Fans of fast casual salad restaurants like Just Salad, Chopt, and Sweetgreen know the beauty of a custom salad. But when it comes to recreating that magic at home, the results can fall a bit limp. Take heart, enthusiasts, because James Beard Award winning chef Nancy Silverton is sharing five ways to ensure your bowl is as beautiful as the one you order.

Silverton cofounded Los Angeles鈥 Osteria Mozza with Mario Batali, which features her popular Nancy鈥檚 Chopped Salad, full of Farmer鈥檚 Market fresh produce including Sweet 100 tomatoes, red onions, pepperoncini, organic sausage, and provolone. The chef has teamed up with Sweetgreen for a version of her famed chopped聽salad, now available at the restaurant鈥檚 86 locations across the country until May of 2018.

There are a few tweaks to the original recipe. Instead of her salad鈥檚 classic iceberg and radicchio base, Sweetgreen鈥檚 rendition has romaine and kale. She kept the chickpeas, red onions, and cherry tomatoes (for a burst of flavor in every bite), and the salad鈥檚 salami (for the first time ever, Sweetgreen is carrying organic, domestically sourced salami just for this salad). Sweetgreen added cucumber for the crunchiness, pickled celery instead of pepperoncini, and Parmesan instead of provolone, but it鈥檚 all still tossed in her famous oregano聽vinaigrette.

If there鈥檚 not a Sweetgreen location near you, or you鈥檙e looking to upgrade your salad game at home, Silverton shared her tips for salad success.


This might seem a little obvious, but it鈥檚 easy to forget. 鈥淭here鈥檚 just a salad waiting for you at the farmers鈥 market,鈥 Silverton told us. She鈥檚 a big believer in fresh and local produce. It鈥檚 kind of her brand.


鈥淔or a chopped salad where you鈥檙e chopping everything, I think that the size and the shape of components needs to complement each other,鈥 Silverton shared. Prep your ingredients in such a way that they can easily be scooped up with every bite, instead of getting a mouthful of just lettuce or having everything fall off your fork.


Silverton salts her lettuce before she put any toppings in. 鈥淎lways before I dress the salad, I season it with Kosher salt and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice,鈥 she explained. This brightens the lettuce and works best when you鈥檙e making an acidic salad.


Emphasize the fresh. Silverton let us in on what herbs she鈥檚 using right now in her salads. 鈥淚鈥檓 finding that in just a really simple green salad, tearing up some mint [or] throwing in some dill sprigs really transforms the salad,鈥 she said.

5.聽dress to impress.

Silverton encourages you to make your own dressing. Not only is it better for you, because there鈥檚 no preservatives or processed oils, but it鈥檚 also super easy to make. 鈥淔or the most basic one, a lemon vinaigrette, mix some shallots, fresh ground pepper, salt, lemon juice, a little bit of champagne vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. It takes less than five minutes, and can go with pretty much everything,鈥 Silverton told us.

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(Photos via Sweetgreen)