If there’s one thing we know, it’s that “salad” is a really loose term. You might immediately associate “salad” with a healthy bowl of leafy greens, but in America, “salad” has grown to mean so much more — and to involve so much more mayonnaise. Tuna salad. Chicken salad. Egg salad. Seriously, no-lettuce salads have probably been fueling the mayonnaise industry for decades.
Despite the excess of fatty condiments, most of these dishes are timeless classics. Think about it. Have you ever been to a barbecue that didn’t serve coleslaw? And while biting into a hot dog is fine and dandy, there’s nothing quite like plopping an extra helping of potato salad on your plate. Or so some people think. In The Daily Meal office, we began chatting about the best and worst “salads” without lettuce and realized there were strong opinions brewing. So we decided to put our heads together and rank them.
We did a deep dive into the world of salads that aren’t, well… salad at all. We included anything and everything considered a “salad” that didn’t have a base of lettuce. We uncovered side dishes and desserts — yes, desserts — that we had forgotten even existed. In determining which salads were the best, we considered taste, texture, and nostalgia. We took into account flavor preferences and how much variety a dish could offer. And in the end, this was our definitive ranking, from worst to best, of all salads that aren’t actually salad at all.