A salad is a dish consisting of a mixture of small pieces of food, which may be mixed with a sauce or salad dressing. They are typically served cold, although some, such as south German potato salad, are served warm. Salads may contain vegetables, fruits, cheese, cooked meat, eggs, grains and nuts.
Garden salads use a base of leafy greens like lettuce, arugula, 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, fattoush, Greek salad, and Japanese sōmen salad (a noodle-based salad). The sauce used to flavor a salad is commonly called a salad dressing; well-known types include ranch, Thousand Island, and vinaigrette. Vinaigrette comes in many varieties; one version is a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and seasonings.
Salads may be served at any point during a meal, such as:
Appetizer salads, light, smaller portion-salads to stimulate the appetite as the first course of the meal.
Side salads, to accompany the main course as a side dish.
Main course salads, usually containing a portion of heartier fare, such as chicken breast, salmon or slices of beef.
Dessert salads, sweet versions containing fruit, gelatin, sweeteners or whipped cream, or just fruit, which is called a fruit salad.
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