Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Catching the Chopped Sandwich Craze

5 classic salads transformed into handheld gold

Catching the Chopped Sandwich Craze

5 classic salads transformed into handheld gold

By Rob Corliss
February 27, 2024

By Rob Corliss
February 27, 2024

Sandwiches have long tapped chopped formats for fresh, crave-worthy fillings. After all, variations of chopped chicken, tuna and egg salad sandwiches are menu mainstays. But last year, a new adaptation made a splash.

Thanks largely to TikTok, the “chopped sandwich” became a viral sensation. Users uploaded videos of themselves cutting up the accoutrement of an Italian salad (deli meats, sliced cheese, veggies and greens), tossing in mayonnaise and Italian dressing, and serving the mixture in a split sub.

Flash-in-the-pan social media craze aside, the chopped Italian sandwich has illuminated a largely untapped opportunity for menu developers—one with the potential for immediate implementation. By converting existing salads into sandwiches and subs, operators not only catch the coattails of a red-hot trend, they also bring a mobile solution to an otherwise sit-down dish. Just make sure the ingredients—particularly the greens—are finely chopped, lest they tumble out of the sandwich carrier.

Furthermore, this new iteration of sandwiches is highly customizable, both in flavors and textures. Housemade dressings and ingredient combinations can sync chopped sandwiches with existing menu themes and cuisines, while seasonal and global flourishes open the door to even more interpretations.

Below are five salad-to-sandwich conversions poised for menu innovation and creative reimaginings.

1

Caesar Salad & Ninja Caesar Sub

Base: finely chopped romaine lettuce + napa cabbage + gochugaru-rubbed smoked pork belly + Asiago-Romano-Parmesan cheese blend shavings + miso-Caesar dressing + sesame hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Autumn: chopped romaine lettuce + shaved Brussels sprouts + roasted turkey breast + roasted pear + grated ricotta salata + dried cranberry-Caesar dressing + honey-wheat hoagie roll
  • Caribbean: chopped little gem lettuce + grilled jerk chicken breast + sofrito + fresh mango + grated pepper jack cheese + Caesar dressing + hoagie roll

2

Cobb Salad > Cali Cobb Sando

Base: chopped kale + roasted chicken thigh + peppered bacon + roasted red bell peppers, avocado + hard-boiled egg + grated smoked mozzarella + creamy honey-mustard dressing + ciabatta roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Summer: chopped spinach + iceberg lettuce + smoked brisket + brown sugar bacon + pickled jalapeño + hard-boiled egg + grated cheddar + barbecue-ranch dressing + cornmeal-dusted hoagie roll
  • Mexican: chopped spinach + frisée + carnitas + chile-dusted bacon + charred poblano + hard-boiled egg + queso fresco crumbles + creamy chipotle-lime dressing + telera roll

3

Green Goddess Salad > Green Goddess Shrimp Sub

Base: chopped green cabbage + Bibb lettuce + English cucumber + watermelon radish + baby shrimp + fresh mozzarella perlini + tarragon-buttermilk dressing + seeded whole-grain hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Winter: chopped radicchio + green leaf lettuce + tart apple + rotisserie chicken + fresh mozzarella + scallion-tahini dressing + hoagie roll
  • Indian: chopped napa cabbage + English cucumber + sugar snap peas + tandoori chicken + paneer crumbles + herbal yogurt-chickpea dressing + hoagie roll
Photo Credit: Ascent X Media

Tap into the simple building blocks of the Caprese salad to create a premium handheld with instant appeal.

4

Caprese Salad > Calabrian Caprese Roll

Base: chopped red romaine + fresh Italian basil + fresh heirloom tomatoes + fresh mozzarella perlini + ’nduja + arugula aïoli + ciabatta roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Spring: chopped roasted Roma tomatoes tossed in balsamic syrup + fresh mozzarella, prosciutto + microgreens + basil pesto + sundried tomato aïoli + sourdough hoagie roll
  • Thai: chopped yellow tomatoes + sun-dried tomatoes + burrata + fried calamari rings + Thai basil–peanut pesto + ginger-lemongrass aïoli + baguette

5

Greek Salad > Greek Salad Souvlaki Sub

Base: chopped romaine + arugula + fresh tomato + English cucumber + red onion + grilled lamb souvlaki + feta crumbles + creamy Greek dressing + Kalamata olive aïoli + hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Winter: chopped speckled lettuce + braised fennel + charred red onion + Kalamata olives + pomegranate arils + roasted pork loin + feta crumbles + sun-dried tomato tzatziki + hoagie roll
  • South America: small-chopped red coral lettuce + cherry tomatoes + English cucumber + red onion + green and black olive tapenade + grilled steak + whipped feta + chimichurri + ciabatta roll

Sandwiches have long tapped chopped formats for fresh, crave-worthy fillings. After all, variations of chopped chicken, tuna and egg salad sandwiches are menu mainstays. But last year, a new adaptation made a splash.

