The Hospitality Guru: (cooking) Back to Basics - Prepare Salads



Salads can be among the most colourful, flavourful nutritious and eye-appealing items on the menu. A salad can be served as a meal in itself, or as an accompaniment to other dishes.


By strict definition: salads consist of herbs and edible plants, often combined with a dressing, served cold and eaten raw. Today the term “salad” is used much more broadly. Salads include a vast array of cooked and uncooked foods, mostly served cold, but sometimes warm, usually with dressings and garnishes. Though salads are frequently based on leafy greens, they can also include a wide range of other vegetables, fruits, meats, offal, seafood, eggs, pasta and cheese.


Salads can be offered in every food service situation – breakfast, lunch, dinner & supper. On the menu they may appear as an entrée, an accompaniment, a main course or a dessert.

Composition of Salads

Salads usually consist of four parts:

Base: Nearly always some form of salad greens

Body: The ingredients that constitute the main part of the salad.

Dressing: Used to blend the salad ingredients together, to add flavour, and to serve as a lubricant.

Garnish: Adds colour, texture and flavour. Should always complement the other ingredients in the salad.

Classification of Salads

Salads can be classified into two main categories, simple salads and mixed salads.

A simple salad consists of one type of ingredient, combined with or served with dressing. 

Two examples of simple salads with suitable dressing are: 

  • Iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing
  • Tomato salad with Vinaigrette dressing.

A mixed salad consists of more than one type of ingredient, usually mixed together and combined with a suitable dressing.  Two examples of mixed salads are:

·      Waldorf salad – a combination of celery, apples and walnuts, mixed and combined with a mayonnaise.

·      Greek salad – a combination of fetta cheese, olives, cucumber, onions and tomatoes mixed with a garlic dressing.

Salad Distinctions

Some distinctions can be made within the mixed salad.

  • A mixed salad, which is combined with mayonnaise is sometimes referred to as compound salad.  A waldorf salad is an example of this type.
  • A mixed salad where the ingredients haven’t been mixed but separately arranged is sometimes referred to as composed salad.  A neatly arranged seafood salad with an avocado fanned out beside it would be a composed salad.
  • A mixed salad where the body and the dressing are served warm is referred to as a warm salad.  A warm seafood salad, where the seafood is gently sautéed or poached and swerved with a warm dressing, is a good example.

More by this Author

Comments 1 comment

Dionne Baldwin 6 years ago

I LOVE basics. I've been cooking and baking since I was ten years old and it surprises me how little I know about basics. I appreciate this information and I really enjoy a cool, fresh salad any time of the year. My favorite is probably a caprese. Yum!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article