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Columbia’s Famous 1905 Salad

Ingredients

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Columbia’s Famous 1905 Salad is a classic dish that has been a staple of the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida, for over a century. This iconic salad was first created by the restaurant’s founder, Casimiro Hernandez Sr., in 1905, and has been a beloved menu item ever since. The salad is a delicious mix of lettuce, ripe tomatoes, baked ham, Swiss cheese, olives, and a secret blend of dressing. The flavor of Columbia’s 1905 Salad is unique and unforgettable.

Columbia's Famous 1905 Salad in a wooden bowl with big wooden forks

THE HISTORY OF COLUMBIA’S 1905 SALAD

The Columbia Restaurant was founded in 1905 by Casimiro Hernandez Sr., a Cuban immigrant who came to Tampa in search of a better life. He started his restaurant in the heart of Ybor City, a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that was home to many other immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy.

Thanks to Hernandez’s innovative and delicious menu, the restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals and visitors alike. In 1905, he created the Famous 1905 Salad. Easily, this new dish would become one of the restaurant’s most popular and enduring offerings.

According to legend, Hernandez created the salad on a busy day when he needed to come up with a quick and satisfying meal for a group of hungry customers. Creatively, he took ingredients that he had on hand, including lettuce, tomatoes, ham, and Swiss cheese, and combined them with a dressing made from his own secret recipe.

Amazingly, the resulting salad was an instant hit. The 1905 Salad soon became a signature dish at the Columbia Restaurant. Over the years, the recipe has been passed down through the Hernandez family, and is still made today using the same basic ingredients and dressing.

HOW TO MAKE THE 1905 SALAD

Thankfully, making Columbia’s Famous 1905 Salad is relatively simple. However, the key to its success lies in the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

  • fresh, crisp lettuce
  • ripe tomatoes
  • baked ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • green olives

The secret to the salad’s unique flavor is the dressing. Luckily, it’s available for purchase. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, known only to the Hernandez family and a few trusted employees. However, after careful investigation, most believe the dressing is a blend of olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and other spices.

To make the salad, the ingredients are tossed together in a large bowl, and then drizzled with the dressing. The result is a colorful and flavorful dish that is as delicious as it is visually appealing.

WHY IS COLUMBIA’S 1905 SALAD SO FAMOUS?

Over a century after its creation, Columbia’s 1905 Salad is still one of the most popular dishes on the restaurant’s menu. Here’s why:

  • the salad is simply delicious
  • fresh greens, savory ham, tangy Swiss cheese, and briny olives pair perfectly with the dressing
  • Columbia’s 1905 Salad has a strong sense of history and tradition
  • the restaurant is a beloved institution in Tampa, Florida and has been a gathering place for generations of family and friends
  • when ordering the Famous 1905 Salad, diners feel like they are participating in this rich history and sense of community

TIPS ON MAKING COLUMBIA’S FAMOUS 1905 SALAD

  • use fresh ingredients
  • spin the lettuce to remove excess water
  • dress using a high-quality olive oil
  • homemade croutons can be substituted with store-bought

SERVING AND STORING 1905 SALAD

Serve this Famous 1905 Salad as a meal, or with your favorite protein. This tasty salad would be great for a dinner party, or easy weeknight meal. Who doesn’t like a quick and easy salad for dinner recipe?

If you are preparing this amazing ham and Swiss salad for meal prep, store without dressing! Honestly, I tested placing the leftover dressed salad in the fridge, and it was really good. Albeit not as crunchy, but still incredible!

Store leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Leftover 1905 Salad Dressing with last up to a week in the fridge.

MORE SALAD RECIPES!

If you love salads of any kind, take a look at these fabulous salad recipes:

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all of the ingredients for Columbia's famous 1905 salad in a big wooden salad bowl

Columbia’s Famous 1905 Salad


Description

Columbia’s Famous 1905 Salad is a classic dish that has been a staple of the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida, for over a century. This iconic salad was first created by the restaurant’s founder, Casimiro Hernandez Sr., in 1905, and has been a beloved menu item ever since.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ham, julienned
  • 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, julienned
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 Spanish or green olives
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, finely grated, plus for garnish
  • 1/2  to 3/4 cup croutons
  • cracked black pepper, for garnish

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bottle or bowl. Reserve.
  2. If making homemade croutons, cube bread and add to a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic salt. Lay on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in a 375° oven for 5 to 8 minutes. (toss a few times).
  3. Grab a large salad bowl. 
  4. Add in lettuce, red onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, ham, Swiss cheese, Romano cheese and croutons.
  5. Dress the salad to your liking (you will not need all of the dressing).
  6. Toss. Garnish with a touch more finely grated Romano cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
  7. ENJOY!

Notes

  • spin the lettuce to remove added water
  • homemade croutons are best, but can be substituted with store-bought
  • use fresh ingredients
  • see post for additional notes and tips
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad, Dinner
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving

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