Salade Composee: What the Heck is That and Why Should I Make It for Dinner?

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Salade composee, or composed salad, is a great way to serve a healthier, quick dinner, with interest and texture. Trust me, it works.

Salade Composee | Tips and Recipes from Good Cheap Eats

Salade Nicoise

If you grew up in the states in the 70s and 80s, your first idea of salad might have been pretty simplistic. I know mine was: iceberg lettuce, a tomato or two, some croutons, a thick dressing.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved me some blue cheese, and still to this day, adore this style of salad. However, over time, I’ve learned that salads can take different forms. And the salade composee is one of my favorites.

A salade composee is simply a salad in which the ingredients are artfully arranged on individual plates instead of being tossed in one big bowl. And boy can it be utterly delicious!

Salade Composee | Tips and Recipes from Good Cheap Eats

Turkey and Ham Cobb Salad

Salade Composee: What the heck is it and why should I make it?

I think one of the benefits of this kind of salad is that the toppings are all evident. You can see what you’re eating instead of it all being jumbled in a salad bowl. Toppings always fall to the bottom of the bowl, meaning that someone else gets my share of avocado. With a salade composee, you can make sure everyone gets a little of everything.

(And picky eaters, the salade composee style makes it easy for you to omit or to push to the side, the things you don’t like.)

Salade Composee | Tips and Recipes from Good Cheap Eats

Greek Chicken Salad

When I was working in catering, my manager’s mantra was, “Presentation is everything.” While I believe the food better taste good, no matter how good it looks, I do think presentation matters.

The salade composee allows you to present each person at your table with a beautiful arrangement of food. It also allows you to make all the components in advance and assemble right before serving.

Simply place salad toppings on the bed of greens and serve the dressing on the side.

Salade Composee | Tips and Recipes from Good Cheap Eats

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

Salads are some of my favorite meals to make. They contain loads of fresh ingredients and can fit a range of flavor profiles. They are a great quick dinner idea that can suit everyone’s palate.

Be sure to grab some fun salad tools:

Don’t miss the full series: Quick Dinner Ideas!


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    Having been to Germany so many times, I see that they serve this type of salad as a rule no matter what restaurant you go to. You are right in that they are so pretty and I agree with your old manager. Yes, the most important thing is the taste of the food, but I enjoy a pretty presentation as well. For example, I usually sprinkle some paprika and dried parsley around the rim of the plate when I’m serving guests provided, of course, that it would go with whatever I’m making. Also a couple of dots of liquid chocolate around a piece of cake always looks nice. I make salad almost every day and for just my husband and I, I usually just toss everything into a bowl. But when I have company, if I want to make this type of salad, I first put some lettuce in a small pile on the center of a glass salad plate. Then around the pile of lettuce, I put little piles of grape tomatoes, thinly sliced cuccumbers, sliced red bell peppers, shredded carrot, corn, and kidney beans. Then I sprinkle chopped scallions over the whole thing and put out a variety of dressings. It’s like an assembly line on my kitchen table when I’m making them. But the oohs and aahs when we bring them to each person is worth the extra work.

  2. Diana says

    But how do you eat it?! Do you mix it all together on the plate? Put little bits of everything from each pile onto your fork? Eat each ingredient separately? 🙂 I agree, they look delicious and would be a fun change from regular tossed salad. (Am I strange in that there are foods that I have no idea how to get in my mouth properly? Wedge salad is the same way. 🙂 )

    • You eat it however you like. Typically, I move things around with my fork and pick up whatever bites I want. 😉

      • Janet says

        I always eat all the “good stuff” first without any dressing one pile at a time — meat, egg, cheese, tomatoes — and then add the dressing to the remaining mixed greens and veggies. This way I don’t overdo on the dressing and make an otherwise very healthy meal, a very high fat meal.

  3. Anna says

    I grew up with the same type of salad- mostly iceberg lettuce, maybe with a few tomatoes. 🙂 I like my salad to have more variety and substance. I have been wanting to try a few different things that I saw in restaurants, and I like the idea of putting them on individual plates instead of separate bowls.

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