By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
This chopped salad recipe has a mixed vegetable salad base and a delicious vegetable salad dressing—and features hardboiled eggs and chopped vegetables. It might just be the best chopped salad you’ve ever had!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been craving lots of nutritious foods while holed up under quarantine for the COVID-19 outbreak. My fiancé and I have only been going outside for daily walks, and so I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I’m feeling when I’m indoors.
No. 1 on my list? I want to nourish and take care of my body as best as I can. This is one thing I can absolutely control right now when the rest of the world seems to have been thrown into a tailspin of chaos.
Thanks to the folks at the Egg Nutrition Center for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own, as always.
The great thing about this vegetable salad with boiled eggs is that the recipe is super adaptable! So if you find yourself unable to get your hands on all the ingredients, or if you’d like to cut down on food waste to use what you have on hand, you can simply swap those items out.
I’ve included a list of easy ingredient swaps toward the end of this post. Even if you have everything you need on hand, you can use the list of swaps to make more salad recipes that are vegetarian.
Read on to see how to make a chopped veggie salad, what chopped salad tools I recommend, and how to make easy substitutions if you can’t get your hands on all the ingredients listed here.
And of course, because I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ll also be talking about the nutrition benefits of the ingredients! Let’s get started with making this absolutely delicious, great salad.
Nutritional Benefits of Eggs
Whenever I prepare a meal such as this vegetable salad recipe, I aim to include at least one protein-packed ingredient. In this hardboiled eggs with veggies salad, both the eggs and chickpeas boast protein. I’ll get to the other ingredients in a minute, but first let’s chat about eggs.
As a longtime vegetarian (and now a pescatarian), I eat a lot of eggs. They offer many benefits: A large egg offers 6 grams of high-quality protein and is a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients—including choline for brain health, plus lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health.
The really awesome thing about eggs is they fit into pretty much any dietary pattern. This includes a plant-based diet, the Mediterranean diet, and a heart-healthy diet.
For plant-based diets specifically, there’s one really cool thing you may not know about eggs: Pairing them with nutrient-rich vegetables helps your body absorb the vitamin E and carotenoids in those veggies.
By the way, eating a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be eating an only plant-based (aka a vegan) diet. It simply means adding more plants to your snacks and meals!
As for heart-healthy diets, many people are quick to dismiss eggs because they contain cholesterol. But please don’t be so fast to do so! In December 2019, the American Heart Association reinforced the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation to not limit dietary cholesterol in a science advisory it published.
In the advisory, experts say you can safely eat up to one egg a day when following heart-healthy dietary patterns—and vegetarians who don’t eat meat-based, cholesterol-containing foods may be able to eat more eggs, in moderation.
Plus, other research reveals that eating eggs daily can help increase your HDL “good” cholesterol and decrease blood pressure levels.
Eggs fit into the Mediterranean diet, too. They’re the perfect complement to foods that are front and center in the Mediterranean diet, such as vegetables, whole grains, and seafood.
One particularly cool thing about eggs is they have a high amount of choline, which is critical for brain health throughout the life cycle. In fact, eggs contain more choline than most foods out there!
How Do You Hard Boil Eggs?
You may have realized by now that eggs are front and center in this vegetarian salad with eggs. Not sure how to hard boil an egg? I’m here to tell you how!
The fastest way to hard boil eggs? Here’s a method that’s faster than traditional hard-boiling methods: Heat half an inch to an inch of water in a large saucepan over high heat, until boiling.
Then place a steamer insert into the pan. Next, add large eggs using a large spoon or tongs. Cover the pan, and continue cooking for 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool them under cold running water or in an ice bath.
What Vegetables Go in a Chopped Salad?
Now that we’ve established the base of your chopped vegetable salad, you may be wondering what veggies to add. I used a combo of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red onion, and shallot—and a base of romaine, butterhead lettuce, and parsley.
I also included chickpeas, which are a wonderful plant-based ingredient that I added to this recipe for additional protein and fiber!
How Do You Chop Vegetables?
There are many methods for chopping fresh-cut vegetables! I prefer to pre-chop veggies such as onions, shallots, and cucumbers. Then, in a mixing bowl, I’ll use either a vegetable chopper or kitchen scissors to chop the greens.
Some people like even more finely chopped salads and will add pre-chopped vegetables to their bowl of greens and use a salad chopper to make everything into smaller pieces.
When you get to the salad dressing part of this recipe, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Then toss to combine with the romaine lettuce. If you want to top the Italian chopped salad with salt and pepper, go for it. You will love this salad!
Ingredients to Substitute
While you’re in quarantine or sheltering in place for the coronavirus outbreak, it may be difficult to get your hands on everything used in this recipe.
Even I couldn’t buy everything I wanted—I would normally prefer a seedless cucumber but settled on a cucumber with seeds when I made this recipe! Try these substitutions if your local grocery store is out of an ingredient or to simply use what you have on hand.
If you can’t find romaine or butterhead lettuce…buy any lettuce that has some crunch to it.
If you can’t find parsley…go for a leafy fresh herb such as basil, cilantro, or mint. These herbs have a stronger taste than parsley, so you’ll want to use less.
If you can’t find extra-virgin olive oil…use regular olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil.
If you can’t find red wine vinegar…use white vinegar. Balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work, although these vinegars have more pungent tastes.
If you can’t find mustard…you can either leave out this ingredient or you can combine the oil and vinegar with a squeeze of lemon juice or other citrus juice.
If you can’t find chickpeas…any bean will do!
If you can’t find grape tomatoes…try cherry tomatoes, or chop beefsteak tomatoes into smaller pieces. You can even used canned peeled whole tomatoes; you’ll need to slice these.
If you can’t find cucumber…go for zucchini or summer squash.
If you can’t find red onion or shallot…go for any type of onion, or roast a few cloves of garlic.
If you can’t find green or Kalamata olives…any olive or caper will do!
If you can’t find roasted red peppers…roast up any vegetable (try eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, or carrots), slice ‘em up, and add them to your salad.
More Egg Recipes
If you love this vegetarian salad recipe with hardboiled eggs, you’ll also enjoy these recipes that feature eggs:
Without further ado, let’s whip up a delicious chopped vegetable salad with hardboiled eggs!
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how you’re enjoying this boiled eggs with vegetables salad. What other ingredients do you enjoy putting in a veggie salad? What do you like about the boiled eggs and vegetables combination?
What are your favorite green salad ideas, entree salads, and side salads? Tell me about your favorite vegetarian recipes and salad recipes!
Vegetarian Chopped Salad Recipe with Hard-Boiled Eggs
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 romaine hearts
- 4.5 ounces butterhead lettuce
- 1/3 bunch of parsley (about 4 stems), de-stemmed
- 1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 seedless cucumber, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ½ shallot, chopped
- ½ cup pitted green olives, sliced
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced
- 4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
- 8 large eggs, hardboiled and halved
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)
- Place oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl.
- Whisk until well combined; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, place romaine hearts, lettuce and parsley leaves. Use a vegetable chopper or kitchen scissors to chop greens.
- Place a bed of greens in each of four bowls or plates. Top with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber pieces, onion pieces, shallot pieces, olives, peppers, and eggs.
- Season with pepper, as desired; drizzle with salad dressing.
- Top with Parmesan, if desired.
Sat. Fat (grams)5
Did you make this recipe?
- Dietary Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk, American Heart Association
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Intake of up to 3 Eggs/Day Increases HDL Cholesterol and Plasma Choline While Plasma Trimethylamine-N-oxide is Unchanged in a Healthy Population, Lipids
- An Easier and Faster Way to Hard-Boiled Eggs, American Egg Board
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