Salads are an important part of a meal. The colorful combination of salad ingredients can satisfy both your eyes and your palate. Health buffs also love the low-calorie content of vegetable and fruit salads. There are basically four types of salads. When a salad is served at the beginning of a meal, it is considered as an appetizer because it acts a stimulant to the appetite. Remember to keep the portions small so that you won’t feel full. Here is a recipe for a salad to be served as an appetizer for a meal. I named this “Aurora’s Salad” because I learned this from my grandmother, Aurora.
Aurora’s Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Serves 2

1 200-gram pack of mixed greens
1 cup diced ripe mango
¼ cup chopped pine nuts (roasted)

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the mixed greens thoroughly. Drain excess water by placing the mixed greens in a salad spinner. Set aside in a large bowl and chill for at least three hours. Meanwhile, to make the dressing in a medium glass jar, combine the balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Cover the jar tightly and shake the mixture vigorously. Adjust the taste by adding an ample amount of salt and pepper. Remove the mixed greens from the refrigerator. Arrange the salad greens evenly on two salad plates. Divide the mangoes and nuts equally for the two plates and sprinkle over the mixed greens. For the final touch, drizzle the dressing over the salad. Use the dressing sparingly. If there is too much dressing in the salad, the mixed greens will become wilted and soggy.

The next type of salad is as an accompaniment to the main dish. Usually salads of this type should have contrasting colors, textures, and flavors to the entrée. One of the most commonly used salads as a side dish to the main course are cooked vegetables such as string beans or asparagus salad. These are perfectly combined with steaks and roasts. The string beans or asparagus are simply blanched for about two minutes and then shocked in cold water to retain their deep-green color. A pat of butter with salt and pepper is then added for a little flavor. Some might sprinkle sesame seeds for an added garnish.

The third type is a salad used as a main dish. This should be a little heavier than the other types of salads. Adding cooked meat, such as any kind of poultry, fish, pork, or beef will justify its function as an entrée. Combining more cheeses and eggs to the salad greens and meat will complete the salad. The dressings are often mayonnaise-based as they are heavier and can make your stomach full. The portion or serving size of this type is also larger than the other types of salads. You also have the option to add some croutons or nuts to add crunch and texture to the salad.

The last type is a salad served mainly as a dessert.
Typically, this salad is made from fruits and is sweetened with sugar. Cream and milk or other dairy products are added. These are best eaten chilled or frozen.
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