If you are looking for a show-stopping salad, look no further than this delicious Mexican-Inspired Chopped Salad that is filled with chickpeas, chorizo, and cotija cheese!
This recipe is actually written by a friend of mine, McKenzie Mitchell. McKenzie and I connected over instagram years ago and she has become my official recipe tester and extended part of The Defined Dish team, even though she lives in Seattle. She is so talented and we really do have such similar taste/style in cooking. She shared this recipe with me and I knew you guys just HAD to have it. Moving forward, you may see a recipe here and there that I share are written by her. 🙂 Y’all are going to LOVE THEM.
There’s a restaurant in Seattle, Pablo y Pablo, that serves Mexican-inspired dishes with a Pacific Northwest influence. Amongst the banh mi, crab, and salmon tacos, you’ll find the shining star of the menu: The Pablo Chopped. It seems unassuming on the menu, but it’s the combination of chorizo, chickpeas, cotija, and an bright, oregano vinaigrette that makes it special.
Unlike the typical chop salad you get at a local pizza place or a neighborhood restaurant, this salad is meant to be a main dish instead of an afterthought. We’ve taken things up a notch by seasoning and roasting the chickpeas with the chorizo to get them crispy and let the chorizo render in the oven. The chewy chorizo, tangy peppadew, creamy cotija, and crunchy pepitas combine to make the perfect weeknight salad – good enough to be served as a main or served as a side with a grilled protein.
Here, the recipe calls for a pre-cooked, cured chorizo. You can find these near the cured meat section of your local grocer. This is different from the chorizo you can purchase in a casing that is raw or at the meat counter. This looks very similar to dried salami and if you cannot find cured chorizo, cured salami or soppressata will work. When using cured chorizo, don’t forget to peel off the casing before using.
The end result of this salad is absolutely divine and extremely satisfying. Perfect to make for a weekend afternoon hosting friends outdoors, or any night of the week!
If you love this salad, here are some of my other favorite show-stopping salads to try:
Spanish Style Chop Salad
FOR THE CHICKPEAS:
- 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas - drained, rinsed and peeled
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper - plus more to taste optional
- 6 oz. cured chorizo - casing removed and diced into small cubes - I used Gusto Smoked Paprika chorizo
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Honey
- 1 tsp. Dried oregano
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
FOR THE SALAD:
- 4-6 cups chopped romaine lettuce 1 large head
- 4 cups thinly-sliced and de-ribbed lacinato kale I large bunch
- ½ cup peppadew peppers - drained and chopped
- 1 cup thinly-sliced rainbow radish
- 1 Fresno chile thinly-sliced (optional)
- 3 oz. cotija cheese - crumbled
- 1 large avocado - diced
- ¼ cup toasted pepitas
- Salt and pepper - to taste
FOR THE CHICKPEAS:
- Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Using a mesh strainer, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Line a large plate with paper towels and pat the chickpeas very dry. This step is essential to get them nice and crispy! If time permits, peel the skin off the chickpeas and discard.
- Transfer the dried chickpeas to the baking sheet and season with olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, and cayenne if using. Toss until well coated and spread the chickpeas out evenly. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven, and roast for 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, remove from the oven, and add the chopped chorizo, tossing to combine. Roast for an additional 7-10 minutes until the chorizo is crisp and some of the fat has rendered off. Toss the contents of the sheet pan to coat the chickpeas in the juices from the chorizo. Transfer the chickpeas and chorizo to a paper towel lined plate and set aside to cool while you assemble the salad.
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- While the chickpeas are roasting, make the dressing. In a mason jar, shake together olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, honey, oregano, salt, and pepper until well-combined. Add in the shallots and let them pickle in the vinaigrette while the chickpeas finish roasting.
- To assemble, add the romaine and kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to combine, using the tongs to massage the kale to soften. Add the peppadew peppers, radishes, a few more tablespoons of dressing, and Fresno chile. Toss to combine until evenly coated. Add in half of the chickpeas and chorizo, half of the cotija, half of the avocado, and half of the toasted pepitas. Toss lightly to just combine and taste for seasoning, if needed, add the remaining dressing and a pinch of salt.
- To serve, divide the salad amongst four bowls, and top with the remaining chickpeas, chorizo, cotija, avocado, and toasted pepitas.