Authentic Stetson Salad Recipe

Stetson salad is my all time favorite salad  The flavors are amazing in it. I’m a fan of chopped salad anyway and often make cobb salad for dinner. However, once I heard about this one I just had to find out more about it. This is definitely my number one favorite now.

The ingredients in a stetson chopped salad recipe are colorful and tasty, and the dressing goes beautifully with the flavors in this salad.

It used to be one of the most popular items on the menu at Cowboy Ciao, a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, which has since closed down.

Stetson Salad Recipe Variations

Depending where you live you might not be able to get all the ingredients for this salad but that’s okay because they’re quite easy to tweak.

If you don’t like smoked salmon, for example, you can use chopped salmon filet or chicken breast in the dish instead. If you can’t get Asiago cheese then fresh Parmesan makes a good substitute. Likewise, you can swap the dried berries for currants or raisins.

Photo by Julie Taylor

Some people swap the pearl couscous (Israeli couscous) for regular couscous or even quinoa, but I love pearl couscous. It’s more like pasta than couscous anyway.

Cook the pearl couscous for 11 minutes though, not 12 (on the package it will probably say 11 or 12) else it gets too sticky and will stick to your hands and the plate when you’re trying to shape the rows.

It’s quite easy to find these days. Just check the pasta and rice aisle, and you’ll see pearl couscous there!

What’s in a Stetson Chopped Salad Recipe Dressing?

The dressing is gorgeous and blends buttermilk, pesto, aioli, and other flavors. You will have some left over but it keeps for a week in the refrigerator so go ahead and make it, then you can use it on future salads.

Stetson salad can be arranged in rows or you can arrange rows on a bed of greens or on a bed of pearl couscous. You can even toss everything together if you prefer to mix it all up.

Sometimes this salad is known as ‘the original chopped salad‘.

How to Make Stetson Salad Recipe Dressing

The dressing for this is what really brings the ingredients to life. You can either make or buy the pesto and/or aioli, depending how much time you have.

I usually use store-bought pesto, but for the aioli I just throw some mayonnaise and garlic cloves into the food processor and make it that way, for a fresher flavor.

The following recipe makes about twice the dressing you need, so either halve it or make it like that and then enjoy it the following day with some veggies for lunch!

Everyone is sure to love this stetson chopped salad recipe. The flavors are soooo good! Oh, and this cobb salad is another winning salad for the warmer months.


Authentic Stetson Salad Recipe

Rows of smoked salmon, cheese, pearl couscous, corn, tomatoes and more are paired with a unique pesto and aioli dressing. This has to be one of the tastiest, most delicious, addictive salad recipes ever.

  • Author: Victoria Haneveer
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 cup (340g) uncooked pearl couscous
  • 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup (180g) roasted dried corn kernels
  • ½ cup (60g) crumbled Asiago cheese
  • ½ cup (60g) salted, roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup (60g) dried blackcurrants
  • 1 cup (50g) chopped arugula or baby spinach
  • 1 cup (200g) chopped smoked salmon

For the Dressing

  • ½ cup (125g) aioli (or just under 1/2 cup or 125g mayo plus a minced garlic clove)
  • ½ cup (125g) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (60g) basil pesto
  • 1 diced small shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Cook the pearl couscous in boiling water for 11 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain it then let it cool.
  3. Combine the Asiago, pumpkin seeds and dried blackcurrants (this will be one row).
  4. Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and whiz to blend.
  5. Taste it and add salt if necessary (it might not need it).
  6. Arrange the ingredients in rows, pushing each to the side with your hand to make space for the next.
  7. Serve with some dressing drizzled over and the rest on the side.


  • Use fresh lemon juice and homemade aioli for the freshest flavor.
  • Stetson chopped salad is best served as soon as it’s made.
  • You can make extra dressing if you like a lot with your salad (I do!)

Keywords: stetson salad recipe, stetson chopped salad, cowboy ciao salad, cowboy chow salad