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From meal starters to main course items, restaurant salad offerings frequently feature cheese. A traditional meal starter, salads are also popular entrée items that use cheeses to add flavor and crucial nutritional components.

A wide variety of U.S. cheeses and forms-shredded, cubed and crumbled-is well-suited for salads. Learn more about U.S. dairy products by browsing the Product Section.

Salad Trends

saladSalads appear on all menus across all U.S. restaurant segments. Longstanding strong performers on family-style restaurant and full service restaurant (FSR) menus, the number and variety of main-course salad offerings is on the rise in these segments. Salads are also extremely hot in the quick service restaurant (QSR) and fast-casual segments. Menu offerings go beyond lettuce-based salads and include new pasta salads as well as fruit salads.

Speedy salad

In response to consumer demand for healthier options, the QSR segment now features numerous salads in large and small varieties. Almost all of these salads feature cheese. Indeed, the top four QSR chains combined offer cheese on more than 90% of salad menu items. Many of these salads incorporate natural cheeses like pepper jack, provolone, smoked gouda and, of course, blue. (Technomics 2013)

Salad as a meal

In response to health and wellness trends, offerings of main-course salads are on the rise at many FSR and family-style restaurants. From classic chef or Cobb salads to blackened skirt steak or grilled chicken Caesar salad variations, these menu items provide a flavorful way for consumers to order a balanced meal on one plate. Specific dietary needs such as gluten-free are also behind new demands for salads as entrées. The flavor, dense nutrition and contribution to diner satiety make cheese an ideal fit for these new menu items.

Formulas & Recipes

Satisfying Pasta Salad

Satisfying Pasta Salad

High-protein pasta salad made with low-fat cottage cheese.


U.S. Feta Melon Salad

U.S. Feta Melon Salad

Savory and sweet, this fresh salad hits all of your taste buds.


Cucumber, Crab and U.S. Cream Cheese Salad

Cucumber, Crab and U.S. Cream Cheese Salad

Texture and flavor contrasts in the cucumber and crab are brought harmoniously together by the richness of the U.S. cream cheese.