Growing up in Salt Lake City was awesome, but as you may or may not know, there is no Trader Joes there. I think that I was most excited about our current location when I discovered that there are TWO Trader Joes locations within 15 minutes of my house.
One of my favorite things to get is their Field Fresh Chopped Salad. It is heavenly. Crisp romaine lettuce, pearls of Israeli couscous, chunks of tender chicken, exotic currants, creamy basil dressing, crunchy pecans, and bright bell peppers. Mmmm... I come home with it for lunch almost every time I go to TJ's.
But I said to myself, "Kyle" -- wait... let's try that again..
So I said to myself, "It's a shame my friends back in the SLC are missing out on this action. I should figure out how to make it." So I googled, and came up with what I think comes pretty close. And even if you have nothing to compare it with, you can totally appreciate this awesome, unexpected, hearty salad.
Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing
inspired by Trader Joes and Lunch Club (via tumblr)
romaine salad mix with red cabbage
diced cooked chicken
red bell pepper, diced small
yellow corn (thawed frozen or canned, well drained)
Israeli couscous, cooked according to package directions and cooled
asiago cheese, finely grated
Make dressing by blending together basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mayo, and shallot (I used my immersion blender, but you could just as easily use a regular blender or food processor). Add enough milk to make the mixture pourable -- as runny as you like your salad dressing to be, processing/blending until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust.
To assemble salad, arrange greens on your plate, top with about 1/2 c. diced chicken, 1/4 c. each Israeli couscous, red pepper, and corn, a couple tablespoons each of currants and scallions, and a sprinkling of cheese and pecans.
I'm sure it goes without saying that you then pour over your dressing and devour.