Thanks largely to TikTok, the “chopped sandwich” became a viral sensation. Users uploaded videos of themselves cutting up the accoutrement of an Italian salad (deli meats, sliced cheese, veggies, green), tossing in mayonnaise and Italian dressing, and serving the mixture in a split sub.

Flash-in-the-pan social media craze aside, the chopped Italian sandwich has illuminated a largely untapped opportunity for menu developers—one with the potential for immediate implementation. By converting existing salads into sandwiches and subs, operators not only catch the coattails of a red-hot trend, they also bring a mobile solution to an otherwise sit-down dish. Just make sure the ingredients—particularly the greens—are finely chopped, lest they tumble out of the sandwich carrier.

Furthermore, this new iteration of sandwiches is highly customizable, both in flavors and textures. Housemade dressings and ingredient combinations can sync chopped sandwiches with existing menu themes and cuisines, while seasonal and global flourishes open the door to even more interpretations.

Below are five salad-to-sandwich conversions poised for menu innovation and creative reimaginings.

1

Caesar Salad & Ninja Caesar Sub

Base: finely chopped romaine lettuce + napa cabbage + gochugaru-rubbed smoked pork belly + Asiago-Romano-Parmesan cheese blend shavings + miso-Caesar dressing + sesame hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Autumn: chopped romaine lettuce + shaved Brussels sprouts + roasted turkey breast + roasted pear + grated ricotta salata + dried cranberry-Caesar dressing + honey-wheat hoagie roll
  • Caribbean: chopped little gem lettuce + grilled jerk chicken breast + sofrito + fresh mango + grated pepper jack cheese + Caesar dressing + hoagie roll

2

Cobb Salad > Cali Cobb Sando

Base: chopped kale + roasted chicken thigh + peppered bacon + roasted red bell peppers, avocado + hard-boiled egg + grated smoked mozzarella + creamy honey-mustard dressing + ciabatta roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Summer: chopped spinach + iceberg lettuce + smoked brisket + brown sugar bacon + pickled jalapeño + hard-boiled egg + grated cheddar + barbecue-ranch dressing + cornmeal-dusted hoagie roll
  • Mexican: chopped spinach + frisée + carnitas + chile-dusted bacon + charred poblano + hard-boiled egg + queso fresco crumbles + creamy chipotle-lime dressing + telera roll

3

Green Goddess Salad > Green Goddess Shrimp Sub

Base: chopped green cabbage + Bibb lettuce + English cucumber + watermelon radish + baby shrimp + fresh mozzarella perlini + tarragon-buttermilk dressing + seeded whole-grain hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Winter: chopped radicchio + green leaf lettuce + tart apple + rotisserie chicken + fresh mozzarella + scallion-tahini dressing + hoagie roll
  • Indian: chopped napa cabbage + English cucumber + sugar snap peas + tandoori chicken + paneer crumbles + herbal yogurt-chickpea dressing + hoagie roll
Photo Credit: Ascent X Media

Tap into the simple building blocks of the Caprese salad to create a premium handheld with instant appeal.

4

Caprese Salad > Calabrian Caprese Roll

Base: chopped red romaine + fresh Italian basil + fresh heirloom tomatoes + fresh mozzarella perlini + ’nduja + arugula aïoli + ciabatta roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Spring: chopped roasted Roma tomatoes tossed in balsamic syrup + fresh mozzarella, prosciutto + microgreens + basil pesto + sundried tomato aïoli + sourdough hoagie roll
  • Thai: chopped yellow tomatoes + sun-dried tomatoes + burrata + fried calamari rings + Thai basil–peanut pesto + ginger-lemongrass aïoli + baguette

5

Greek Salad > Greek Salad Souvlaki Sub

Base: chopped romaine + arugula + fresh tomato + English cucumber + red onion + grilled lamb souvlaki + feta crumbles + creamy Greek dressing + Kalamata olive aïoli + hoagie roll

Seasonal and Global Riffs

  • Winter: chopped speckled lettuce + braised fennel + charred red onion + Kalamata olives + pomegranate arils + roasted pork loin + feta crumbles + sun-dried tomato tzatziki + hoagie roll
  • South America: small-chopped red coral lettuce + cherry tomatoes + English cucumber + red onion + green and black olive tapenade + grilled steak + whipped feta + chimichurri + ciabatta roll

About the Author

mmROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.

About The Author

Rob Corliss

ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.