Stetson Chopped Salad

There’s a well-loved restaurant here in Scottsdale called Cowboy Ciao.  As you can probably imagine, they serve Western fare–steaks, chops, and plenty of drinks–all gussied up and modernized.  It’s definitely not the kind of place where you’re likely to leave hungry.  But that doesn’t mean you have to leave completely overstuffed, either.

You see, one of their most popular dishes is actually a salad.  A big, salad, but a salad nonetheless.  This Stetson chopped salad arrives at your table undressed so you can admire the perfectly arranged rows of goodies.  Salty smoked salmon, creamy Israeli couscous, crunchy pepitas, sweet corn, and peppery arugula–it’s all got its rightful place in this outstanding and out-of-the-ordinary dish.  Once all those components are mixed together with the dressing, you’ve got yourself one unique meal.

If you’re a chopped salad love, you’ll want to check out this Italian chopped salad, too.

two white bowls with tomatoes, salmon, corn, arugula, couscous, pepitas, and pesto dressing arranged for a Stetson chopped salad

I messed with the recipe as little as possible.  The only necessary change I made was swapping out the dehydrated sweet corn Cowboy Ciao uses for frozen because I like the fresher, sweeter flavor.  I also lightened up the dressing quite a bit, using a mixture of strained yogurt and low-fat mayonnaise instead of the house-made aioli they use.  Trust me, with all the incredible flavors in this salad, you won’t miss those extra calories one bit.

a white bowl with tomatoes, corn, pepitas, arugula, couscous, salmon and a creamy pesto dressing for a Stetson chopped salad

With sweet corn, salty salmon, crunchy pepitas, and creamy pesto dressing, this Stetson chopped salad is sure to be an instant favorite.

Stetson Chopped Salad

slightly adapted from Cowboy Ciao

seen in Phoenix Magazine, January 2013



For the dressing:

1/4 c. pesto (store-bought or homemade)

1/2 shallot, roughly chopped

1/3 c. strained plain yogurt or Greek yogurt

2 TBSP  low-fat mayonnaise

1/3 c. low-fat buttermilk

1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper, plus more to taste

juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt, to taste


For the salad:

1/2 c. uncooked Israeli (pearl) couscous

1/2 c. sweet corn kernels

1/4 c. Asiago cheese, grated

1/4 c. pepitas

1/4 c. dried black currants

2 oz. arugula, chopped

2 Roma or other preferred tomatoes, chopped

2 oz. smoked salmon, chopped



1.  To make the dressing, blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.  Dressing wil keep as long as expiration dates on dairy products allow.  (Make ahead opportunity!)

2.   Bring 2/3 c. salted water to a boil.  Add couscous, cover, and reduce to simmer 8-10 minutes.  Remove cover and fluff with a fork.  Set aside.

3.  Meanwhile, place corn kernels in a dry skillet.  Cook over medium heat until warmed through but not browned.  Set aside.

4.  In a small bowl, mix together Asiago, pepitas, and currants.

5.  Assemble salads in large, shallow bowls.  Working from left to right, arrange tomatoes, corn, currant mixture, arugula, couscous, and salmon into neat rows.  Spoon about 1/4 c. dressing into a small dish and serve alongside salad.


yield: 2 main course servings

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  1. Courtney
    January 19, 2013 / 3:54 am

    My goodness, my girlfriend gave me this recipe a few years ago and this salad is amazing! I can't wait to make it with the lighter modifications. Loving this salad all the way from Canada….

  2. Natalie
    January 21, 2013 / 1:44 am

    okay this is gorgeous! i bookmarked!

  3. Ammie
    January 21, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    Always looking for ways to keep salad exciting, and this looks like a good way!

  4. Daynomite
    January 27, 2013 / 6:25 pm

    Did you use fresh, canned or frozen corn?

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