The Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad

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If you’ve ever visited the Columbia Restaurant in Florida then you know how incredible their 1905 Salad is! The Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad is fresh, hearty and super easy to prepare at home.

It’s full of juicy tomatoes, salty baked ham, Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce, and a delicious vinaigrette dressing. And if you’ve never tried the 1905 Salad, you are in for a treat!

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1905 Salad by the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

History of the Salad

The Columbia Restaurant was opened in 1905 in Ybor City, Florida. It’s the oldest restaurant in Florida! It now has seven locations across Florida, so if you are visiting the sunshine state, chances are there will be a Columbia Restaurant near you. It’s a must to visit! Along with the famous 1905 Salad, they have the best Sangria, Cuban bread, and authentic Spanish dishes. You will not be disappointed. Learn more about this The Columbia here.

The 1905 salad was actually created in the 1940’s by a waiter, Tony Noriega, using leftovers he found in the fridge. He would sometimes serve the salad to his customers. In the 1970’s The Columbia Restaurant adapted the salad and named it “1905 Salad” in honor of the restaurant. It’s still a staple on the menu today. It’s even on USA Today’s list of “10 Great Places to Make a Meal of a Salad.”

1905 Salad by the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

What do I need?

  • Iceberg Lettuce– this gives the salad a great crunch.
  • Fresh Tomatoes– juicy vine ripened tomatoes are ideal, but any tomatoes will work. I used cherry tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand
  • Green Spanish Olives– of course any olive will work, but Spanish olives are used in the original.
  • Swiss Cheese– it’s the perfect cheese in this salad! It has a distinct flavor but is not overpowering.
  • Baked Ham-This sweet and savory ingredient bulks up the salad. You can use any ham you like.
  • Romano Cheese– freshly grated is best, but you could also use parmesan cheese, if that’s what you have.
  • Worchestershire Sauce– the perfect umami flavor.
  • Lemons– to brighten the flavors and pull it all together.
  • Dressing– freshly minced garlic cloves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper
1905 Salad by the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

How to make the salad

  1. Begin by mixing the dressing ingredients together. In a bowl or a jar whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. The Columbia recommends preparing the dressing 1-2 days in advance to give it time for the flavors to meld together.
  2. Prepare the salad ingredients:
    • Chop the lettuce into pieces
    • Quarter the tomatoes or slice cherry tomatoes
    • Julienne the Swiss cheese and ham- slicing into long, thin matchstick like strips
  3. Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, baked ham, and olives in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle over the Romano cheese. Drizzle the dressing and toss well to coat.
  4. Squirt the worchestershire sauce on top and squeeze fresh lemon juice all over.
  5. This recipe makes 2 full dinner salad portions or 4 side salads.

Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions

Feel free to substitute, omit, or add ingredients to your liking. If you aren’t a fan of olives, leave them out. Use romaine lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce. Add extra ham, pepperoni, salami or add turkey. Add chopped hard boiled eggs. Use shrimp instead of the meat. Remove the cheese. It’s your salad so you make it how you like.

Once the salad is assembled it doesn’t keep very long, so it’s best to enjoy right away. You can put the salad ingredients together ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Prepare the dressing and keep it in a separate container until you are ready to use it. It actually tastes better after 1-2 days! Combine the salad and dressing when you’re ready to eat.

You can actually purchase the 1905 Salad Dressing online if you want the authentic dressing! Get it here. It’s also sold in Publix, if you are close to a location! However, I think this dressing recipe tastes just as delicious as the dressing served inside the restaurant.

The Columbia Restaurant’s cookbook is also sold online if you want to try some of their other amazing recipes. They also have a gift shop with their famous Sangria mix and pitchers.

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Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Salad with Nectarines and Prosciutto

Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salad

What to serve with your salad?

Serve 1905 Salad with Crock Pot Spaghetti, Creamy Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto, Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole, Sheet Pan Mini Meatloaf, Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken , Cheesy Garlic Bread Sliders, Mini Cottage Pies, or Ravioli Casserole. The perfect side to any meal!

For more video, kitchen hacks, recipes and ideas follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. Did you make this recipe? Share and tag me @StephGigliotti, I would love to see it!

1905 Salad by the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida

The Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad

The 1905 Salad has juicy tomatoes, ham, Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce, and a deliciously tangy dressing. If you're craving the iconic salad, this recipe is what you want!
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced Swiss cheese julienned
  • 1/2 cup baked ham julienned
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into wedges or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green Spanish olives or any olive
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • lemon

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano


  • Add the lettuce, Swiss cheese, ham, tomatoes and olives to a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Sprinkle over the Romano cheese. Toss well to coat.
  • Drizzle Worcestershire sauce over top of the salad. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and serve immediately.
  • Makes 2 full size salads or 4 side salads.
Keyword copycat recipes, dinner salad, lunch recipes, no cook recipes, salads
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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