These Spanish salads, or ensalada española – more appropriately called ensalada mixta (mixed salad) in Spanish – are a true staple of Spanish cuisine.
Because Mexican, not Spanish, restaurants are so popular in America, people often think Spanish appetizers consist of chips, salsa, and cheese dip.
In reality, most Spanish meals begin with salad, although they aren’t always the standard “lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and croutons” kind.
Whether they’re leafy green or chunky and creamy, salads are just as prevalent in Spain as they are in the United States, perhaps even more so.
And just as we Americans have our Caesar, Cobb, shoepeg corn, and English pea salad varieties, Spaniards also have several popular salads that most everyone knows.
This list contains ten of the most well-known Spanish salads, and they are all incredible.
This hearty salad has a lot of tasty ingredients, so if you like your salads piled high with everything imaginable, you’ll probably enjoy it.
It’s almost like a combination of our garden and Cobb salads, but you’ll also add other ingredients, such as tuna, baby corn, artichoke hearts, and more.
It takes about 30 minutes to make, but it isn’t difficult. You’ll just need to boil the eggs, drain the tuna cans, and cut all those numerous ingredients. It takes some time!
However, the result is an amazingly filling salad packed with all your favorite, flavorful ingredients, so it’s well worth the time.
Most countries have their own versions of potato salad, and Spain is no exception (although their potato salad actually originated in Russia).
It has chunks of tender red potatoes and carrots, soft, smooth eggs, peppers, peas, salt, pepper, mayo, and tuna.
It’s creamy, chunky, and a bit tangy, especially if you add the optional chopped pickle.
It’s ideal for summer cookouts.
This tasty bean and pepper salad is naturally vegan-friendly and gluten-free, and you can whip it up in about 5 minutes with no cooking required.
All you’ll need is cannellini beans, red peppers, onions, capers, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The dish has a savory flavor that’s delightfully earthy and yummy.
And don’t worry, despite the red peppers, it isn’t hot. It’s actually a cool, refreshing salad.
If you enjoy salsa, pico de gallo, or tomato-heavy bruschetta toppings, Spanish summer salad is the dish for you.
It’s best to make it in summer because it tastes so much better with fresh veggies.
But as long as you have tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, and some herbs on hand, you can make it anytime.
It’s a light, garlicky dish that you can use like salsa or any of the other things I mentioned above.
I like to spoon it over rosemary crackers and have it as a midday snack.
When people first see asadillo manchego, they sometimes think it’s a soup or stew instead of a salad.
Instead, it’s a blended salad with red peppers, garlic, cumin, olive oil, and salt.
You can also add a boiled egg if you like, but I usually leave it out.
Because it has such a puree-like consistency, I prefer eating this with thick, crusty bread covered in herbs.
At first glance, trampo may look like the Spanish summer salad, but the two are very different. Trampo is fresher and less herby.
You’ll make it with only five ingredients – tomatoes, green peppers, onions, olive oil, and salt.
As a result, it tastes less like a well-seasoned salsa/bruschetta hybrid and, ironically, more like a raw summer salad.
Both options are equally delicious, though.
This rich, savory salad takes more time to make than most of the other options on the list, but if you enjoy grilled veggies, you won’t mind the wait.
Besides its distinctive smoky taste, xato’s flavor is hard to describe because there are just so many contrasting ingredients in it.
From almonds, hazelnuts, and sea salt to chiles, tomatoes, and endives, xato has a little bit of everything. You can even add anchovies if you like.
The resulting flavor is fresh, earthy, herby, salty, spicy, nutty, and umami-y all at once. It’s such a complicated dish to try to describe.
My advice? Try it for yourself; you won’t be disappointed.
If you enjoy seafood, you’ll have to try the Spanish prawn and broccoli salad.
Aside from prawns and broccoli, there are also onions, olives, peppers, pickles, garlic, and oil.
And the zesty, slightly spicy vinaigrette adds even more layers of yumminess to an already scrumptious salad.
Just be sure not to add the dressing too far in advance; otherwise, your broccoli will darken.
Spanish chickpea salad looks like something you’d eat in an Italian restaurant, but the flavor is 100% pure Spain.
The chickpea base is rich, dense, and filling, while the tomatoes, red peppers, parsley, and onions add a bright burst of garden freshness.
Additionally, the garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil give the whole salad a zesty, well-seasoned finish, and the ham and egg provide some much-appreciated protein.
Of course, if you need something vegan-friendly, you can easily leave out the ham and egg.
You’ll lose a little something in the flavor, but not enough to make the salad anything less than yummy.
I couldn’t finish off this list without adding my favorite type of salad – pasta salad.
Pasta salad may not be the healthiest salad you can eat, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most appetizing, and this simple Spanish salad requires only seven ingredients.
Plus, it takes only 20 minutes to cook the pasta and get the salad ready to eat. However, the reason I love it so much is that the flavors are so intense!
Between the tart, almost fruity, flavor of the Manchego and the rich, smokiness of the sun-dried pesto, char-grilled peppers, and smoked paprika, this dish is phenomenal.
It has something in it to excite everyone’s specific palette, and as a bonus, each serving has a whopping 27 grams of protein.
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