What Is a Salad?
Salad is a general term used to refer to any dish with blended bite-size chunks as its ingredients, especially vegetables, fruits, pasta, fish, and even meat.
Depending on the type of salad, they can be served as side dishes, starter courses, and main dishes if it consists of many protein-rich foods, or even as a palette-cleansing course before dessert, as is the case with green salads in France.
There are many types of salads around the world, but they are mainly put into four categories. This article will give you the details of all these categories and the many types available along with a lot of other things you need to know about salads.
Is Salad Healthy?
Yes, salads are generally healthy, provided that the dressing is applied sparingly. Fruits and dark leafy greens like kales and spinach give a general nutritional boost.
Further accessorizing the salads with seeds, nuts, raw vegetables, and whole grains will add wholesome nutrients and resources like fiber and proteins.
Healthy Salad Dressings
Lots of pre-made salad dressings found at the grocery store have unnecessary additives that may be too much for a simple salad.
However, all you need to prepare a healthy salad is olive oil, black pepper, salt, an acid of your choice (maybe a lemon juice or any form of vinegar), either balsamic or red wine, and maybe a little bit of garlic paste or Dijon mustard for a little flavor and heat.
You can freely experiment with other ingredients like freshly chopped herbs and spices, Greek yogurt, and even capers for a little texture.
Categories of Salads
As aforementioned, salads are grouped into four major categories. Let’s explore;
Vegetable Salads or Green Salads
Green salads are extremely easy to prepare, as they mainly consist of different types of green vegetables including spinach, iceberg lettuce, green lettuce, arugula, romaine, broccoli, and other greens.
To make a green salad, you have to start with the green vegetable of your choosing, then add a simple salad dressing, which could be anything from a thick ranch dressing to a thinner olive oil-based dressing.
The final stage is to blend the mixture for uniform distribution of ingredients. Although they are extremely easy to make, they have a magnificent taste.
You can alternatively make a whole meal out of salad if you choose to incorporate protein-rich foods. Mixed salads are often made by incorporating poultry, seafood, and even meat, making the salad products flavorful and nutritious.
Mixed salad types like Cobb salads and Caesar salads will often have protein-rich additives like grilled chicken, bacon, or cheese, alongside other additional filling foods like boiled eggs and avocados.
As the name suggests, fruit salads are entirely composed of fruits. The most common fruits for this kind of salad are berries, oranges, bananas, and melons.
However, these are not the only fruits you can use. You can customize your fruit salad with whichever fruit you want to be added, and maybe later give it a hint of orange juice to add to the flavor and juiciness.
This salad category is often considered more filling and very nutritious because it incorporates legumes, grains, and, pasta.
Pasta salads, for example, only need some rigatoni or penne with a simple dressing, and the salad is set.
Types of Salads
A Cobb salad is a mixed hearty salad. If you can’t decide what to have for lunch, then look no more. A Cobb salad often entails hard-boiled eggs, ham, mushrooms, bacon, grilled chicken, avocadoes, chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar, Roquefort cheese, and lettuce.
Remember that the lettuce goes first at the bottom of the dish and the other ingredients follow suit atop. After adding all ingredients, you can sprinkle a little bit of blue cheese on top and enjoy your salad.
Since this salad is often very satisfying, it is often regarded as the main course instead of a side dish.
Dressed Herring Salad
Native to Russia, the dressed herring salad is a salad that uses diced pickled herring buried in a mound of boiled and grated vegetables. Among the vegetables used are carrots, potatoes, and any other desired vegetable, not to forget the beetroot which is essential for giving the salad its purple color.
Once the salad is ready, you can add chopped rings of onions and mayonnaise around the dish for a more appealing look and flavor.
A chicken salad is a salad whose basic ingredients are shredded chicken and mayonnaise. Other ingredients that add weight and flavor to the mix include hard-boiled eggs, pickles, grapes, onions, celery, and more.
This salad is extremely easy to prepare, and the beauty about is that you can be as creative as you want. Start with the chicken-mayonnaise base, then you can add other ingredients from there.
Also known as an Arab salad, the Israeli salad recipe is very easy to prepare, often entailing chopped onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, parsley, and tomatoes.
Some other variations of the salad will also include other vegetables like spring onions and carrots. Lettuce is never part of this recipe.
