Avocado Chronicles: 8: avocado salad

My 7/27/19 posting “Avocado Chronicles: 7 “eatable only as a salad”” explored guacamole as a salad version of the avocado (which one early informant viewed as inedible in any other form).

From that posting:

(#1) Guacamole as a dip; but you can see how it could work as a salad

The dish is sometimes described as a salad, but its standard use these days is as a dipspread. In my 10/13/13 posting  “More dipspreads”, see the section on guacamole.

To recap: on the notion of a dipspread, and on uses of dipspreads as salads. Then: on a class of dishes — bound salads, with egg salad as an example — that are akin to dipspreads used as salads.  And then on to avocado salads that are salad salads.

Dipspreads. From my 7/26/13 posting “Benedictine and its kin”, about

a conceptual category [note: such categories are typically exquisitely culture-specific] I’ll call DIP/SPREAD, for which there is no standard label in English; I’ll use the invented label dipspread. Dipspreads are thick enough to function as spreads

… But dipspreads are also thin enough (or can easily be thinned a bit) to function as dips

… Dipspreads are also thick enough to serve as fillings, particularly for sandwiches, and many are substantial enough to serve as small appetizers, side dishes, or salads. On the other hand, many are thin enough (or can easily be made so) to serve as dressings or sauces.

So we have culturally conventional, standard, uses (guacamole as spread and dip) vs. non-standard but attested uses (guacamole served as a salad, or thinned to allow it to serve as a salad dressing).

Dipspreads used as salads. Two examples: crab dip (cream cheese and lump crabmeat) and  guacamole. A scoop of either can function as a side dish (eaten with a fork, as a salad), or the scoop can be served in a lettuce leaf, or on a bed of mixed greens.

Salads. From NOAD:

noun salad: a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.

This definition doesn’t specify what form the vegetables are in, so that it’s consistent with their being in a coarse paste, though it’s most compatible with their being in chunks, in a composed salad. But there are also bound salads, which are akin to dipspreads used as salads; see below.

The definition also presupposes that the vegetables are the principal ingredients, but in fact in bound salads (and in some composed salads) the principal ingredients are animal proteins (meat or seafood) or carbohydrates, with the vegetables serving in a supportive role.

Bound salads. From Wikipedia:

Bound salads are assembled [from ingredients other than leafy greens] with thick sauces such as mayonnaise [for both texture and taste, they usually incorporate finely chopped celery, onions, green onions, or pickles, plus parsley, dill, or other dried or minced herbs]. One portion of a true bound salad will hold its shape when placed on a plate with an ice-cream scoop. Examples of bound salad include tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, and potato salad [also: macaroni / pasta salad, seafood salads, ham salad, rice salad, cheese salad]. Bound salads are often used as sandwich fillings. They are popular at picnics and barbecues.

(Some functions: as picnic food, on their own; as a side dish at lunch or dinner; as an addition to a green salad; as a sandwich filling (but not for carbo salads, like potato salad, pasta salad, or rice salad).)

An exemplary bound salad. Egg salad. From Wikipedia:

Egg salad is a dish made primarily of chopped hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise, often including other ingredients such as celery or mustard, which is frequently used as a sandwich spread.

(#2) Classic egg salad, from the A Family Feast website (recipe there)

(#3) Egg salad sandwich (from the same site)

It is made mixed with seasonings in the form of herbs, spices and other ingredients, bound with mayonnaise. It is similar to chicken salad, crab salad, ham salad, lobster salad and tuna salad. A typical egg salad is made of chopped hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, minced celery and onion, salt, black pepper and paprika. A common use for it as a filling for egg sandwiches. It is also often used as a topping for a green salad.

Avocado salads. These are salad salads. In which chunks of avocado play a significant role. Turns out that there are tons of them.

First, chunks of avocado are a standard ingredient in a classic Cobb salad. From Wikipedia:

The Cobb salad is a main-dish American garden salad typically made with chopped salad greens (iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives and romaine lettuce), tomato, crisp bacon, grilled or roasted (but not fried) chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and red-wine vinaigrette.

Then, on the net, with recipes, there’s  a corn, avocado, and cherry tomato salad;  and a cherry tomato, avocado, cucumber, and chickpea salad (with feta cheese chunks); and many more. Here are two of these:

From the Natasha’s Kitchen site: cucumber tomato avocado salad:


And then from the Inspired Taste site, their “Easy Avocado Salad”:

(#5) “This salad combines fresh, ripe avocados, crisp cool cucumbers, and a light lime dressing”

Australian breakfast salad. With avocados, of course. A NYT story, with recipe, passed on to me by Betsy Herrington in 2018. (Betsy, alas, died on 3/27/20, so she won’t get to see what I made of her contribution.)

From “The Art of the Australian Breakfast” by Julia Moskin in the Times on 7/24/18:

From the same trend that brought us avocado toast, the breakfasts served in Australian cafes often include bright vegetables arranged in eye-catching ways. Salad is definitely not part of the traditional American breakfast menu, but on a sunny morning the combination of chilled, crunchy greens; protein-rich cheese and eggs; and an eye-opening dressing is hugely appealing. This one was created at Carthage Must Be Destroyed, an airy (and slightly eccentric) Australian-style cafe hidden behind an unmarked entrance in Brooklyn. The chef and owner Amanda Bechara likes to leave the lettuce leaves whole to make it easier to eat with your fingers. (You can prepare the vegetables the day before, and skip marinating the feta if you must.) This would also make a lovely lunch.

The main ingredients (plus herbs and spices, lemon juice, etc.):

marinated feta cheese; 2 hearts romaine lettuce; an avocado in chunks; sprouts; cucumbers (cut into spears or sliced); 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved

5 Responses to “Avocado Chronicles: 8: avocado salad”


    Here’s the original guacamole recipe:
    I used to make great wockamolly, but my wife’s decided she doesn’t like it any more.

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    I’m slightly puzzled by the Wikipedia entry’s use of “sandwich spread” to characterize the frequent use of egg salad. I’d think that phrase would apply more readily to mayonnaise, mustard, etc., spread on the bread of a sandwich to enhance the main ingredients; I’d call egg salad a “sandwich filling”.

    When I was a child, my mother often put chunks of avocado in green salads; at family dinners when the salad came around I would pick out the avocado – not, as one might expect of a child, to avoid it, but to eat it to the exclusion of the other ingredients (I didn’t much care for lettuce at that age).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I agree entirely on the “sandwich spread” question. Peanut butter and jelly are (separately or together) sandwich spreads; egg salad is a sandwich filling.

      • Robert Coren Says:

        Hmm. I think of PB&J as a borderline case, since the peanut butter and/or the jelly is the main event; I’m inclined to reserve “spread” in this context for condiments.

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