Once upon a summer salad : Summer chopped salad

I meant to share this recipe last week. You remember last week when the sun was fierce and unrelenting and anything other than a t-shirt felt too hot and cumbersome.

Then winter showed up. Now I’m in a sweatshirt and wool socks.

This salad is the product of my favorite cooking strategy: opening the fridge and surveying my options. Last week I had a couple peaches collecting unsightly bruises that wouldn’t have survived another night on the counter; a handful of cherry tomatoes begging to be used; a limp cucumber collecting dust for weeks in the crisper; an oddly shaped wedge of aged pecorino romano. You get the idea.

You may still have some of these ingredients hanging around your kitchen as we transition into cooler weather. You should swap out my suggestions for whatever vegetables you have on hand. Such is the beauty of a seasonal chopped salad.

Take care to chop each component about the same size, except the cheese, which should be cut into small cubes, and the avocado, which you should scoop out with a spoon. The size of the components in a salad dictate the degree of pleasure experienced when eating it, so take good care.

It’s worth noting that the lemon oil I suggest using here is utterly delicious on almost anything. For breakfast, I ate it over yogurt with a handful of granola and a sprinkle of flaky salt. It’s also wonderful over vanilla ice cream with, you guessed it, flaky salt.

Late Summer Chopped Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 heads lettuce, washed, leaves torn
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, striped, de-seeded, diced
  • 1 large sweet pepper or two small peppers, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • Pecorino romano, small diced
  • Sunflower seeds, salted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Villa Manodori essenziale lemon oil


  • 3T Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, or buttermilk
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1t kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Season liberally with salt, freshly cracked pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of lemon oil.

In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Taste for salt. Add all the diced vegetables. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir vigorously with a spoon to break down the avocado a bit. Taste and adjust with more salt/lemon as needed.

Arrange the dressed vegetables over the lettuce in an attractive, eye-catching manner. Sprinkle the diced pecorino and sunflower seeds over the salad. Drizzle liberally with lemon oil and more cracked pepper. Eat with a spoon!

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