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Columbia’s 1905 Salad (Copycat Recipe)

Said to be the gem of Spanish restaurants, Columbia restaurant’s refreshing 1905 Salad has a one-way ticket from Florida to your kitchen! This Tampa, Florida favorite is iconic for the chilled iceberg lettuce, savory ham, and the addictive dressing. In this recipe you will learn how to assemble, make the dressing, and finally find out why it is actually called the 1905 salad!

bowl of 1905 salad

Columbia’s 1905 Salad Recipe

Even After 117 Years, it is Still Delicious!

When I visit the Tampa Bay area, specifically Ybor City in Florida, I always have to make a special visit to the Columbia restaurant. Although my order is typically their delicious Cuban sandwich, I recently decided to try the 1905 salad. It is so good that I almost wish I didn’t have it, because now I crave it constantly!

When I ordered the salad, I was also given a brief history lesson. The salad got its legendary name for being the oldest Spanish restaurant in all of Florida! The salad is a nice nod to its founding roots, and I must say, a delicious nod at that.

Next time you are in the state, swing by and check out Florida’s oldest restaurant and try the the original recipe for their hearty salad! You can enjoy it as a side salad or a main course, but always with come Cuban bread.

If you are a salad fanatic like me, check out my homemade Italian dressing, homemade Greek vinaigrette, and toss one of them on my Italian Chopped Salad.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
labeled picture of salad ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Iceberg lettuce – Chop the head iceberg lettuce to your desired crunch. Use Romaine lettuce in a pinch.

Tomato – Use ripe tomatoes for the best salad.

Ham – To replicate the delicious ham chunks, cut the ham into half inch strips.

Swiss cheese – Similarly to the ham, trim the Swiss to half inch strips.

Green olives with pimentos – Leave the olives whole for that tasty burst of flavor!

Romano cheese – You can substitute Parmesan cheese in a pinch.

1905 Salad Dressing Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil – The absolute backbone of any yummy dressing is olive oil!

Worcestershire sauce – Worcestershire is exactly where the flavor comes from in this dressing.

Lemon – Fresh lemon juice is best! Add zest for more flavor.

Garlic cloves – Use minced garlic to avoid large pieces. Garlic powder in a pinch.

Oregano – Dried works. If you use fresh, use double the amount.

White wine vinegar – Can substitute regular distilled in a pinch.

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How to Make Columbia’s 1905 Salad

FIRST: Combine all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, and whisk together all the salad dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.

SECOND: Drizzle the dressing over the 1905 salad and toss to evenly coat the mixed salad.

THIRD: Sprinkle with remaining cheese and enjoy!

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

bowl of salad with red and white striped napkin

Why is it called the 1905 Salad?

The “1905 Salad” got its unique name from Columbia’s opening date! Two neighboring restaurants of the time decided to combine storefronts under the name Columbia. Still standing strong from its birth in 1905, Columbia is the oldest restaurant in all of Florida!

What pairs with the 1905 ham salad?

It is needless to say that this salad is a perfect entrée, but is such a classic that it will taste great as the supporting role too. Go all out and make the star of your dinner a Cuban sandwich, ropa vieja, or even paella. To top it off, consider flan for dessert to bring the restaurant right to your kitchen!

fork of salad

How Can I Store the 1905 Salad?

Store it without the dressing to keep it crisp to avoid wilting. If you are preparing this in advance, simply package your dressing in an airtight container and the salad in another reusable container. The dressing will last up to two weeks— yum!

Why do I Have to Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is the olive oil with the least amount of processing there is, and the healthiest. The process that extra virgin olive oil takes allows for more vitamins and antioxidants to remain within the oil. However, olive oil will work but it will not have all the powerful benefits.

Can I Substitute Ham?

The ham is truly what makes this salad special and taste authentic, but I understand dietary needs more than anyone. Veggie ham is a vegetarian alternative to ham from a pig, and brands such as Tofurky, Lightlife, or May Wah make excellent vegetarian ham options. 

1905 salad on a plate with a bowl

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Store your dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to enjoy the refreshing tang and oregano flavor!
  • Use your favorite baked ham or deli ham in a pinch.
  • I love the crunchiness so I do a loose chop but some 1905 salad fans shred their lettuce!
  • Use green Spanish olives for the best flavor.
  • For an on-the-go lunch, prep the ham into strips in a container for up to a week.
  • Chop your lettuce to your preferred crunch level, or even shred your lettuce. Either of these are beloved by Columbia fans.
  • This salad is best served either on its own, or other Columbia restaurant favorites like the original Cuban, ropa vieja, and paella.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

fork of salad bite with text in a white banner

There is a reason why this century old restaurant is still kicking; The Columbia Restaurant 1905 salad is refreshing in all the best ways! The ham with the crunch of lettuce and notes of Romano and Swiss will make any mouth water!

bowl of salad with a fork in a clay bowl

Columbia's 1905 Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Columbia Restaurant 1905 salad is refreshing in all the best ways!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce (roughly 4 cups) cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • ½ cup ham (cut into ½ strips)
  • ½ cup Swiss cheese (cut into ½ inch strips)
  • ½ cup green olives with pimentos (leave whole)
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese
  • Dressing:
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, ham, Swiss cheese, and green olives.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the salad dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. (Start slow as not to over-dress)
  4. Sprinkle with Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Store your dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to enjoy the refreshing tang and oregano flavor!
  • Use your favorite baked ham or deli ham in a pinch.
  • I love the crunchiness so I do a loose chop but some 1905 fans shred their lettuce!
  • Use green Spanish olives for the best flavor.
  • For an on-the-go lunch, prep the ham into strips in a container for up to a week.
  • Chop your lettuce to your preferred crunch level, or even shred your lettuce. Either of these are beloved by Columbia fans.
  • This salad is best served either on its own, or other Columbia restaurant favorites like the original Cuban, Ropa Vieja, and paella.
  • Recommended Products

    This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 708mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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