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Hold the Salad


My grandfather considered "Salad" to be rabbit food...LOL. He was a wonderful man and lived well into his 80's without them. I think some of these sentiments are still around today. This blog is a more in depth look at what a salad is, because there are many incarnations on menus these days.




A salad is a dish consisting of mixed ingredients, frequently vegetables. They are typically served chilled or at room temperature, though some can be served warm. Condiments and salad dressings, which exist in a variety of flavours, are often used to enhance a salad.

Garden salads use a base of leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula or rocket, kale or spinach; they are common enough that the word salad alone often refers specifically to garden salads. Other types include bean salad, tuna salad, bread salad (such as fattoush, panzanella), vegetable salads without leafy greens (such as Greek salad, potato salad, coleslaw), rice-, pasta- and noodle-based salads, fruit salads and desserts.


Salads may be served at any point during a meal:

When a sauce is used to flavor a salad, it is generally called a dressing; most salad dressings are based on either a mixture of oil and vinegar or a creamy dairy base.


Lettuce salads are meant as a fresh and light appetizer or as a digestive at the end of a meal and include mixes of any variety of leafy vegetables tossed with garnishes of varied textures and a dressing or cold sauce accompaniment. The key to an excellent lettuce salad is combining it with an appropriate dressing and complementing it with fresh garnishes that add color, taste, and texture. The lettuce should be fresh, clean, and crisp. Lettuce salads are combined with proteins, cheeses, and other hearty vegetables to create entrée salads, including Chefs Salad, Cobb Salad, or Salad Nicoise.


Raw or cooked vegetables in various combinations create great options for all types of menus, including salad bars and side accompaniments. These salads can be as simple as fresh tomatoes tossed with salt, pepper, and olive oil or more complex, such as a Moroccan carrot salad with cumin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, and cilantro.

Vegetable salads are an excellent way to use seasonal or excess produce. They are easily sauced with available house dressings and sauces, making them quick to prepare.Most fruits are served raw in salads. They can be combined with an assortment of other fruits or vegetables. They often provide a sweet counterpoint to vegetables.

Remember that fresh vegetables and fruits are loaded with water. Once cut and combined with salt and vinegar, vegetables purge excess water and should be drained periodically.




Salads and Garnishes

Salads are mixtures of various ingredients accompanied by a sauce or dressing. They are a diverse category of prepared foods served as appetizers, side accompaniments, entrees, sandwich fillings, or even desserts. Salads can be prepared with lettuce, assorted vegetables, grains, pasta, fruits, or proteins. They can be simple preparations of fresh lettuces tossed with light vinaigrette or minced or diced meats bound with a mayonnaise-based sauce. Most salads are served cold, but variations include a spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette or a hot slaw salad.

Lettuce Salads

Lettuce salads are meant as a fresh and light appetizer or as a digestive at the end of a meal and include mixes of any variety of leafy vegetables tossed with garnishes of varied textures and a dressing or cold sauce accompaniment. The key to an excellent lettuce salad is combining it with an appropriate dressing and complementing it with fresh garnishes that add color, taste, and texture. The lettuce should be fresh, clean, and crisp. Lettuce salads are combined with proteins, cheeses, and other hearty vegetables to create entrée salads, including Chefs Salad, Cobb Salad, or Salad Nicoise.

Purchasing Lettuces

Fresh lettuces tend to be delicate vegetables with a limited shelf life. Purchase whole heads of lettuce whenever possible for fresh quality and longer shelf life. The fresher the lettuces, the better the taste and the more nutrients they will contain. Buying greens locally often means they are fresher and will have an even longer shelf life than commercially grown greens that are trucked thousands of miles before they get to you. Store lettuces at 40˚F/4˚C and. Cover with an air-tight seal to avoid wilting, and keep head lettuces whole until needed to prolong their life.

Prepping Lettuces

Green lettuces are fragile and must be handled and stored with care. Always inspect lettuces upon delivery and trim or remove damaged or rotting leaves to avoid deterioration of the healthy greens.

Lettuces are cut or torn depending on preference, usually before cleaning. If cutting, make sure the knife is sharp to avoid excess bruising. For the best appearance, process them to a uniform size. Since the lettuces and other leafy vegetables deteriorate quickly,  process only as much as needed for a shift or the day.

