Ensalada verde is a classic Spanish side salad made in just 10 minutes with fresh greens, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and a simple vinaigrette. It's easily customizable and can be found on tables across the Caribbean.
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If you love Puerto Rican recipes, ensalada verde is the perfect addition to your table.
Here's what you need to make ensalada verde:
For the Salad
- a head of butter lettuce or romaine, rinsed
- cucumber, peeled and sliced into rounds
- tomatoes, sliced
- small red onion, sliced thinly
For the Dressing
- vinegar (white, red wine, or balsamic)
- olive oil
See recipe card for quantities.
Make the salad. Add the lettuce to a large bowl and top with sliced cucumber, tomato, and onion.
Tip: you can make the salad and dressing in advance, keep separate and dress when ready to serve.
Make the dressing. A small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.
Pour over the salad and serve.
The Best Greens for Ensalada Verde
It's traditional to use butter lettuce or romaine for ensalada verde. That said, you can feel free to use any greens that are accessible to you.
Here are some tasty alternative leafy greens to try:
- fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano, & parsley
- dandelion greens
- microgreens & sprouts
Because this salad is so simple, it's extremely customizable.
Here are some of my favorite additions:
- Olives & pickled things - black or green olives can add a really tasty bite when paired with the tomatoes and vinaigrette
- Cheese - adding crumbled feta or cotija cheese adds a fatty creamy note
- Fruit - toss in some blueberries, sliced strawberries, or whatever fresh fruit you enjoy in salads for a sweet kick
You can also skip the onions depending on your preference.
Part of what makes this salad so fun is how it comes out a little different every time depending on what's in your fridge/pantry.
Here are some variations I enjoy:
- Greens - swap out your greens for some crunchy kale and peppery arugula, or add fresh herbs and sprouts to your butter lettuce for variety in your leafy greens
- Dressing - try using your favorite dressing instead of the vinaigrette for a different flavor profile
- Veggies - switch out the veggies with roasted beets, avocado (really adds tto the green color palette), or bell peppers!
What to Eat it With
As mentioned above, ensalada verde is a staple salad recipe in Puerto Rico. You will find it accompanying savory dishes all across the island.
Here are some of the most common dishes to enjoy it with:
- Arroz con pollo
- Arroz con gandules
- Asopao de polllo
- Pinchos de pollo
- Chicharrones de pollo
- Picadillo with rice
If you want to make this salad ahead of time, make the salad and dressing in advance, keep separate and dress when ready to serve.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.