When choosing a salad entree, your considerations should be the occasion for which you are making your choice as well as the dietary needs of your guests or, if the salad is for your own consumption, your own preferences and needs. The size and ingredients of the salad entree are likewise important factors. In some situations, it may be most appropriate to request a prepared salad entree, while in others a salad bar or customized salads may be the best option.
While many people are accustomed to eating salad as an appetizer, after a meal, or during a meal as a side dish, it is also possible to enjoy a salad as a main course. A salad entree is typically made up of a bed of greens that is topped with several ingredients, including a substantial protein source such as meat, chicken, or seafood. Vegetarian salads may be topped with a meat substitute. Other ingredients that often make up this type of salad include chopped eggs, vegetables, and cheeses. The dish is then drizzled with a salad dressing.
As the protein source is often the most substantial part of a salad entree, you may wish to begin your decision process by selecting the type of meat or meat substitute that you want on your salad. An entree-size Caesar salad, for example, is often topped with chicken, steak, or some type of seafood. If you or your guests are vegetarian or vegan, you may wish to choose a soy- or grain-based meat substitute for the salad. Your choice of other salad garnishes or dressings should be based on whether they are complementary to the protein source.
In situations where those who will be eating the salad have different dietary requirements, it may be wise to choose a restaurant that offers diners the ability to order custom salads. Home cooks can also offer this option to their guests. Diners can be offered large salad plates that they can use to construct salads with the offerings on a restaurant’s salad bar or a home cook’s offerings of several types of salad dressings and toppings. Some restaurants also offer customers the option of constructing a salad entree from a menu of selected ingredients that are then assembled by the restaurant’s kitchen staff. Both of these customized options allow people to enjoy a salad entree that meets their dietary needs as well as their personal taste preferences.