Is baked beans and mayo a salad? Picture: Twitter
Is baked beans and mayo a salad? Picture: Twitter

The culinary debate continues: Is baked beans and mayo a salad?

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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So much about a country and its culture is expressed through its cuisine, and salads happen to form a very big part of South Africa’s food scene.

The salads and side dishes South Africans enjoy are as authentic as any home-grown dish.

The way we prepare our salads and the ingredients we instinctively choose are uniquely South African.

Speaking of salads forming a very big part of South Africa’s food scene, social media users are questioning what constitutes a salad?

This comes after fast food company Nando's tweeted that baked beans and mayo are not a salad.

Promoting their latest creative campaign ‘Tin for Tjips’, which aims to help disadvantaged children, the restaurant wrote, ”Baked beans and mayo is not a salad! Rather give to those in need, re chenchisane for a good cause. #TinForTjips Ts & Cs apply.”

While some Twitter users believe that describing the popular combo as a salad is a serious offence, others are more open to the classification.

@TSOTETSI_KAMO wrote: “it is our salad, our last hope that one. Imma keep doing it till I learn new interesting recipe for salads.”

@kirsten_n_red wrote: “Firstly, great initiative - I'll gladly participate. Secondly, baked beans and mayo IS A SALAD. Braais, briyani, alles. It's a salad. See you soon.”

Early last year, one of SA’s favourite doctors Sindisiwe van Zyl tweeted that she will be making baked beans and mayo salad, to which some users disputed her naming it a salad.

What qualifies something to be a salad?

Merriam Webster dictionary tells us that a salad is any of the various “usually cold dishes” including raw greens, vegetables, and toppings. It is served with dressing or small pieces of food, or usually mixed with a dressing or set in gelatine.

Growing up I only knew baked beans in a can and it was not something that was a regular on the shopping list. We would only have them on special occasions. In many ways, it was and probably still is a luxury item for many people.

So “baked beans salad” was a treat and a substitute for coleslaw salad. Coleslaw salad is by far one of the most popular salads in SA.

While the salad status is debatable, “baked beans salad” has one redeeming feature: it is easy. You don’t need to know how to cook and depending on who you are feeding you can easily impress.

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