Chicago Dog Salad

She said what???? Yep, Chicago Dog Salad. I thought the same thing when my husband came home and told me he had seen this salad at a meeting. It's pretty rare that something in the culinary world shocks me, but I had never even thought of something like this. Which is interesting because I feel like I've turned just about everything else into a salad at some point or another. But never a Chicago Dog...until now! As soon as Michael told me about it, I knew I would have to give it a go.

My sister lives in Chicago so I am well versed in Chicago Dog culture. And it is a culture there. Do not even try to put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago - you will regret it. Woah. That's one mistake I'll never make again! But don't worry. No ketchup here. Just all the ingredients of a perfect Chicago Dog!
I know what you are thinking...Sweet Apple Sausage??? Ok, you're right. They don't use sweet apple sausage in Chicago. My husband was really skeptical too, but you so many salty and spicy elements in this salad that I thought the apple sausage would be a nice balance. Turns out, I was right! When you get a bite with a salty pickle, spicy peperoncini, and hot onion with the sweet, charred sausage to create salad harmony, you'll understand.
This salad is very easy to put together. Just chop up all the veggies and brown the sausage in a skillet. Make sure you use a great big bowl so you can do a good job mixing to incorporate everything.
One of the aspects of this salad I am most impressed with (if I do say so myself) is the dressing. I was just thinking, "what aspects have I missed in this salad that are present in a Chicago Dog," and there it was: mustard and poppy seeds. Mustard because, as we have discussed, it is the only thing acceptable to put on your dog and poppy seeds because of the poppy seed hot dog bun. I toyed with tossing bits of bun in the salad, but I think poppy seeds in the dressing gets the point across just as well - maybe even better!
Since I'm headed to Chicago in two weeks to visit my sisters and the cutest niece in the world, I think I'll have to have this salad a few more times just to get me in the mood!

Recipe: Chicago Dog Salad


  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large hot house tomato, diced
  • 5 pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 10 pepperoncinis, chopped
  • 4 chicken apple sausages
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste, but the pickles add a lot of salty flavor)


  1. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and pepperoncinis. Toss well.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Slice sausages in half lengthwise. Cook sausages until blackened on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Chop sausages and add to salad.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, evoo, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds. You'll probably make more dressing than you can use on one salad, but it keeps well in the fridge for at least a week.
  5. Drizzle over the salad and toss well to combine. Top with another sprinkle of poppy seeds.

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