A layered salad cake or salad torte with lettuce, vegetables, ham and cheese and topped with a creamy yogurt dressing.
This salad torte or salad cake was one of the first things I ever ate when I came to Germany. I had never seen anything like it before, so you can imagine how impressed I was by my mother-in-law’s cooking skills.
It was then (and still is now) one of my husband’s favorite salads, so I make this lettuce cake on a more or less regular basis.
I make it mostly in summer, not necessarily as a side dish for grilled meat, but more of a lighter alternative for those who are not so keen on eating sausages or steaks.
And if I ever make it for a party, you can be sure this is one of the first salads to disappear from the table. People just love the way it looks and the many layers it has.
- You will not need the whole lettuce, just its largest leaves, about 8 of them, depending on size, enough to cover the bottom and the sides of the springform you are using for building the salad cake.
- You will also need about 2-3 large leaves to cover the salad once you’ve layered it.
- You will need tomatoes (larger ones), radishes, cucumber, and scallions.
- Deli meats and cheese:
- Large but very thin slices of cooked ham and some slices salami.
- I usually make the lettuce salad with thin slices of Gouda cheese. Cheddar or other cheese you like would be fine.
- And some hard-boiled eggs.
HOW TO MAKE SALAD CAKE?
This salad recipe is easier to make than you might think. The only thing you have to keep in mind when making the salad torte is that you have to start a day ahead, the lettuce cake needs time to set overnight.
Prepare the springform:
- Wash the lettuce leaves and make sure you dry them very very well, there should be no more water clinging to them. Use a clean kitchen cloth or kitchen paper to dry them.
- Line the base and the sides of a springform (about 26 cm/10-inch diameter) with salad leaves. Keep 2 or 3 of them to place on top of the salad after layering all the other ingredients.
Layer the salad:
Keep to the indicated quantities, you will form a double layer with each ingredient.
Layer 1: The already mentioned lettuce leaves.
- I normally need about 4 medium tomatoes.
- However, as tomatoes come in different sizes, use enough thinly sliced tomatoes to form a double layer with them. They will release some juices during the resting time, so it is best to place them at the bottom of the salad so that the rest of the layers will not get soaked.
Layer 3: Arrange the ham slices on top, you will have 2 or 3 thin layers of ham.
Layer 4: Thinly sliced green onions/scallions.
Layer 4: Thinly sliced cucumber slices.
Layer 5: Thinly sliced radishes.
Layer 6: Thinly sliced cheese.
Layer 7: Peel and sliced the cooled hard-boiled eggs. Wait until the eggs are cold before arranging them on the salad.
Layer 8: Thinly sliced salami.
Layer 9: The lettuce leaves you set aside before.
Finish the salad:
- The salad needs to spend a night in the fridge pressed with something heavy. This way the layers will form nicely and the salad will keep its shape when you cut and serve the slices.
- Cover the salad in the springform with cling film. The cling film should be placed directly over the salad and not on the sides of the springform.
- Place the weight on top, again directly on the salad and not on the sides of the springform. I use a pan filled with water for this purpose, the pan should be slightly smaller than the springform so that it fits inside.
- Place the springform on a larger platter lined with some kitchen paper. This will absorb the juices that might be coming out from the salad (the tomatoes) so that there will not be a mess in your fridge.
- Place this ensemble in the refrigerator and leave overnight.
- Remove the springform ring shortly before serving and very carefully transfer the salad cake on a clean platter.
- Slice the salad cake into slices, and serve with the dressing poured on top.
- I didn’t change my mother-in-law’s recipe for the salad but I did change the dressing recipe.
- If you want to make her original stir one small jar of Miracle Whip mayonnaise with one cup heavy cream and add the rest of the dressing ingredients.
- Instead of that I always make a Greek yogurt dressing with a little bit of mayonnaise, pretty much the same dressing I use for the German Noodle Salad and many other salads. I like it better that way…
- Place the dressing in a nice jug or bowl and pour over the salad cake slices on your plate.
How to serve lettuce salad:
- This salad cake or salad torte is a meal and not a side dish.
- Serve with the creamy yogurt dressing and some crusty bread or French baguette on the side.
MORE HEARTY SALAD MEALS?
SALAD RUSSE – Salad Russe or Russian potato salad with beets, a very popular Eastern European salad, also known as Olivier Salad.
GRILLED PEACH CHICKEN SALAD WITH CHICKEN – A glorious summer grilled peach salad with chicken, rocket, lots of herbs and feta.
AVOCADO SALAD WITH TUNA – Super healthy tuna avocado salad loaded with protein, a creamy and completely satisfying salad for lunch or workplace.
ROASTED BUCKWHEAT SALAD – Vegan roasted buckwheat salad recipe with carrots, scallions and a sweet and lemony dressing.
ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH EGGS AND HAM – Delicious, healthy and filling spring salad with ham, hard-boiled eggs, chives, and a simple vinaigrette.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Salad Torte or Lettuce Cake
- 1 lettuce
- 4 tomatoes
- 8 thin slices of cooked ham
- 1 small bunch of scallions
- ½ cucumber
- 1 bunch radishes
- 6 small cheese slices
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- 5.5 oz salami thinly sliced
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ small onion
- small bunch of parsley
- small bunch of chives
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and pepper to taste
- Line springform with salad: Separate the lettuce leaves; you will need the largest leaves. Wash and dry them very thoroughly using some kitchen paper. Next, line the base and the sides of a springform (about 26 cm/10-inch diameter) with the salad leaves. Keep a few of them to place on top of the salad after layering all the other ingredients.
- Large lettuce leaves
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced ham
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced radishes
- Sliced cheese
- Sliced eggs
- Sliced salami
- More lettuce leaves to cover the salad.
- Wrap: Place a double layer of plastic foil on top. The foil should be placed directly over the salad and not on the sides of the springform.
- Refrigerate: Find a heavy pan that fits in the springform, fill it with water and carefully place it on top of the salad. Next, place the springform on a larger platter lined with some kitchen paper. This will absorb the juices that might be coming out from the salad. Place in the fridge and leave overnight.
- Transfer: Remove the pan, foil, and springform ring shortly before serving. Carefully transfer the salad onto a serving platter.
Dressing (See note):
- Mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, paprika, sugar, lemon juice, finely chopped onion, finely chopped parsley, and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in a serving bowl or jug and serve on the side.