Movie Inspired Food : 21st Century Chef Salad with Oil and Vinegar on the Side

Are you a movie fan? If you answered yes, you’re probably watching the Oscars on Sunday, February 24, and maybe even having a party. (Thirty nine million people watched last year.) In honor of the Oscars, the Recipe Redux has challenged us to create a healthful recipe that was inspired by a favorite food scene or featured dish from ANY movie.

Wow, that leaves things wide open!  So picking from the millions of movies that have been made for over a century, what pray tell is my favorite food scene? It comes from a  movie that was initially released July 12, 1989 . Talk about dating yourself!   This movie was nominated for one oscar: Best Original Screen Play,  but lost to Dead Poets Society. The movie stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal and poses the still unanswered, often awkward question, “Can men and women ever just be friends?”

You know the cliché, “a picture’s worth a thousand words”, so instead of me explaining the food scene, here is a clip from the actual movie, When Harry Met Sally:

(note this video best viewed in Firefox or Chrome)

I am not going to touch that apple pie à la mode order! Instead, I am going to update the  of chef salad of 1989. The nutrition profile of a chef salad (like any other dish) varies depending on the ingredients used.  In 1989, most chef salads included the following ingredients: bed of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, ham, turkey, cheese, and hard boiled eggs. My goal was to modify this traditional classic salad so it was recognizable, yet bring it closer to meeting modern day nutrition goals. My version changes the base of the salad to a combination of greens. It also swaps chicken for ham; keeps the hard cooked egg and uses a little less of the cheese.   Note this strategy: When a recipe calls for an ingredient such as cheddar cheese that is high in fat, instead of opting for a low fat version and compromising taste, consider  using a small amount of the  regular version. Finally, serve it Sally’s way, ‘oil and vinegar on the side’. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember to check out all the links at the bottom of this post for more movie inspired food ideas!

What’s your favorite food scene from any movie?

    21st Century Chef Salad with Oil and Vinegar on the Side

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 2)

for the salad

  • 6 cups mixed salad greens such as Romaine, red leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula
  • 2 mini cucumbers
  • 4 baby sweet peppers
  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • 1 hard cooked egg
  • 3 ounces cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 oz. shaved sharp or spicy cheese such as sharp cheddar or pepper Jack cheese

for the dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste


for the salad

Combine salad greens into a large salad bowl. Add sliced cucumber, baby sweet peppers and grape tomatoes. Top with slices of hard cooked eggs, chicken and shaved cheese.

for the dressing

Combine oil , vinegar salt and pepper. Serve on the side.

Nutrition Profile for one serving (without oil and vinegar) : 139 calories, 15 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 128 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 4 grams fiber

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