Ensalada Verde (Green Salad) is a traditional component of La Bandera Dominicana --the Dominican lunch, and one of the most iconic Dominican salads.
Step into any Dominican fonda, order el plato del día (the daily lunch dish), and a salad will inevitably be part of it. And of all the salad permutations you could get, this is the one most likely to turn up.
The name most likely does not come from the color of the salad itself, but from verde (green) also used to mean "fresh", or "uncooked". This Dominican cabbage salad only has one cooked ingredient: beetroot. This is probably to contrast it with other salads where all or most of the elements need cooking beforehand.
This cabbage salad is the most iconic of Dominican salads, if only because it's the simplest, and one of the most unique salad combinations in our repertoire, but there are more...
Traditional Dominican salads
Another basic, and very common salad on our table is ensalada hervida (boiled salad), where in contrast with this one, all the ingredients are boiled beforehand.
Ensalada rusa is more closely associated with special occasions, as it's more time-consuming to prepare, and the ingredients are more expensive.
Avocado slices, another favorite, can be dressed up to become a full ensalada de aguacate, and will always be welcome.
Of course, we have a pasta salad: ensalada de coditos ("elbow" salad) using macaroni as the base. Our ensalada de pasta is a creative endeavor, the only rule: it has macaroni (or other short pasta) in it.
On the fancier side, tipili --the Dominican version of the Lebanese Tabbouleh-- is a treat better saved for special days.
Common, but more of an acquired taste, ensalada de molondrones (okra salad) is one of my favorites.
About this recipe
Shredded cabbage, tomato (sometimes green), cucumber slices, and boiled beetroot are the basic blocks of this salad. Sometimes other elements may be added, most commonly thinly-sliced radish, or raw grated carrot. Another version contains lettuce instead of cabbage. A simple olive oil (aceite verde) and fruit vinegar vinaigrette is served as the dressing.
In my family the beetroot was always sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar before serving, and was my favorite part of this salad. This is not a universal thing, but common enough to merit inclusion in my salad.
Ensalada Verde [+ Video] (Dominican Salad)
- 1 beetroot, boiled and sliced thinly
- A pinch of sugar, (optional)
- 2 tomatoes, green or ripe, sliced or or sliced
- ¼ cabbage, shredded finely and rinsed (or ½ head of iceberg lettuce) and rinsed
- 1 large cucumber, (or two small) sliced or diced
- 1 small red onion, cut into thin slices (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of fruit vinegar, (pineapple or apple cider)
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt, (or more, to taste)
- Arrange: Sprinkle the sliced beet with a pinch of sugar. Arrange the vegetables on a platter, including the beetroot.
- Mixing vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, and olive oil. Add salt to taste and stir to combine.
- Serving: Serve salad alongside the vinaigrette. If it will be served later, cover and chill.