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Favorite House Salad (Sturkey’s Restaurant Copycat)

Like the signature salad from Sturkey’s Restaurant in West Chester, Ohio, this unique House Salad Recipe features toasted almonds, dried cherries, crumbled feta, and crisp salad greens tossed in the BEST creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any meal! 

overhead photo of a large wood serving bowl full of greens with cherries, feta, and almonds and two small wood bowls with salad next to a jar of dressing

My husband and I used to love eating at this restaurant in West Chester called Sturkey’s before they sadly closed. Every item we tried on the menu was incredible but as simple as it may seem, their signature house salad was my absolute favorite.

This wasn’t your typical American steakhouse house salad topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, croutons, and cheddar. Instead, Sturkey’s tossed fresh salad greens, toasted almonds, dried cherries, and feta cheese with an award-winning creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Seriously, SO good. 

Fortunately, recreating this legendary house salad is super simple! You should still be able to order Sturkey’s creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing online, but I also have a Creamy Balsamic Dressing that’s easy to make and pairs perfectly with this house salad! 

If you love a good signature salad, check out my copycat recipes for the Olive Garden Salad, Chicken Salad Chick Grape Salad, and Chicken Salad Chick Broccoli Salad -but first, let’s make my favorite Sturkey’s house salad!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Every bite of this Sturkey’s salad copycat tastes just as awesome as the original. 
  • Only five ingredients (plus salt and pepper), and only 5 minutes to make. 
  • You can easily mix and match the mix-ins with your favorites, switch up the dressing, and so on.  
  • This house salad is an excellent starter or side dish, or add a protein and make it a main dish meal.

Ingredients You’ll Need

ingredients for house salad on a counter top: greens, dried cherries, feta, almonds and creamy balsamic dressing
  • Mixed artisan greens – Artisan greens are usually a combination of whole-head green and red lettuce varieties, including Gem, Oak, and Tango lettuce. They’re often sold in a plastic clamshell with the rest of the packaged salad greens in the produce department. You can also spring mix or butter lettuce here. 
  • Dried cherries – Sweet-tart dried cherries are DELICIOUS paired with rich and tangy feta cheese. Dried cranberries also provide an instant boost of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. 
  • Feta cheese – Crumbled feta cheese elevates this house salad above the rest, but if you don’t have much of a taste for it, see the “Variations” listed below for the best alternatives. 
  • Sliced almonds – I love the complementary crunch that paper-thin sliced almonds bring to this salad, but you can also use chopped or slivered almonds here. 
  • Creamy balsamic dressing – Sturkey’s conveniently began bottling their award-winning creamy balsamic vinaigrette in 2003. Today, you may get lucky and find it through an online retailer, but if not, my Creamy Balsamic Dressing is an excellent dupe. 
  • Salt & pepper – Use coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best flavor. 

How To Make My Favorite House Salad

Step 1: Rinse and dry greens. First, rinse your greens and run them through a salad spinner until the leaves are completely dry. 

Step 2: Combine greens, cheese, and fruit. Add the greens to a large salad bowl, along with the crumbled feta cheese and dried cherries.

Step 3: Toast nuts. Place the sliced almonds in a dry skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very lightly golden and fragrant. Then, immediately add the almonds to the salad bowl.  

Step 4: Toss, season, and serve. Toss with creamy balsamic dressing or serve it on the side, and season with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of salt. Enjoy! 

close up of a bowl of house salad drizzled with creamy balsamic dressing

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to dry the lettuce leaves thoroughly, so they stay crisp. If you don’t have a salad spinner, lay the leaves in a single layer on a paper towel or clean dish towel, then roll the leaves up in the towel, applying very light pressure. Unroll the towel, and you’re all set.
  • Be careful not to burn the almonds. Once they hit the hot pan, they will toast up very quickly, so be sure to stir constantly and do not leave the pan unattended. 
  • You can also toast the almonds in the oven by spreading them on a cookie sheet and baking at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden. 

