Chef Salad
Easy, Beautiful Party Food

Fresh and colorful, all of your guests will find something they like in our Chef Salad Recipe.

Easy to prepare ahead of time and relatively inexpensive, use your creativity to build and decorate this beautiful salad.

Served with ham and cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, plum tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and your guest’s choice of dressings this is a great salad.

We like to use two kinds of lettuce, usually romaine and iceberg. See what’s on sale and try to add some color when you can.

This is a fun, festive salad. Find a nice place on your buffet table to show off how much you appreciate your guests.


This recipe will feed 50 people, if you are you are serving entrees and/or appetizers. Remember that your guests are going to eat a little over a pound of food per person for dinner. Read about Party Food Quantities and how to plan for the right amounts.

Shopping List for 50 People:

___2 - 12-ounce packages of romaine hearts, pre-washed. These are sold as a 3-pack with romaine lettuce ready to eat.

___2 large heads of iceberg lettuce

___1 pound of sliced American cheese, feel free to and other sliced cheeses.

___1 pound deli style sliced ham

___1 dozen large eggs

___6 large tomatoes – we like to use plum tomatoes

___3 large cucumbers

___2 medium red onions

___1 disposable aluminum pan 12¾” x 20” x 2½”

___1 bag of ice

___3 - 16-ounce salad dressings, assorted flavors

TIP: The “Chef’s Salad” got its name, because it was a salad a chef personally designed. So, now you are the chef! What’s your design? It's your chefs salad recipe too! We’ve outlined the basics, but substitute and add whatever extras you think your guests will like.


One Day Before the Party:

Hard-boil the dozen eggs, using the following method: in a large pot that has a cover big enough to hold all the eggs, carefully stack the eggs, fill with water, shake in some salt and cover.

Heat on high heat until it boils. Allow to boil for two minutes and turn off heat, leaving covered the entire time. Allow to stand, still covered, with no heat, for twenty minutes. After 15 minutes, carefully remove the eggs and, carry to the sink and run under cold water for 5 minutes or more. Drain off water and refrigerate for one hour or more. Remove from refrigerator, peel and wash eggs with water and return to refrigeration.

Wash and peel the cucumbers, slicing them into coins, storing them in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate.

Peel and cut the onions into 8” thick rounds. Store in zip-lock bags and refrigerate.

Cut the sliced cheese into individual pieces, small wedges are fine.

Do the same with the ham, put into zip-lock bags and refrigerate.

On the Day of the Party:

Wash the heads of romaine lettuce, peeling off the outer leaves and removing the inner cores.

Drain completely, transfer to zip-lock bags and refrigerate.

Break the iceberg apart.

Cut the iceberg and romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces.

Carefully arrange into the disposable aluminum pan.

Cut the hard-boiled eggs into quarters length-wise down the middle of the egg. Sprinkle a little salt on them after they are wedged. Set aside.

Wash and cut the tomatoes into wedges.

Try to get 12 wedges per tomato. Set aside.

Assemble the rest of your vegetables, ham and cheese. Decoratively cover the lettuce mix with the ham, cheese, eggs, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. Make this Chef Salad Recipe look great! Cover and store in a refrigerator.

Into three bowls, pour the bottles of salad dressing. Cover and set aside.

Presentation for your Chef Salad: Your Eyes Eat First

Transfer the aluminum pan of salad to your chilled chafing dish.

Put the bowls with dressings nearby with little signs indicating what they are.

Keep the salad covered until just before your guests arrive.


As a leftover, Chef salad recipe has a very limited life. Refrigerate it and enjoy it for the next couple of days.

How about some more Salads?

Ready for some Dinner Party recipes?

Find an Appetizer that will go with your Chef’s Salad

Questions about the Chef Salad? Need an idea for your party? Use the form below to ask us about quantities, substitutions, whatever. We're here to help. Ask a Caterer is free:

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