Chopped Salad with Buttermilk-Peppercorn Dressing

I’m broken.

Let me count the ways: My knee? It’s swollen as a grapefruit and throbbing. My sinuses? They’re facing a full-on, no-holds-barred attack from allergy season. And my lady issues? Suffice it to say they’re issues.

It’s times like these that, seriously, I just can’t deal. I mean, the other day, I took 8 different types of pills before noon and I usually steer clear of medicine. So, I don’t need other things complicating life. I don’t need to stand up in the kitchen and cook only to have my knee swell to a whole new citrus class size. Nor do I certainly need my eyes watering so much from who knows which pollen that I look like I’ve just finished watching, “The Notebook.”


Well, back when I first hurt my knee I was dancing a lot — like 40 hours a week a lot. And that’s when I started cooking for myself. Truth be told it was more assembling than cooking because really all I would do is make salad after salad after salad. I’d like to tell you they were uber-creative and that I was some sort of teen salad wonder but that was far from fact. Really all I cared about back then was how to eat as little as possible and still get energy.

I wish I knew about this salad back then because it’s eons beyond those attempts at a meal yet just as quick to prepare. It’s filling, satisfying, and satiating all without being so heavy that you can’t get on with it and, say, dance a half hour later. Nor do you risk getting hunger pangs within an hour of eating and risk spooning the almond butter straight from the jar like you’re hunting for treasure.

Anyway, this is the salad I should have had back then. It’s a vegetarian take on a chopped salad that’s hearty enough to make for a meal. And the dressing? It’s a classic buttermilk dressing with such a flourish of peppercorns that it does that hot-cold, spicy-cool thing like a good raita. Know what I mean?


Chopped Salad with Buttermilk-Peppercorn Dressing Recipe

  • Makes: About 1 cup dressing//4 to 6 servings
  • Total Time: 10 minutes plus time for pickling carrots
  • Hands-On Time: 10 minutes


  • For the quick pickle:
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound baby carrots, trimmed and sliced paper thin
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • For the salad:
  • 6 ounces mixed spicy greens (such as baby spinach, tatsoi, arugula, frisee, and mustard greens)
  • 1 handful roasted and salted almonds
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, medium dice
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, trimmed and sliced into half moons
  • 1 bunch baby spring radishes, trimmed and sliced into half moons


  • For the quick pickle:

Stir together the vinegar, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 15 minutes.

  • For the dressing:

Place all ingredients in a medium nonreactive bowl and whisk until smooth and evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  • For the salad:

Place the greens in a large serving bowl (or individual bowls if you’d prefer) and arrange all the ingredients on top. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of the dressing and serve.

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