Create Your Own Top 10 Most Popular Salads at Home

Salad Caprese, Oliver, Caesar, Som Tam (Gỏi đu đủ in Vietnam)... are salad appetizers that are loved by many around the world.

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Taste Atlas has curated a definitive list of the top 10 salads based on the votes of readers from around the globe.

What are World's Most Famous Salads?
With a combination of red, purple and green cabbage, this yummy coleslaw dish will win anyone over.

1. Coleslaw (New York, United States of America)

Originating from the Dutch term “koolsla,” meaning cabbage salad, coleslaw has become a beloved American staple. It is commonly served as a side dish with barbecued meat or fried chicken. The dish was introduced to New York state in the 18th century by Dutch settlers.

Coleslaw is a popular side dish made from shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing. The dressing often includes mayonnaise, buttermilk or sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and other seasonings. Depending on the cook and regional variations, additional ingredients such as salad dressings, celery seeds, grated cheese, pineapple, or peppers may be added.

2. Caesar Salad (Tijuana, Mexico)

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The Caesar salad was invented in Mexico.

The Caesar salad is named after Cesare (Caesar) Cardini, the Italian immigrant who created it. Cardini, who resided in San Diego, cleverly evaded Prohibition laws in the United States by establishing a bustling restaurant in Tijuana, located just south of the Mexican border.

During the Prohibition era in the 1920s, Tijuana thrived as a popular destination for Californians, including the Hollywood elite, seeking entertainment and luxury. It was during this time that the inventive Caesar salad was created through resourcefulness and spontaneity, much like many other iconic dishes.

Greek Salad (GREECE, EUROPE)

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A traditional Greek salad consists of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, olives, and feta cheese.

The Greek salad, also referred to as village salad or horiatiki, is considered the national dish of Greece. It is composed of quartered tomatoes, sliced red onions, and robust slices of cucumber. In some variations, there may be additional ingredients such as olives, green peppers, capers, feta cheese, oregano, as well as seasonings like salt and pepper. A classic dressing for this salad is prepared using olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar.

When feta cheese is included in the salad, it is typically sliced or sometimes mixed in with a fork until slightly crumbled. The dish gets its name from its origins as a rural meal, where farmers would bring essential ingredients to the field and combine them together.

Caprese Salad (Capri Island, Italy)

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Caprese Salad is a simple and elegant salad made with alternating slices of juicy, ripe tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.

Nothing embodies the essence of summer in southern Italy like the vibrant colors of the flavorful insalata Caprese, a true classic of Neapolitan cuisine. The perfect combination of ripe, sun-kissed tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil, this simple salad is believed to have originated on the island of Capri, hence the name.

Caprese salad was originally made with Re Umberto or Fiascone tomatoes, which are traditionally grown along the stunning Amalfi coast, and treccia di Sorrento, a type of braided mozzarella cheese. Additionally, it’s important to note that the authentic Caprese salad recipe does not include balsamic or any other type of vinegar.

Som tam (Thailand, Asia)
What are World's Most Famous Salads?
Green papaya salad is consumed in Thailand as Som Tam, whereas in Cambodia it becomes bok l’hong and in Vietnam it is Gỏi đu đủ. In photo is Vietnamese green papaya and beef jerky salad or “Goi du du kho bo”.

Som tam is a green papaya salad that is commonly enjoyed in northeastern Thailand (Isaan), although it is believed to have originated in Laos. This refreshing salad features thin green papaya strips, along with roasted peanuts, green beans, tomatoes, and a tangy sauce made from garlic, chili peppers, fish sauce, dried shrimps, palm sugar, and either lime or tamarind juice.

The varieties of sauce are plentiful and can include various additions. The sauce can also be combined in many different ways, resulting in a range of sweetness and spiciness. Many restaurants and street stalls offer customers the ability to choose their preferred variety and customize the ingredients to suit their taste.

There is still debate over the origins of this invigorating dish, whether it was first created in the northern region of Thailand, specifically in the Isaan region, or if it is an authentic creation from Laos. Some speculate that it was initially invented to make use of the plentiful supply of papayas, and its original version did not include palm sugar as it primarily focused on spicy chili flavors.

Discover the 10 Most Popular Salads in the World
In a spicy-sour som tam you will find crunchy strips of papaya, as well as tomatoes, chilli peppers, beans, dried shrimps and peanuts.

Regardless of its origin, this simple salad has gained global popularity and is now a staple on the menus of traditional Thai restaurants worldwide. It can be enjoyed as a main dish or as a delicious accompaniment to rice, grilled meats, or marinated fish.

In Vietnam, there are two versions of green papaya salad. The first version is made with thinly shredded green papaya and carrot, mixed with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. This dish is a popular street food in Vietnam and is often served with spiced beef jerky. Another variation of the salad includes vinegar, chili, garlic, roasted peanuts, and fresh herbs such as coriander leaves, Thai basil, and Vietnamese mint. It is worth mentioning that the Thai version does not include fresh herbs like the Vietnamese version.

6. Macaroni Salad (Hawaii, United States of America)

What are World's Most Famous Salads?
This classic Macaroni Salad is quick and straightforward to make.

Macaroni salad is a staple in Hawaiian plate lunches. It is a refreshing cold salad made with overcooked elbow macaroni pasta dressed in a tangy and slightly sweet mayo dressing. One key to achieving the perfect texture is cooking the pasta until it is overcooked, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the dressing.

