When you hear the word “salad,” you probably think of a big bowl of field greens and assorted raw vegetables. Maybe a caesar salad with chicken and crunchy croutons, or even the classic blue-cheese-covered iceberg wedge.
But cooks in different parts of the world interpret salads in unique ways. Today we’d like to introduce you to five versions of Peruvian salad. Keep reading to take your tastebuds on a trip to South America!
About Peruvian Food
First, a brief primer on this county’s cuisine. As with any culture, the food eaten in Peru is largely determined by its climate. It is also heavily influenced by the influx of explorers from different parts of the world. In fact, Chifa cuisine is an Asian-Peruvian fusion that resulted from an influx of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.
One staple that shows up again and again in Peruvian salads and other dishes is the potato. There are over 3,800 varieties of potato that are native to this country! Other foodstuffs that are ubiquitous in Peru include corn, fish, sweet potatoes, and spicy aji peppers.
Now, on to the salads!
Ceviche is a popular Latin American seafood dish that is often served as an appetizer. It’s designed to showcase fresh fish and, as such, makes a light, refreshing, and healthful dish.
There are many different ways to prepare Peruvian ceviche; the common element that they all share is the use of citrus juice, usually lime or lemon, to “cook” the fish.
It’s important to use the freshest fish you can get your hands on. It is then combined with red or green onion slices, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Plan to serve your ceviche within half an hour of assembling it for best results. Otherwise, the lime juice can “overcook” the fish, causing it to become mushy.
The traditional Peruvian dish called “causa” is akin to a composed salad. It might sound unusual at first blush, but it is worth getting to know!
Causa starts with mashed potatoes, which are seasoned with lime juice and aji Amarillo chilis. The potato forms a base layer of this cold casserole, which is prepared using a ring mold. They are then topped with avocado slices and a mayo-based chicken salad before being capped off with another layer of potato.
Don’t let these unfamiliar flavor combinations deter you. Causa makes for an elegant, impressive meal to serve company or take to a potluck.
Solterito Peruvian Salad
If you like chopped salads, you’ll love this refreshing blend of fava beans, Peruvian corn, tomato, and queso fresco cheese. All the elements of solterito are bite-sized, which means you get a flavor explosion in every forkful.
Like ceviche, solterito is a forgiving and flexible dish. Some cooks incorporate black olives and red onion; others use parsley in lieu of cilantro. Can’t get your hands on authentic queso fresco? You can use feta or mozzarella instead.
And you can customize the level of heat in this appetizer by substituting bell peppers for part of the traditional, spicy rocoto pepper.
Peruvian Quinoa Salad
For thousands of years Peruvian have enjoyed the uses of quinoa in their cuisine. Quinoa is often used in Peruvian soups and stews. Also in desserts and breads. Even a s a replacement for breadcrumbs when frying.
The fact that it is a complete source of protein as well rich in fiber, iron and calcium, makes it a no brainer in healthy Peruvian salads.
Papa a la Huancaina
When it comes to Peruvian cuisine, you won’t find a dish more popular then Papa a la Huancaina.
Simply put, it is a Peruvian salad/appetzier. Made of fresh lettuce, boiled potatoes and boiled eggs covered in a traditional Peruvian sauce called salsa huancaina. This classic recipe delivers a perfect dish that represents everything delicious in Peruvian cuisine.
Which Peruvian Salads Will You Try?
Which of these tempting Peruvian salad choices is most appealing to you? Or are you inspired to throw a Peruvian-themed party and serve them all?
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.