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What's Your Salad Style?

For along time my salads were composed of fancy greens, vinaigrettes with different vinegars, minced shallots, and mustard, and nuts, fruits, baked goat cheese, etc. Then I jumped to large, hearty, American-style salads, piled with vegetables, croutons, cheeses, and Ranch dressing (used to hate it). Now, I am a minimalist. My favorite salad is baby greens with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. I eat it with my breakfast and it provides the most yummy fresh note with eggs, toast, and fruit.

EDIT: Throughout my salad journey I have also gone down the grain salad road - I'm not including that here because it might be another entire thread someday!

What is your salad style? Recipes always welcome!

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  1. In your opinion, is it a salad if it has no dressing?

    Cuz, that's how I roll.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      YES! I ate my salad without dressing for the first couple of decades of my life - I thought it was disgusting. Well, it was, actually. Gloppy orange "french" dressing, for example!!

      1. re: sandylc

        Is it salad if the lettuce is left out?

        When decent lettuce was hard to find or sad looking greens were avail, I started leaving it out. Turns out while I like lettuce in place of bread (egg, tuna or chicken salad rolled in lettuce leaves) I don't really miss it in salad. I like all the add ons about a salad. So now unless I can get nice, simple greens I just make salads with any # of combinations of roasted vegetables, cheese, fresh pears, etc. some lemon juice..

        The only exception is Caesar salad in a restaurant known for making it exceptionally well.

        1. re: HillJ

          When you say "lettuce" are you including things like butter lettuce, or is it just iceberg?

          If it's just iceberg, I don't consider it a salad if it does have iceberg in it. At that point, it's just rabbit food to me.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I'm saying is it considered a green salad with no lettuce at all. Instead sliced cucumber, celery, red onion, roasted beets, etc. No lettuce.

            1. re: HillJ

              I would call that a vegetable salad. I don't consider it a green salad if there are no greens.

              But vegetable salad seems kinda silly and redundant, even though it isn't really.

              1. re: HillJ

                Oh, yes, absolutely.

                In fact, those are my favorite kinds!

        2. re: ipsedixit

          NO! That's just a bowl of leaves!!

          I kid.

        3. my mom always eschewed salad dressings, olive oil, or even lemon juice on salads - dry, dry, dry. but, for better or for worse, that's how i enjoy them still to this day. i like colorful peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and sometimes dill pickles or pickeled jalapenos for an added kick -

          2 Replies
          1. re: ahuva

            I think most people would be surprised how good salads are without dressing.

          2. My salad style depends upon the greens available, the time of year, the heat/cold of the day and what I feel like. That can mean hearts of romaine creamy Caesar with croutons fried in olive oil, arugula with chopped apple in a Roquefort vinaigrette or right now baby greens with olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and zest with a slice of homemade Italian bread. Oh and when frisee looks good, that with a mustard/bacon dressing topped with a poached egg is perfect.

            1. I love veggies and consider many variations wonderful. I prefer full grown lettuces to baby greens and make my own vinaigrette. It always has oil n vinegar, usually mustard unless I'm going a different route. Sometimes i use salsa many types as a dressing instead. Past those I will add fresh or pickled vegetable of many sorts. Unless its a classic ceasar I don't want cheese. Finally frequently a hard boiled egg for the protein.

              1. So many styles and iterations depending on if it is a meal, or a side.

                If it's a side, usually romaine hearts, grape tomaties, some feta and a vinegraitte dressing (Mr. Vuitton makes it); or a greek salad as a side.

                If it is a meal, then the above romaine salad plus chickpeas or kidney beans, olives, shredded carrot, chicken or tofu for protein, perhaps a grain, perhaps a nut or dried fruit.

                Also, if a meal, baby spinach as a base, topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms, blue cheese, a few ounces of steak, fresh pepper, Frank;s Red Hot and Peppercorn dressing

                Another salad meal is biteside baked Ahke and Bake chicken pieces on a bed of iceberg with some grape tomatoes, feta, olives, Franks and Ranch or peppercorn dressing

                Then there is the grain based salads,,,

                I was using baby spinach as a base for all salads for a while, but needed a switch up so I went to romaine

                1 Reply
                1. re: CocoaChanel

                  Ditto. It depends on the purpose of the salad.

                  If it's a side dish with my dinner, then simple leaf lettuce with a mustard vinaigrette. Vinaigrette varies somewhat in terms of what type of oil, what type of vinegar, and whether I add ground flax or wheat germ to the dressing.

                  If salad is the meal, then it expands to include many types of vegetables, maybe some fruits, and a protein source. Still lettuce based, though. The dressing stays the same.

                  Lately I've taken to adding either some leftover pasta, quinoa, or other grain to the same lettuce based + vegetable + protein dish.

                  I have a tough time making grain based salads a complete meal. That said, I can eat leftover quinoa + protein as a quick lunch. The quinoa is usually leftover from last night's meal. So is that just leftovers eaten room temperature, or is it a salad? I think that's where the definition of "salad" starts to hit the edge....