A good ensalada mixta recipe ensures the perfect start to any Spanish meal. Melanie shares her tried and true recipe below!
I recall a recent dining experience with my American friends here in the US. We were seated around a table at a restaurant deciding what to order as an appetizer. I raised the idea of sharing a salad and received funny looks from all. “Why,” they asked, “would we share a salad? Isn’t that more of a dish for an individual?” I couldn’t figure out why my suggestion didn’t convince them until it occurred to me that sharing a salad, especially an ensalada mixta, is socially acceptable in Spain but not necessarily in the US.
Across most restaurants and bars in Spain, you will find Spaniards sharing and enjoying as an entrante (a starter/first course or appetizer) the ensalada mixta (“mixed salad”) for lunch or dinner. A traditional ensalada mixta recipe usually includes ingredients such as iceberg or romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, corn, white asparagus, olives, and tuna. Some add beets, artichoke hearts, or even boiled potatoes.
After sampling several Mediterranean restaurants back in the US, I observed how simple yet flavorful ingredients could transform a salad into a colorful and tasty first or side dish. I also became fond of taking salads on the go for a burst of nutrition. The particular combination of ingredients that Spain’s ensalada mixta offers is now one of my favorite salads to make in the US because of its versatility, flavor, and ease.
My Easy Ensalada Mixta Recipe
Tips: Ensalada mixta is such a staple in the Spanish diet that Spaniards consume it year-round! Enjoy making this easy ensalada mixta recipe in any season. To keep this recipe simple, use canned tuna, white asparagus, and corn. However, depending on time and interest, feel free to substitute these canned goods with fresh foods. And keep in mind, there’s really no one right way to make an ensalada mixta! Try experimenting with additional ingredients like red onion, pineapple, stuffed olives, and roasted peppers.
- 1 head of iceberg or romaine lettuce
- 1-2 tomatoes
- 1 carrot
- 2-3 large hardboiled eggs
- 1 can of tuna (the best quality you can find)
- 1 cucumber
- 1 can of white asparagus
- 1 can of corn
- 1 roasted beet
- ½ red onion
- Extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste
- Boil the eggs for about 10-12 minutes. Once boiled, set them aside to cool.
- Wash and dry all fresh produce.
- Arrange a bed of chopped lettuce on a large serving dish.
- Cut the tomato/es into quarters.
- Peel and slice the cucumber.
- Grate the carrot and beet (if using).
- Arrange tomato, cucumber, and carrot evenly across the bed of lettuce.
- Open and drain the cans of tuna, white asparagus, and corn. Arrange evenly across the bed of lettuce.
- Peel the boiled eggs, and cut them into slices. Arrange the sliced boiled egg on top of the other ingredients.
- Drizzle the olive oil and sherry vinegar on top of the ensalada mixta, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Have you ever tried an ensalada mixta recipe? Of its many ingredients, which one is your favorite?
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