Macaroni salad has a rich history. Some sources suggest that the earliest recorded recipe for this delectable dish was published in 1962. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980s, during the rise of the Nouvelle Cuisine movement, that macaroni salad really started to gain popularity. On the other hand, there are also sources stating that this delightful dish was a beloved staple throughout Mainland America as early as the 20th century. Regardless of its exact origins, there is no denying the enduring appeal of macaroni salad.

There are various regional versions of this popular dish that incorporate additional ingredients such as tuna, tomatoes, onions, parsley, garlic, salami, bell peppers, or shredded chicken. In addition to its traditional appearance in the Hawaiian plate lunch, it is frequently served as a side dish alongside fried chicken or barbecued meat.

7. Tabbouleh (Lebanese Cuisine)

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Tabbouleh is basically parsley salad. There’s technically no lettuce in it. It’s a salad made up of parsley, tomatoes, bulgur wheat, and green onions – all finely chopped and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice!

Tabbouleh is a vibrant and traditional Lebanese dish often categorized as a salad. It boasts a delightful combination of textures, with crisp and chewy elements, courtesy of its fresh parsley leaves, fragrant olive oil, bulgur wheat, and chopped mint. With its roots in the mountainous regions of Lebanon and Syria, tabbouleh can be traced back to medieval times when Arab communities enjoyed the consumption of edible herbs that now comprise this delectable dish.

Tabbouleh is typically served as an appetizer and can be accompanied by pita bread, baba ghanoush, or hummus. The salad can be enhanced with chopped red tomatoes, diced cucumbers, fresh lemon juice, and minced onions, adding a tangy flavor. For optimal taste, it is recommended to refrigerate tabbouleh for a few hours before serving.

Olivier Salad (Moscow, Russia)

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Olivier Salad or Russian Potato Salad (also spelt Olivie/Olivye), a traditional salad in Russia and many other European countries.

The Olivier salad is a traditional Russian dish that features a blend of diced potatoes, vegetables, eggs, and either chicken or ham, all combined with a creamy mayonnaise dressing. It is a staple at New Year’s salad buffets in Russia and other former USSR countries, and is widely enjoyed as a popular appetizer.

The traditional recipe for the Olivier salad, originally created by chef Lucien Olivier in the 1860s at the renowned Moscow restaurant L’Hermitage, has a colorful history. Secretly kept by Olivier until his passing, it is rumored that an employee acquired the recipe by observing the chef’s techniques. As a result, the salad continues to be prepared and enjoyed today.

According to another theory, the recipe for the renowned Olivier salad was created by a valued patron of the restaurant, determined to preserve the salad’s legacy after the chef’s demise. The contemporary version of Olivier salad differs significantly from its original counterpart, formerly known as game bird mayonnaise, which boasted luxurious ingredients like black caviar, capers, poultry, and crayfish tails.

The Olivier salad has undergone changes throughout its history, with many of its gourmet ingredients being substituted for more commonplace items like peas, chicken, ham, and pickles. Presently, the salad offers endless variations, though Russian chefs generally concur that the addition of carrots is considered sacrilegious.

The Olivier salad is commonly known as the Russian salad, and the meatless variation is called French salad or francuska salata, likely named after its French creator. In Spanish cuisine, it is referred to as ensaladilla rusa.

Ensaladilla rusa, a popular dish in Spain, holds a significant place in Spanish gastronomy and is commonly enjoyed in schools and summer camps nationwide. This delectable creation has also become a popular tapa, with some establishments even offering it as a complimentary accompaniment to a beer.

The Piedmontese insalata russa is commonly enjoyed as an appetizer, showcasing various iterations. Some versions might incorporate pickled cauliflower, anchovies, and tuna. Notably, in the Italian town of Carrù, tuna is an essential ingredient in the salad.

9. Fattoush
Country: Lebanon
Region: Asia

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Fattoush is essentially a “bread salad,” said to have originated in Northern Lebanon.

Fattoush is a delectable salad that showcases traditional pita bread as its foundation, complemented with an array of flavorful ingredients. The pita bread is expertly torn or cut into bite-sized pieces, then meticulously toasted, grilled, or fried. It is artfully combined with assorted vegetables including crisp lettuce, radish, refreshing cucumbers, juicy cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes, vibrant peppers, onions, and, on occasion, the delightful addition of garlic.

The ingredients are expertly chopped and meticulously combined with a generous assortment of herbs, particularly mint and parsley. To complete this traditional salad, a dressing is prepared using olive oil, lemon juice, and pomegranate syrup. Adding a delightful twist, sumac, a popular spice found in the Levantine region, is incorporated. Furthermore, the salad features crispy pita bread as a vital component.

10. Chinese Chicken Salad (United States of America, North America)

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The exact origin of “Chinese Chicken Salad” is unknown.

Chinese Chicken Salad, a delightful fusion of American and Asian flavors, is a culinary creation that is often attributed to the renowned Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck. However, some believe that this delectable dish first emerged in the United States during the 1930s. Regardless of its origins, Chinese Chicken Salad has become a beloved and popular menu item, showcasing the perfect harmony of diverse culinary influences.

The salad, which includes romaine lettuce, shredded chicken, vegetables, fried noodles, and almonds, has gained popularity across the United States, regardless of its origins. The inclusion of Chinese-style seasonings, such as soy, sesame, and ginger, accounts for the Chinese influence in the dish’s name.

Salads have evolved significantly, with numerous variations now available, incorporating ingredients like Mandarin orange slices, peanut sauce, and bean sprouts into their composition.