Variations

Mix and match the standard ingredients in a Sturkey’s house salad with your favorites. Here are some ideas for inspiration:

  • Cheese – The best cheese on this salad is feta, but if you’d prefer a milder cheese, try halloumi, Parmesan, Gruyere, or a mild white cheddar.  Greek feta is traditionally made with sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. Feta made in the United States is usually made with cow’s milk. Classic Greek feta has a very strong flavor, but feta made in the U.S. has a more mild flavor profile. I personally prefer it, but go with your favorite type of cheese here.
  • Fruit & berries – Swap the dried cherries for dried cranberries, golden raisins, or dates. Fresh fruit is also tasty in house salads. Try grapes, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries.  
  • Nuts – Swap the almonds with pistachios, walnuts, toasted sprouted pumpkin seeds, or pecans. 
  • Dressing – You can use any flavorful balsamic dressing or experiment with other dressings like my Fig Balsamic Dressing, Maple Balsamic Dressing, or Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.   

Serving Suggestions

You can easily upgrade this side house salad to an entree by adding meat to increase the protein content. The following simply prepared meats would be excellent served on top:

Storing

If you have leftover house salad, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy it within 1-2 days. If your house salad isn’t tossed in dressing, it can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. If you have extra homemade dressing, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

Recipe FAQs

How do you make salads at home that taste like restaurant house salads?

Whether you’re making this copycat house salad or any other, there are a few simple tricks to make it taste like it came from your favorite restaurant. 

First, make your dressing. Store-bought simply cannot compare to a good homemade dressing. Two, season your greens! Salt and freshly cracked black pepper give the fresh produce a flavor boost -and third, toss the salad with dressing before plating, so the ingredients are coated evenly but not soggy.

What can I add to this salad for protein besides meat?

To make it a protein-packed meal without the meat, you could add beans, lentils, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, or crisped tofu.

If you love this recipe, I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!

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salad with almonds, dried cherries, and feta in a wood bowl
salad with almonds, dried cherries, and feta in a wood bowl

Favorite House Salad Recipe

This mixed green salad with dried cherries and feta is inspired by my favorite house salad from Sturkey's restaurant in West Chester, OH.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Amee

Equipment

  • 1 Large salad bowl

Ingredients

  • 8 oz mixed artisan greens you can use spring mix or butter lettuce here
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 4 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds lightly toasted
  • creamy balsamic dressing to taste
  • coarse salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Rinse greens and run through a salad spinner until thoroughly dry.
  • Place the greens in a large salad bowl and top with crumbled feta and dried cherries.
  • Place the sliced almonds in a dry skillet and toast for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they begin to smell fragrant and turn very lightly golden. Remove from the pan immediately and pour on top of the salad.
  • Toss with creamy balsamic dressing or serve it on the side. Season with freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkling of coarse salt.

Notes

Cheese tip– The best cheese on this salad is feta, but if you’d prefer a milder cheese, try halloumi, Parmesan, or goat cheese.  Greek feta is traditionally made with sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. Feta made in the United States is usually made with cow’s milk. Classic Greek feta has a very strong flavor, but feta made in the U.S. has a more mild flavor profile. I personally prefer it, but go with your favorite type of cheese here.
More Tips:
  • Be sure to dry the lettuce leaves thoroughly, so they stay crisp. If you don’t have a salad spinner, lay the leaves in a single layer on a paper towel or clean dish towel, then roll the leaves up in the towel, applying very light pressure. Unroll the towel, and you’re all set.
  • Be careful not to burn the almonds. Once they hit the hot pan, they will toast up very quickly, so be sure to stir constantly and do not leave the pan unattended. 
  • You can also toast the almonds in the oven by spreading them on a cookie sheet and baking at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden. 

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1182IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @ameecooks or tag #ameecooks!
Amee Livingston
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