Can a salad, by definition, include animal protein?

So I got into the most ridiculous online argument last night over whether a salad can be called a salad if it includes meat products. My view is that of course it can, and I cited my own potato salad that has lots of bacon, Caesar salad and even green papaya salad that traditionally includes small crabs.

What say the Dope? Are these examples no longer salads if they are not exclusively plant-based?

You got into an argument with a complete idiot it sounds like. Salad is not exclusively plant based.

Of course it can. Tuna salad, ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, taco salad…the list is endless.

You were arguing with idiots.

As noted, many popular salads include animal protein along with the vegetables, including Caesar salad (anchovies, egg) and Cobb salad (bacon, chicken, eggs). And, there are lots of dishes which are called “salads” that are even less veg-based, including pasta salads, Jello salads, tuna salads, etc.

Even if one looks at definitions in the online dictionaries, there’s nothing in there that says “must only be vegetables,” and both of the examples below explictly mention meats as potential ingredients. For example:


So, yeah, whoever you’re talking to has a non-standard definition of what is and is not a salad.

TIL that Bacos have been discontinued.

There’s your problem right there. You should know that people online can’t be trusted to not be argumentative. You do hang out here, right?

Perhaps the people arguing with you have fallen into the trap of insisting that the meaning of a word can never change.

Sorry, I can’t seem to enter the link, but search on “origin of the word salad”.

I love me a huge steak salad Pittsburgh style.

Don’t forget that mayonnaise and ranch both contain animal products, too. If a salad can’t contain animal products, then ranch isn’t a salad dressing.

The word “salad” only refers to salt. So if it’s not salted, it can’t be salad. :crazy_face:

No one’s ever heard of a chef’s salad?

There’s even word salad. Though you start with a cabbage head, there is nothing of substance, just a lot of hot air.

If I were being pedantic, I would point out that the OP asked about “a salad,” not about “salad.”

Even so, it is absolutely true that a salad can contain animal protein. My cite is the menus of millions of restaurants all over the place.

If I just asked for “a salad” as a side I would expect to receive something like a ceasar salad with lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and dressing. Then be given an option to add things like chicken, shrimp or salmon. Other “salads” would add numerous other things, type of meat being part of desription.

It’s seems everyone agrees with the OP here, so I’m curious if the non-present arguer had any counter-arguments to “What about a cesar salad”.

Was the erroneous person French? In French, besides meaning “salad,” salade can mean simply “lettuce.”

Of course it can.

I can sort of get behind the idea that egg salad, tuna salad, etc. aren’t what I would think of if someone said “salad.” If I ordered something in a restaurant and it just said it came with salad as a side and it turned out to be a glob of tuna mixed with mayo, I would be a bit vexed.

And as an extension, I can get behind the idea that maybe if you’re going to call it a salad, there ought to be at least one vegetable involved. So tuna+mayo+celery=tuna salad, but tuna+mayo=not salad. Although in that case, I don’t know what else it would be called, so… salad it is, I guess.

But swinging back over to what I would consider traditional salads, the idea that they can’t have animal products in them is absurd. A regular lettuce-and-veg salad with bacon or chicken on top is still a salad by any reasonable definition.

Salads seem to be amazingly popular in Puerto Rico. There were signs all along the freeway.

Heh. The old “French Gambit”? Seriously? Never works.

Salad can have virtually any ingredient you want, including meats. There is no Culinary Police that define what salad is. There are definitions as cited above and none of them say, “A salad may not contain…”

I suppose that a salad is generally served cold but I’ve had salads with hot meats on them (salmon, grilled chicken).