Apr 1, 2024 - Food and Drink

Bite Club: Portillo's salad with giardiniera

salad

Portillo's spicy chicken salad with giardiniera. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

I didn't think giardiniera belonged on salads — until now.

The bite: Portillo's new spicy chicken chopped salad ($11.99) featuring fried chicken, gorgonzola cheese, purple cabbage, mini pasta tubes called ditalini, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and house dressing.

The intrigue: I was immediately turned off by the iceberg, pasta tubes and creamy dressing, which reminded me of something from my old church potlucks.

Yes, but: I couldn't stop shoveling this blend of crisp lettuce, creamy dressing, crunchy chicken, spicy giardiniera and rich cheese into my piehole.

  • Shockingly, these elements — even the pasta — play super well together.
  • And I'm finally seeing a role for giardiniera in salad.
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