If you wish, you can add a few fresh herbs and olive oil to make the blend colorful.
Although the name can be a bit intimidating, you don’t have to be a top chef to make a chef salad. Preparing a chef’s salad is easier than it sounds.
Although there are many variations to how you can prepare the salad, the defining characteristics for this salad are the bite-sized chopped pieces of the main ingredients like tomatoes, deli meats, carrots, onions, eggs, and radishes laid atop a base of greens to allow all the colorful nature of the other ingredients to shine.
Although you might not get it right on your first try, remember, the key to a good chef salad is its presentation.
The Caprese salad is a classic Italian salad with 3 main ingredients, namely; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Although it might seem simple, the Caprese salad makes the most out of these three ingredients.
You can, later on, add pepper, salt, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to give a burst of flavor to the blend. You can now enjoy your salad as an appetizer or a light lunch.
Leafy Green Salads
As suggested by the name, green salads are generally any salad with greens as the main ingredient, which could be anything from arugula, spinach, iceberg lettuce, and many more.
However, these leafy green salads are often blended with mixed greens like Swiss chard, and romaine, just to mention a few.
These mixed greens are readily available in grocery stores.
Although this salad might not be the healthiest on the list, you might want to try it out sometime.
To make it, you will need ingredients like apples, grapes, celery, and walnuts all blended in small chunks. After blending them, you can add yogurt or a mayonnaise dressing at the top to give it more flavor.
If your kids are never interested in salads, this one might change their minds.
This is an American fruit salad that utilizes either fresh fruits or canned fruits such as mandarin oranges, pineapples, maraschino cherries, and peeled grapes. Although there is no conventional way of going about the preparation of this salad, you might want to add a combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt, or cream cheese for a top dressing. To add more flavor and sweetness to the mix, add mini marshmallows to seal the deal.
Although the salad might be considered vintage, it is still popular in the southern US, especially during Thanksgiving.
New Potato Salad
Since potatoes are arguably some of the best vegetables on the planet, it is with no doubt that their salad is also one of the best.
To prepare a potato salad, boil and smash up the potatoes to the desired size, then blend them up in a bowl with onions, mint leaves, cucumber, and more seasonings.
This will give you one of the best tastes, but the taste could even get better if the potato peels are kept on.
This peppery and crunchy salad is a tossed salad, which implies that the whole salad is dipped in a vinaigrette or dressing. To make a Caesar salad, you will need a classic romaine salad topped with shaved parmesan cheese and croutons, then laced with the signature Caesar dressing.
The Caesar dressing entails a blend of anchovies, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, pepper, garlic, oil, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese. However, for the best Caesar salad, a creamy homemade dressing is what seals the flavor.
The Nicoise salad is native to France. Traditionally, the main ingredients for this salad were hard-boiled eggs, anchovies, tomatoes, and Nicoise olives. However, modern versions have lately incorporated seasonal vegetables and potatoes, all of which complement the original flavor.
Originally from Nice, this French dish can be served either composed or tossed, though you will often find it tossed, especially in olive oil.
This Indonesian salad is a hearty and composed salad with its main ingredients being fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, and steamed vegetables.
For an enhanced taste, a large serving of peanut sauce is also served beside the main dish so you can dip and blend it however you like. A few bites of this hearty salad will keep you energized and fueled up throughout the day.
A wedge salad is quite simple to prepare. You only need a halved or a quartered iceberg lettuce head.
Without shredding or separating the leaves, top it off with crispy pieces of bacon and blue cheese dressing, and there you have your salad.
Native to Guatemala, the Fiambre salad is not an easy one to prepare, but in the end, it is definitely worth the effort.
Traditionally, the Fiambre salad is a special dish made on the Day of the Dead, and each family will often have their own versions of the dish. For this, it is often considered a treat to taste each other’s customized salads.
The list above is in no way an exhaustive list of all the salads around the globe. The list is endless.
Other common salads include Greek salad, Fatoush salad, Italian salad, Panzanella, Southwest salad, karedok, jello salad, Olivier salad, crab louie, lobster salad, crunchy nut coleslaw, and many more.
Salads are diverse and can be customized to your own individual tastes and preferences. Just be careful not to overdo the ingredients, lest you risk messing up your desired flavor.
Have fun preparing the salads of your choice.