Survey Reveals How Often The Average American Eats Salad

Salads may seem like the quintessential American meal, but Food Timeline tells us history doesn't view the bowl of greens in quite the same way. Mankind's first salads were actually consumed in ancient Greece and Rome as greens tossed in some kind of dressing, and the name salad ⁠— which is derived from the word "sal" ⁠— which is Latin for "salt" ⁠— bears witness to that. And while they were also popular during the Renaissance, salads didn't really come into their own ⁠— at least in the United States ⁠— until the 19th century. 

While the first assembled salad was seen to be the "salmagundi" or chef's salad, another early 20th century salad that's still very much around today is the Caesar salad, whose origins, per What's Cooking America, are fairly murky, since two Italian chefs — Giacomo Junia in Chicago and Caesar Cardini in Mexico both lay claim to one of the world's most famous salads. Following on from that was the Cobb salad from the legendary LA eatery The Brown Derby.

A majority share a love for salads

Consuming a plate of raw greens tossed with a bit of flavored fatty dressing may not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but a survey — conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Fresh Express — of 2,000 Americans, found that not only do 62% say they eat salads regularly, but an American can eat as many as four salads a week, via Study Finds, which averages out to a salad every other day.

But the consensus ends there. According to the survey's results, 31% of Americans say iceberg lettuce would be their green of choice as a salad base, while kale was picked as the best foundation for a salad by 23% of respondents. Still, 78% agreed that the "ultimate salad" needed to be chopped, 60% said it ought to be dressed, and over half said it should be presented as a side dish.

Views diverged yet again on whether it should come topped with fruit or vegetables; just over half said they wanted their salad "loaded" with fruit at 57% or roasted veg at 52%. Others also wanted toppings with crunch like croutons or nuts like walnuts and almonds, and tossed with a flavored dressing, including balsamic vinaigrette at 13% and ranch at 11%. Twenty-seven percent of respondents, meanwhile, either eat salads to get their greens in one go, or see them as a healthy option.

All we can say is with all these different opinions, thank goodness we have salad bars today.