Bound salads, such as potato salad and tuna salad, have a special place in the hearts of consumers, and it’s easy to see why. Creamy and craveable, traditional bound salads have comforting flavors that recall simple, homestyle meals.
However, like many menu items these days, some operators are reinterpreting bound salads with different, intriguing flavors and unexpected ingredients—and by doing so, these familiar dishes can create excitement and appeal and drive sales.
A bound salad’s mayonnaise base is often the starting point for innovation, since it blends so easily with other ingredients. For example, operators can enliven potato or macaroni salad by mixing the mayonnaise with freshly grated lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs such as mint, basil or tarragon. For a German-inspired twist, combine the mayonnaise with crumbled bacon, dill and apple cider vinegar.
Other ways operators can make a bound salad stand out include combining mayonnaise with Caesar salad flavorings such as garlic, Parmesan and anchovy or folding in crumbled blue cheese. These dishes also marry well with bold, global flavors, so operators shouldn’t be afraid to develop forthright flavor profiles such as diced ginger or Sriracha in order to appeal to customers with adventurous palates. Additionally, combining potatoes with other root vegetables such as beets, parsnips or sweet potatoes and make produce center-of-plate.
Additionally, because of the health and wellness trend, as well as upcoming menu labeling regulations, many operators are giving bound salads a healthy twist. Using reduced-fat mayonnaise that has half the fat and calories of standard mayonnaise but all of the premium flavor is the key to success with these lighter versions.
To give macaroni salad a healthful makeover and a Mediterranean-inspired twist, mix reduced-fat mayonnaise with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red pepper, cucumber and basil. Similarly, potato salad can take on a zesty Southwest personality—as well as better-for-you credentials—with the addition of reduced-fat mayonnaise mixed with salsa and diced green chiles.
However, although a bound salad’s mayonnaise base is easily customizable, it also plays an important functional role in addition to flavoring: It holds the salad ingredients together in a coherent whole on the buffet table or the side of the plate. Good mayonnaise clings well to salad ingredients and keeps them in a stable form so that all of the flavors are present in each bite. Finally, mayo also helps maintain the moistness and freshness of the salad.
In order to preserve a bound salad’s healthy flavor as well as form and function, operators should choose a mayonnaise that’s made from high-quality, better-for-you ingredients.
This post is sponsored by Kraft Foodservice