What is a Salad?
What do you think of when I say the word “salad”?
- a bowl of leafy green?
- a variety of chopped fruit in a bowl?
- a bunch of vegetables thrown together?
Is a salad distinguished by its ingredients, its placement within a meal, or its nutritional value?
According to Webster’s Dictionary:
Definition of salad
- any of various usually cold dishes: such asa: raw greens (as lettuce) often combined with other vegetables and toppings and served especially with dressingb: small pieces of food (as pasta, meat, fruit, or vegetables) usually mixed with a dressing (as mayonnaise) or set in gelatin
- a green vegetable or herb grown for salad; especially: lettuce
- a usually incongruous mixture : hodgepodge
This doesn’t really clear it up a all. Not only that, dear Webster forgets salads that are not cold, such as warm potato salad or warm quinoa salad.
So, what about the size of a salad? Does that matter?
The fact is that the size of a salad does not matter at all. Salads can be eaten as a side dish or a main dish – such as taco salad or cobb salad.
Since common perception is that a salad is nutritious, this must be what dictates, right? Hmmm, not so much. Salads can easily be one of the least healthy dishes to eat. Many restaurants, both fast-food and sit-down offer salads on their menus. The presumption being that these are healthier alternatives. But, most of the salads offered are actually higher in fat, sugars, and calories than their other “not as healthy” menu items.
I would like to suggest a new definition for what a salad is:
A combination of ingredients, of varying nutritional value, served either hot or cold as a side dish, main dish or dessert.
Are Salad’s Healthy?
If you want to include a salad with the rest of a meal or eat it on its own, it is important to keep an eye on what it includes:
- What kind of dressing is used? Including lots of oils or sweeteners can seriously increase fat, sugars and calories. Moderation is the key here.
- Does it include nuts or other proteins like meat? Again, moderation is important.
- Dried fruit is very high in sugar.
- A variety of leafy greens provides a variety of important vitamins and minerals.
However you define “salad”, it can be a wonderful addition to any meal, or a meal itself. They definitely do not need to just be a bunch of green stuff in a bowl. Experiment and explore to find what you like.
Check out our salad generator to get some inspiration.