It’s been many years since I worked at the Cheesecake Factory but my love for their food remains. I can still picture the end of a night shift where another bartender and myself would perch in the paper room with a plateful of Factory Nachos and our favorite dessert to split, Fresh Strawberry Shortcake (extra biscuit on the side). Back when I worked there they didn’t have the calories listed on the menu and, quite frankly, I didn’t care about calories.
One of the things I’m pretty sure I never ate when I worked there, except possibly during training when we had to try tons and tons of different dishes, is the Factory Chopped Salad. I wasn’t into salads back then, particularly salads made with vinaigrette. Now that I have a more refined palate and am more interested in trying to eat a variety of foods, including more vegetables, I would probably try the Factory Chopped Salad at the Cheesecake Factory, if I were in the mood for a salad. But my philosophy is if you’re eating at the Cheesecake Factory you’re not exactly going for health.
At any rate, I thought I would try to recreate the chopped salad at home mainly because I had a head of lettuce I wanted to use. Chopped salad recipes abound on the internet with many different varieties (Italian, Southwest, etc.) but I was drawn to something more familiar. Familiarity is definitely something I find at the Cheesecake Factory, and since I love so many of their dishes I knew I would love their version of the chopped salad. Here’s my copycat version of the Cheesecake Factory’sFactory Chopped Salad, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty damn good.
(ingredients below are per serving; multiply if you're serving more than 1)
- Chopped romaine or ice burg lettuce (I used about half a head of ice burg)
- 4 oz cooked, diced chicken breast
- 2 oz cooked bacon, crumbled
- 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 oz cooked corn kernels
- 2 oz diced green apples
- 2 oz tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ c. balsamic vinaigrette
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss or in Ziploc baggy and seal; shake to distribute the dressing.
- Mound the salad in a large bowl. Serve immediately.
This salad makes an entrée serving so if you’re using it as a starter you could probably divide this recipe by three or four to get smaller portions. Use the above listed ingredient amounts as a starter. If you like more apples, add more apples. I felt that my salad had a really good ratio of ingredients but was perhaps a little bit light on the corn. I only added about 1.5 ounces of corn though.
I would prefer to use romaine lettuce and you’ll notice the salad at the Cheesecake Factory uses romaine but since I had ice burg lettuce I went with that instead. Despite ice burg lettuce’s apparent lack of nutrients, I actually like a good salad with ice burg lettuce.