Any salad is a dish consisting of small pieces of food mixed with a sauce or dressing. Salads are typically served cold and can incorporate a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, cheese, cooked meat, eggs, mushrooms, grains etc.
The favorite salads use a base of leafy greens like cabbage or lettuce, they are common enough that the word salad alone often refers specifically to garden salads. Other types include bean salad, fix salad, common salad.
The sauce used to flavor a salad is commonly called a salad dressing, well-known types include ranch, Thousand Island, and vinaigrette.
Most salads are served cold, although some, such as south German potato salad, are served warm. Some consider the warmth of a dish a factor that excludes it from the salad category calling the warm mixture a casserole, a sandwich topping or more specifically, name it for the ingredients which comprise it.
Salads may be served at any point during a meal, such as:
* Appetizer salads, light salads to stimulate the appetite 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 heartier fare, such as chicken breast or slices of beef.
* Dessert salads, sweet versions often containing fruit, gelatin and/or whipped cream.