Sonora Cafe-Inspired Chopped Salad

Sometimes when I get in a cooking rut I bring back an old favorite – the chopped salad. This dish is inspired by a salad that was served at Sonora Cafe – a restaurant I worked in many moons ago in Los Angeles, California. I have so many wonderful memories from my days as a waitress there. The cuisine served was an upscale new Mexican-style and it was truly delicious (grilled jumbo gulf shrimp with mole sauce! lobster bisque! southwest sundae!) and I will never forget my time spent there.

Luckily I have been able to maintain many of the friendships that I began while working there as well so it truly feels like a special memory honored every time I make this salad (which was two nights in a row this week! Hey Sonora Cafe peeps!).

Not only is it simple to make but it is an impressive salad to serve guests as well. The original “Sonora Cafe” version was served in a cylindrical form but I serve mine free form, mostly because I don’t have a cylinder form but also because it is easier and when these cooking ruts hit, well, I can’t be bothered.
Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Diced tomatoes
Dices cucumber
Diced avocado
1 corn on the cobb, corn removed
Sugar snap peas, chopped
Blue cheese, crumbled (add to personal taste)
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
Layer everything in a bowl, toss with dressing and serve.
Optional add-ins:
Vegetarian “chicken” nuggets
Chopped grilled chicken breast
You can experiment with your own salad ingredients but the key to this salad is the avocado, blue cheese, and balsamic dressing so be sure to include these. I also added some arugula in the version pictured above since I had some on hand ;-).

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