Ensalada de Ajo-Cuban Garlic Salad


Discover Ensalada de Ajo, the Cuban Garlic Salad Recipe That Will Leave You Craving for More!

Are you ready to delight your taste buds with a burst of flavor? Look no further than the Cuban Garlic Salad! Packed with fresh ingredients and fresh garlic accompanied by a punchy vinaigrette, it’s the perfect side salad to complete any dish.

The star of this dish is the garlic. Known for its robust flavor and health benefits, garlic takes center stage in this recipe. Combined with tangy red wine vinegar and zesty lime juice, the dressing creates a perfect harmony of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

But it’s not just the dressing that makes this salad exceptional. The combination of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and refreshing avocados adds depth and texture to each mouthful. And let’s not forget the finishing touch – creamy avocado slices.

Whether you’re a fan of Cuban cuisine, or need a quick and nutritious side dish, or just on the lookout for a delicious, refreshing salad, Ensalada de Ajo, or a Cuban Garlic Salad is a must-try.

The importance of garlic in Cuban cuisine

Garlic holds a prominent place in Cuban cuisine. Its bold flavor and aroma add depth to many traditional dishes, creating a distinct taste that is loved by locals and visitors alike. The use of garlic in Cuban cooking can be traced back to the island’s African and Spanish influences. Garlic is not only valued for its culinary properties but also for its numerous health benefits. It is known to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. In Cuban cuisine, garlic is considered an essential ingredient that adds a unique touch to every dish.

Ingredients for Ensalada de Ajo

To make Ensalada de Ajo – Cuban Garlic Salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of romaine or mixed lettuce leaves
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced

These ingredients are easily accessible and can be found in most grocery stores. Freshness is key when it comes to the vegetables, so be sure to choose the ripest tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and perfectly ripe avocados.

Step-by-step instructions for making Ensalada de Ajo – Cuban Garlic Salad

  1. In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined and set aside to let the flavors meld together.
  2. In a large salad bowl, add the mixed lettuce leaves, crushed garlic, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumber and avocado slices.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to coat the vegetables evenly.
  4. Serve the Cuban garlic salad immediately and enjoy the explosion of flavors with each bite.

Tips for enhancing the flavor of Ensalada de Ajo – Cuban Garlic Salad

To take your Cuban garlic salad to the next level, consider these tips:

  • Roast the garlic: Instead of using raw garlic, you can roast the cloves before mincing them. Roasting garlic brings out a milder, sweeter flavor that adds depth to the dressing.
  • Add a kick of spice: If you like some heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a finely chopped jalapeno to the dressing. This will give your salad a spicy kick that complements the garlic and tangy flavors.
  • Marinate the vegetables: For a more intense flavor, marinate the diced tomatoes and avocado slices in the vinaigrette for about 15 minutes before assembling the salad. This allows the flavors to meld together and infuse the vegetables with the delicious tanginess of the dressing.

Health benefits of garlic in Ensalada de Ajo – Cuban Garlic Salad

Garlic is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. It contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Regular consumption of garlic can help boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, garlic is a good source of vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium. By enjoying the Cuban garlic salad, you can not only satisfy your taste buds but also nourish your body with these valuable nutrients.

Variations of Ensalada de Ajo – Cuban Garlic Salad recipe

While the traditional Cuban garlic salad is a delight on its own, you can also experiment with different variations to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few ideas:

  • Seafood twist: Add grilled shrimp or cooked lobster to the salad for a refreshing seafood twist. The garlic dressing pairs perfectly with the delicate flavors of seafood, creating a truly memorable dish.
  • Grilled chicken: Add Pollo a la plancha, tender Cuban style grilled chicken to create a healthy meal in minutes.
  • Cuban black beans: For a heartier salad, add a scoop of Cuban black beans. These beans are slow-cooked with garlic, onions, and spices, adding depth and richness to the salad.
  • Citrus burst: Incorporate citrus fruits such as oranges into the salad for a burst of sweetness. The combination of citrus and garlic creates a refreshing and vibrant flavor profile.

Serving suggestions and pairing options

The Cuban garlic salad is versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are a few serving suggestions and pairing options to consider:

  • As a side dish: Serve the Cuban garlic salad alongside grilled meats, such as Bistec encebollado, or succulent pollo a la plancha. Other pairings include: Cuban Fried Chicken, Bistec Empinazado, Masitas de Puerco. The vibrant flavors of the salad complement the richness of the meat, creating a well-rounded meal.
  • With crusty bread: Pair the salad with some crusty Cuban bread for a light lunch or dinner. The combination of the garlic dressing and the bread creates a delicious harmony of flavors and textures.
  • As a topping: Use the Cuban garlic salad as a topping for tacos or as a filling for wraps. The freshness of the vegetables and the tangy dressing add a burst of flavor to any dish.

Sharing is fun…….below is a Pinterest ready photo!

Ensalada de Ajo-Cuban Garlic Salad

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 mins Total Time 15 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


This isn't your average salad – it's a burst of freshness and bold flavors packed into every bite. With crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocados, and the star ingredient – garlic, this salad is a delightful treat for your taste buds. Crafted with a zesty vinaigrette featuring tangy red wine vinegar and citrusy lime juice.

Ensalada de Ajo

Salad Ingredients

Vinaigrette Ingredients


Vinaigrette Instuctions

  1. Whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Set aside and let flavors combine while preparing the salad. 

Salad Instructions

  1. Chop romaine lettuce into bite sized pieces. Slice the cucumber, depending on the size of your cucumber you might only need half. Cut your tomato into desired pieces. Cut avocado into slices or chunks. Smash the garlic cloves. 

  2. Add all of the salad ingredients together. Toss lightly to incorporate. 

  3. Drizzle on desired amount of vinaigrette. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking and serve. 

Keywords: Side dish, garlic salad, fresh garden salad, side salad
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