Are you looking for something different to serve on St. Patrick’s Day? Eating an Irish pub salad could be your answer. Like the French’s salade Niçoise, it is a composed salad. Not sure what a composed salad is? Well, it’s a salad where the ingredients are artfully arranged on top of a bed of fresh lettuce. My girls and I love having composed salads since they are so pretty. It also is a creative way to break up the monotony of the typical tossed salad.
Have I piqued your curiosity? Start with a bed of crisp, green lettuce. I used butter lettuce, but you could also use Boston or bibb. Next pick your salad ingredients. This is the fun part. You can use as many as your platter can hold. I suggest having a nice mix of pickled vegetables and fresh – anywhere from six to ten different items.
Oh, I almost forgot – select a cheese. A nice Irish or English cheddar served solo or combined with an Irish blue cheese or French Roquefort will provide additional protein and color. I must confess, my sliced cheddar didn’t make it on the platter for the photo shoot, but we gladly added it when it was time to eat. Once all your ingredients are prepped, arrange them on your platter so they look pretty. Finish this hearty Irish pub salad off with a drizzle of creamy dressing that has tarragon and Dijon in it. Serve this salad with a freshly baked loaf of soda bread or boxty bread. It also is wonderful to eat alongside an Irish chip butty sandwich.
Hungry for more? Check out these great recipes.
- Traditional Irish Colcannon: a delicious take on mashed potatoes.
- Chip Butty on Waterford Blaa: a traditional Irish sandwich that goes well with the pub salad.
- Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Lemon Garlic Butter: an nutritious, low carb side dish.
Irish pub salad is a simple, healthy lunch idea for St. Patrick’s Day alongside soda bread or potato soup. Forget the corned beef and try something new! Fill your plate with green vegetables, boiled eggs, cucumber, pickles beets, and crisp lettuce—all drizzled with the perfect salad dressing.
For the Salad
- 8 butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
- 10 pickled baby beets
- 16 pickled asparagus thin spears
- 8 cucumber slices (roughly half of a cucumber)
- 7 grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
- 1/4 cup sweet onion, sliced
- 8 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
For the Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or malt vinegar
- 2 teaspoons tarragon
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4-5 teaspoons water
- sprinkle of salt and black pepper
- pinch of sugar
Preparing the Ingredients
- Cook the eggs. Filll a small saucepan half full with water and stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to help the eggs not to crack as they cook. Cover and bring to a boil, then gently lower the 3 eggs into the boiling water with a spoon. Lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on askew. Cook for 9-10 minutes, then drain and place the eggs in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and to speed up the cooling. Once cool, peel the eggs and rinse off any shell fragments, then blot each egg dry with a paper towel. Halve the eggs and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Tear off 8 pieces of lettuce. Rinse and blot dry with paper towel. Arrange most of the butter lettuce leaves around the outside of the platter and put one or two in the middle to make a pretty base for the other salad ingredients.
- Get all your salad ingredients ready. Blot dry the baby beets, so the red juice doesn’t bleed. Thinly slice half a cucumber. Rinse and halve the tomatoes. Cut the onion into eighths, then slice to get 12 curved slices. Slice the Cheddar cheese 1/8 inch thick.
Arranging the Salad
- Composing the salad. This is the fun part. Arrange your salad ingredients in a way that looks pleasing to you. You might want to have two sections for most of the ingredients with one section for the cheese and beets. As you can tell from the photo, I forgot to add cheese to the platter. It ended up sitting sliced on the counter.
Making the Salad Dressing
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, tarragon, and Dijon mustard. Sprinkle in the salt and black pepper, then add a pinch of sugar. Gradually add the water to get it the right pouring consistency. Whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Just before serving, drizzle on the homemade salad dressing. Serve immediately with Irish soda bread, Boxty bread, or as a side with an Irish chip butty sandwich.
- If you want, you can score the sides of the cucumber with fork tongs before slicing.
- Other salad ingredients you could use are: Boston or bibb lettuce, pickled green beans, shredded cabbage, and blue cheese.
- If you don’t like a creamy salad dressing, just replace the mayonnaise with oil, change the rice vinegar to white wine vinegar, and adjust your seasonings to taste.
- Any leftover salad can be served the next day with smoked salmon.