should pick and choose what you want, see what you have on hand, and then see what’s on sale at the grocery store. I recommend you at least use the lettuce and vegetables as a base and build your own meats and cheeses.
Here are a few things you could add or swap out within a chef salad:
- Romaine Lettuce
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: This salad was meant to be eaten as soon as it’s made.
How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It will only last this long if it is not yet coated with salad dressing.
You can absolutely use whatever salad dressing you like.
More Salad Recipes
Classic Chef Salad Recipe
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bitesize pieces
- 1 head Boston bibb lettuce, cut into bitesize pieces
- ½ seeded and large diced English cucumber
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 4 ounces cubed swiss cheese
- 4 ounces cubed cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces cubed turkey meat
- 8 ounces cubed ham
- 8 ounces cubed roast beef
- 4 peeled and quartered hard-boiled eggs
- 1 peeled, seeded, and large diced avocado
- ½ thousand island dressing recipe
- Add the lettuces to a large serving bowl.
- Next, layer on with cucumbers, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado.
- Serve alongside the thousand island dressing or season the salad with salt and pepper and dress with the dressing and serve.
- Make-Ahead: This salad was meant to be eaten as soon as it’s made.
- How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It will only last this long if it is not yet coated with salad dressing.
- You can absolutely use whatever salad dressing you like.