The first type...with meals or for a lunch, can be all vegetable, often with bread or a main dish. For example, I love a salad with Italian pasta dishes...baked with elbows, lasagna, or things like spaghetti.
I can go as simple as lettuce and tomatoes, I enjoy the small ones, too, but any tasty tomato is fine with me. Or, I can add, or could add at one time, peas, green beans, beets, small slices of feta or something like that, and a favorite, canned garbanzos. I used to eat canned garbanzos with creamy dressing and Saltines for a lunch.
I'm a late learner. I didn't know about tuna in salad until 12 yrs. ago. I know, lame. But, I never saw anyone eat it, and when someone said: tuna salad, I thought that they meant tuna mixed with mayonnaise etc. On bread or on the plate with crackers.
In fact, I'd always heard that my dad had tuna salad at the hospital every day. I had a picture in my head of him having a tuna sandwich every day. But, not long before he passed away, somehow it came up and he told me no, it was tuna in a green salad. Oh?? That's when I learned about it.
I often want bread with a lunch salad, or any salad, to take up the dressing. Actually, dressed lettuce is kind of good on bread anyway.
When I have it with pasta, I think that the freshness of the lettuce and other veges, plus the acidity of the dressing, is the perfect foil for it. I love them together.
If I have a dinner salad, which I call a salad which is the entire meal, I put in lots of things, including a lot of protein.
For example, I start with my lettuce or green cabbage, then any vegetables that I happen to have. Some, such as broccoli, I would par cook, then raw would be things like peppers, avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber.
The proteins were usually wedged hardboiled eggs around the salad in a ring, cheese grated over the top, and at the end, over the cold salad, thin, just-cooked, strips of chicken.
Also, the garbanzos, maybe black olives, perhaps pickled artichoke hearts - which I rarely had, maybe toasted seeds, etc. I'm sure that I've forgotten something.
I like romaine, iceberg, and some buttery lettuces, including a spotted one which I can't remember the name of. I don't care for bitter greens.
And, I don't like any tough greens raw. That includes kale. It's a big thing now to have it raw as a salad, but I don't prefer it.
I love dressings. I make various ones of my own, but bottled, my top 4 - in no particular order, are: Vinaigrettes like Italian, good (underline good.) 1,000 Island, ranch, and green goddess. I've had bad versions of the last 3, but if they are good...!
I am a fiend for potato salad and coleslaw. I like both hot and cold potato salads, but am a bit picky on the latter. I make it a certain way, which is similar to my mom's, but not exact. I've had a couple of potato salads in delis which went perfectly with a sandwich, but a lot of people's are too mayonnaise forward for me, and bland, or have additions that I don't prefer, which tend to be in large hunks.
I also like poppy seeds in coleslaw, and grate mine finely, as well, or into tiny pieces like that have at KFC. Either works for me. I've heard that it doesn't taste the same anymore, but if I got chicken there in the 'old days', especially with potatoes, I got coleslaw as well.
Fun questions, thanks! :-)