Salad Greens

Lettuces often trap grit and dirt within their folds, requiring special attention when cleaning and cutting. Wash all greens before service (some varieties are processed and pre-washed, requiring no further cleaning). To properly clean lettuce, plunge them into a sink full of cool water; add a small amount of ice if desired. Swirl the greens to loosen any grit, allowing the dirt to sink to the bottom. The salad can then be easily skimmed off the top of the water. This process may need to be repeated up to three times, depending on the amount of grit in the lettuce. If the lettuces are slightly wilted, allowing them to sit in warm water will help to revive them.

Rinse and Refresh Leafy Vegetables in Water

Once the lettuces are removed from the water, they should be dried well because excess water will prevent the dressing from clinging to the lettuces and water down the dressing. A spin dryer is most efficient for removing excess moisture. Once cleaned and dried, the lettuce must be appropriately stored in a pan lined with a perforated false bottom or paper towels. Keep the container sealed adequately because lettuce wilt quickly when exposed to air.

Salad Spinner for Removing Excess Moisture

Garnishes for Salads

Garnishes provide a variety of colors, textures, and flavors to a lettuce salad. Keep the ingredients fresh and uniformly sized in appearance. Garnished are only limited by a chef’s imagination. Vegetables (fresh or cooked), fruits (fresh or dried), cheese, proteins (meat, poultry, and fish), croutons, nuts, and seeds are options. Sprouts, flowers, and micro shoots are also possibilities.

Plating Lettuce Salads

It is always best to sauce a lettuce salad during service. Vinaigrettes and heavy emulsion dressings containing oil will quickly wilt the salad if tossed and left to sit for just a few minutes. Use a stainless steel bowl to toss the salads as needed. Add a small amount of dressing; avoid drowning the salad in the sauce. Some garnishes, including fresh vegetables and fruits, can be tossed in the dressing. Plate the salad closely together to create some height on the plate. Add the appropriate garnish and serve immediately. Because salads are raw ingredients meant to be served immediately without heating, use tongs or plastic gloves to avoid sanitation problems.

Vegetable & Fruit Salads

Raw or cooked vegetables in various combinations create great options for all types of menus, including salad bars and side accompaniments. These salads can be as simple as fresh tomatoes tossed with salt, pepper, and olive oil or more complex, such as a Moroccan carrot salad with cumin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, and cilantro.

Vegetable salads are an excellent way to use seasonal or excess produce. They are easily sauced with available house dressings and sauces, making them quick to prepare.Most fruits are served raw in salads. They can be combined with an assortment of other fruits or vegetables. They often provide a sweet counterpoint to vegetables.

Remember that fresh vegetables and fruits are loaded with water. Once cut and combined with salt and vinegar, vegetables purge excess water and should be drained periodically.


Pasta, Grain & Legume Salad

Hearty salads with various starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes are often used as side salads or on buffets and are carbohydrate-rich options that provide a filling accompaniment with sandwiches or other entrees. These salads often include additional cooked or raw vegetables, meat proteins, and a dressing.

  • Roots & Tubers

  • Beans & Lentils

  • Pasta

  • Grains: Rice, Bulgur, Quinoa

  • Bread


Composed Salads

In French cuisine, a Salade Composée is an assortment of ingredients arranged aesthetically on a plate. The ingredients provide complementary and contrasting flavors, textures, and colors. They include cooked proteins like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tuna. The salad is often dressed tableside. Many entrée salads, including Cobb Salad, Salade Nicoise, and Caesar Salad, are variations on composed salads. A successfully composed salad has a balance of colors, flavors, and textures. It frequently includes lettuce, cooked or raw vegetables, meat, poultry or fish proteins, eggs, cheese, potatoes, or beans. Although the dressings are regularly olive oil-based vinaigrettes, other variations can be considered as well.

Deconstructed Salads

A deconstructed salad takes the components of a salad and rearranges them on a plate. Deconstructed salads offer a fresh and different way to think about the typical arrangement of lettuce, garnish, and dressing.

Grilled Salads

Some heartier lettuces, including romaine, radicchio, and escarole, can be lightly grilled and tossed with a dressing. Garnishes of vegetables, croutons, and even cheeses are drilling options for creating different tastes and textures on salads.


Happy Monday, get your day off on the right track with a salad!

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