Cowboy Ciao’s Stetson Chopped Salad

One last restaurant review before we head back to Iowa.  Ciao is pronounced, chow. This is one of Ron’s favorite places to eat. I would say it was his ultimate favorite, but since they do not have outdoor seating, I can’t go that far. However, with temps hovering over 100 degrees, eating outside wasn’t real tempting tonight.

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When dining out I usually asked the waiter, what is their most popular item on the menu. Several years ago, when we first discovered Cowboy Ciao, our waiter did not steer us wrong. She told us that people come from all over the US to eat their Stetson Chopped Salad. I really didn’t believe it could be that popular, until I later discovered a online food forum dedicated to the famous salad.


After tasting it for the first time several years ago, I scoured the Internet trying to find a copy cat recipe. I was determined to prepare this salad for our Thanksgiving dinner. I found several recipes and had so much fun finding these unique ingredients, preparing and serving this colorful salad. You definitely want your guests to enjoy the beauty of  this salad before you toss it together. You will be amazed at the flavors and textures.  It is an All American Winner!


Stetson Chopped Salad

1 c. cooked Israelli couscous
1/2 c. diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 c. dried sweet corn
1 c. chopped arugula
2 oz. smoked salmon, diced (could substitute chicken if you don’t like smoked salmon)
1/2 c. Asiago cheese
1/4 c. dried currants
1/4 c. toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Arrange ingredients in separate rows on a large platter. Toss salad at the table, with the following dressing.

1/4 c. basil pesto
1/2 c. mayo
1 shallot
1/2 c. buttermilk
juice of one lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Place all in blender and blend. Will keep in fridge for up to a week.

Ron and I shared this salad tonight and being the creature of habit that I am, I ordered the same thing I always do…seared scallops on roasted beet risotto. It is difficult to see from the photo, but it is surrounded by a dill cream sauce. It is actually an appetizer, or small plate, but it leaves me fully satisfied! It has fabulous flavor and I will order it again next time we visit Cowboy Ciao.


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5 Responses to Cowboy Ciao’s Stetson Chopped Salad

  1. Kendra says:

    Yes Jane, this is one of the best salads I have tasted. Two thumbs up! Thank you for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to have you back in Iowa!

  2. Both of these dishes look incredible. No wonder you like to eat there. I love the idea of the couscous with this salad. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    As for the scallops! Wow don’t those look wonderful! I love the color of the beet risotto with the cream sauce.

    Where is this restaurant located? I’ll have to be sure to stop there for dinner if we’re ever in the area.

  3. Lisa Mueller says:

    Amazing! I am so excited to try and recreate this amazing salad. It will be a fun way to remember our incredible experience there. THANK YOU for everything!

  4. kelly says:

    THank you thank you for this recipe!! We were just in Scottsdale and had 3 amazing meals…one of which was at Cowboy Ciao. Went on line to search for the stetson salad. I am not much of a cook with three small children but I will put forth maximum effort to re-produce this salad! Even if it is only half as good than at the restaurant, it will be better than any salad I have in my repertoire!! Thanks again!

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