A salad is a dish consisting of a mixture of small pieces of food, usually vegetables or fruit. However, different varieties of salad may contain virtually any type of ready-to-eat food. Salads are typically served at room temperature or chilled, with notable exceptions such as south German potato salad which can be served warm.
Garden salads use a base of leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula/rocket, 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 (vegetable based, but without leafy greens), and sōmen salad (a noodle-based salad). The sauce used to flavor a salad is commonly called a salad dressing; most salad dressings are based on either a mixture of oil and vinegar or a fermented milk product like kefir.
Salads may be served at any point during a meal:
Appetizer salads—light, smaller-portion salads served 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 a high-protein food, such as meat, fish, eggs, legumes, or cheese.
Dessert salads—sweet versions containing fruit, gelatin, sweeteners or whipped cream.
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