Types of Salads and Dressings

A salad contains a mixture of small pieces of foods, usually fruits and vegetables. But there are varieties of salads and they can contain any type of ready-to-eat foods. There are also salad dressings which add taste and enhance the flavor of the salad. Salads and salad dressings are a staple when it comes to culinary and there are many types of salads and dressings that you can make. Some of them are easy and some are quite difficult. 

If you’re into making salads or you want to try making some, you first need to understand what defines the many types of salads and what types of dressings can you make. Once you learn this, you no longer need to visit the store to buy some dressings because you can make your own. To help you out, we are going to give you the different types of salads and dressings. 

Different Types of Salads

Salads can be broken down into three variations which are tossed, composed, and bound. But aside from those, there are also those farinaceous salads. Read on to know more about them.

Tossed Salads

This is probably the most common kind of salad. Tossed salads are prepared by tossing the greens and garnishes like cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. It usually uses green leafy vegetables such as spinach, watercress, and lettuce. When making tossed salads, the greens should be well dried first before tossing. It’s because if the leaves are wet, the dressing won’t properly stick to the greens and it can make the dressing watery and unenjoyable. 

Tossed salads can be garnished with different ingredients like vegetables, fruits, cheese, and nuts. You can also use all kinds of dressings such as vinegar dressings, a light oil, or a hearty hot bacon dressing. When you make tossed salads, you need to make sure that you combine the dressing with the greens at the last possible second to prevent them from becoming soggy. 

When matching salad dressings to tossed salads, keep in mind that if the greens have a more delicate texture and flavor, you need to use a dressing that is lighter and subtler. For stronger flavored greens, you can use mayonnaise-based salad dressings. For lighter greens, it’s best to use vinegar-oil dressings. 

Composed Salads

This type of salad is best for people who love organized things. It is built from the ground up and is arranged carefully to create a beautifully crafted salad. It is composed of four layers which are the base, body, garnish, and dressing.

The base of composed salads is usually salad greens that line or anchors the place where the salad will be served. It is the foundation of the plate. If you will be making a Caesar Salad, for example, Romaine lettuce can be used as the base. 

The garnish, on the other hand, is added to the salad for flavor, color, and texture. One of the ingredients you can use to garnish composed salads is chopped herbs. You can use either warm or cold garnish but remember that choose those that will complement the flavor of the salad you are making. For example, if you are making a Chicken Cesar Salad, you can use chicken, croutons, and lemon for garnish. 

The dressing of composed salads should always complement the salad and not mask it. Composed salads are usually served with the dressing on the side or ladled on its top before serving. It can also be great if you dress the individual ingredients before composing the salad. 

Bound Salads

This type of salad is made by combining cooked meats, shellfish, fish, and or legumes with garnishes and dressing. It is called bound salad because each of the ingredients is bound together in one mass. Aside from those ingredients, it may also include potatoes, pasta, and quinoa as the base. Bound salads are usually heavier and more robust. 

The dressing used for bound salads are usually mayonnaise-based but it thicker vinaigrettes can also be used. It is somehow difficult to standardized the proportions of this type of salad because there are many different kinds of bound salads out there, each having their own varying amounts. 

Farinaceous Salads

The term farinaceous might not be familiar to a lot of people but you’ve likely seen these type of salads before. This salad is usually made with potatoes, grains, or pasta but it is different from a bound salad. It is almost always tossed but can be used as the body for a composed salad. Potato salad is one of the popular among the farinaceous salads out there. 

Different Types of Salad Dressings

Salads wouldn’t be salads without dressings. When it comes to dressings, many things need to be learned and one of those are the different types. Here are the various types of salad dressings that you can use when you make your own salad at home.

Mayonnaise-Based Dressings

If you want a hearty salad dressing, then a mayonnaise-based dressing is best for you. But you need to use robust greens that can withstand mayonnaise because it is a pretty heavy product to use as a dressing. To make this type of dressing work, you need to add different ingredients to it which will change its texture, color, and flavor. You can use sour cream and buttermilk to lighten the mayonnaise bit. Aside from those, you can also add fruit juices, vinegar, vegetables that are minced or pureed, herbs, spices, boiled eggs, tomato paste, garlic, and more. 

Emulsified Dressing

This type of dressing is unique. It is made by combining two liquids that are unmixable like oil and water. These liquids are forced together using lecithin, which is a protein that has the property of being able to combine both water and oil. One of the most common sources of this protein is egg yolks. 

The most common emulsion or emulsified dressing is mayonnaise. Whip egg yolks until it becomes foamy. Then, slowly add some oil drop by drop while whisking strongly. When the emulsion begins to form, add more oil. You can also use a food processor to make the process faster. The more oil you put into the water un emulsification, the thicker the dressing will be. If you want a thinner emulsion, then use a higher proportion of water. 

Vinaigrette Dressings

This type of dressing comes from classic French Dressing. It is 3 parts oil, 1part vinegar, salt, and pepper. There are many ingredients you can add to this type of dressing like garlic, fruit, and different types of vinegar can be used. If you will be using a stronger flavored oil, using less oil can help balance the strength. To balance the acidity, some dressing recipes need citrus juice to be used in place of all or part of the vinegar. 

Keep in mind that oil and water will not be combined without the help of an emulsifier, therefore, you need to whisk them as close to serving as possible. 

Emulsified Vinaigrette Dressings

This type is a basic vinaigrette dressing that is thickened by emulsification. You can use the proportional guidelines of vinaigrette dressing that we shared above for oil or water to get the desired thickness easily. This type of dressing is perfect for delicate flavors and texture because it is thinner and lighter than a mayonnaise dressing. 

These are the different types of salads and dressings. There are indeed lots of different types of salads and salad dressings aside from those that we can usually buy in stores and restaurants. If you want to introduce something new to your friends and family the next time you make some salad at home, you can try the different types we shared here. If you want to learn about the history of the popular salad dressings out there, then you can also check our posts on the History of Ranch Dressing, Thousand Island Dressing, and Caesar Dressing for more information.