Perfect chop salad.

We’re in a season of transition, local produce-wise: still a few cherry tomatoes available, some late-season green beans, a bit of corn, potatoes. The lettuce in my garden is not yet producing (though I’ve seen it at farmers’ markets) — so my favorite salad option in these days that waver between summer and fall is to make an amazing chop salad with whatever ingredients I have on hand.

Generally, I’ll skip the lettuce and instead make my chop salad out of, literally, chopped vegetables. Last week, it was red bell peppers, canned chickpeas, diced avocado, fresh corn off the cob, halved cherry tomatoes and some fresh herbs from the garden.

The thing with creating a great chop salad is to incorporate a variety of textures, but to keep the ingredients fairly similar in size. The chop salad recipe below is more of a suggestion. Include whatever fresh veggies you love, season them well before dressing, and toss them with a simple vinaigrette. Make a meal out of the chop salad by adding diced cooked chicken, slices of leftover grilled steak or cooked shrimp. A loaf of good bread, homemade butter and a nice light red wine make a perfect early-fall supper.

No matter how you toss the chopped salad, you can’t go wrong.

Really Good Chop Salad recipe

For the salad, use any of these ingredients (per serving) or come up with your own additions:

1/4 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut off
1/2 carrot, shredded
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/4 can chickpeas or white beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped iceberg lettuce or baby arugula
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut into pieces and lightly steamed
1–2 new potatoes, diced and lightly steamed
1 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts or salted sunflower seeds
cheese of your choice, crumbled: Feta, blue, goat
fresh herbs of your choice, chopped: basil, chives, tarragon, parsley

1 recipe easy lemon vinaigrette

Combine the vegetables in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the nuts and cheese. Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette into the bowl and toss gently to coat the vegetables lightly with dressing. Serve immediately.

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