5 from 5 votes

“1905” Columbia Salad

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The 1905 Columbia Salad is one of Florida’s most iconic foods from its long-running and legendary eatery in Tampa, Florida. Tossed right in front of you, this salad is a gem to get if you happen to be in Florida.

That being said, this salad and all its light and flavorful ingredients can easily be made in at-home kitchens with this copycat Columbia salad recipe.

Try this famous “1905” Columbia Salad for your next dinner–it’s sure to be a success!

1905 salad in a bowl

Have you ever heard of the famous Columbia restaurant? 

Located originally in Tampa, Florida, the historic Cuban-influenced eatery has been welcoming guests since 1905, making it Florida’s longest-running restaurant. 

What started out as a small family-run operation has burgeoned to seven locations around the Sunshine State, proving the Columbia continues to be a huge influence on Florida’s modern foodie scene.

Why you will love Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad

Enter the “1905” Salad. 

It’s an absolutely gorgeous, delicous salad and a favorite from the Columbia menu, and there’s a good reason why–It’s even tossed tableside for guests!  While the ambiance at home might not compare to the legendary Columbia, at least the flavor can.  Not only is this hearty salad super delicious, but it’s also incredibly simple to make. 

It combines crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, plump olives, and a delicate olive oil dressing, all mixed together with bite-sized ham, swiss, and aged Romano.  

Whether you make it as an easy weeknight side or a sophisticated lunch with friends, I think once you try it for yourself, you’ll agree that the “1905” Columbia deserves to remain one of America’s favorite salads!

How to make the 1905 Salad Dressing

  1. Mix olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oregano, fresh lemon juice and garlic together in a bowl.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside. 
  3. This dressing is fine to make ahead, just place in a sealed mason jar or container and leave on counter
  4. Do not refrigerate dressing as it could solidify with the olive oil.
1905 dressing being made in a bowl

Salad Ingredients

  • half a head of iceberg lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • ham lunch meat
  • swiss cheese slices
  • Spanish olives (green olives)
  • grated Romano cheese

Although we are from Florida, we were originally introduced to this salad from it going viral on Tiktok. It’s SO GOOD, the rest is history!

How to make the 1905 Columbia Salad

  1. Prep all ingredients as listed in the printable recipe below.
  2. Add lettuce, ripe tomatoes, ham, swiss cheese and olives together in a bowl.
  3. Pour dressing on top and toss to coat.
  4. Add Romano cheese and mix well until evenly coated.
  5. Serve salad immediately. 
Columbia salad recipe


Do the lemon and Worcestershire go on the lettuce or in the dressing?

This is a great question! In the original recipe from the restaurant, the Romano, Lemon, and Worcestershire go directly on the salad, not in the dressing. Then the dressing is added AFTER.
In the TikTok version, however, the lemon and Worcestershire are added to the dressing. I am not sure if it makes a huge flavor difference, but I imagine that the restaurant does it to the salad for more of a presentation since they make it in front of you.

How do I store Columbia Salad? 

If you think you’ll have leftovers of Columbia Salad, only toss the amount you’ll eat that sitting. 
Salad never lasts long in the fridge after it’s been tossed with dressing, and this salad is no different. 
Without the dressing, you can keep Columbia Salad in an airtight container for generally up to 2-3 days.

salad in a bowl

What are some good pairing options with Columbia Salad? 

I love the idea of serving this delicious “1905” Columbia Salad to guests for a lunchtime get-together.

It’s light and summery, and of course, it’s from an iconic restaurant specializing in Cuban and Spanish Food.  Bearing all that in mind, I think this tasty salad could be eaten with so many different meals:

If this Columbia Salad is to be a meal in and of itself, then pair it with some deliciously warm Cuban bread with butter.

Is “1905” Columbia Salad Keto and low-carb friendly?  

If you are on the Keto or other low-carb diet, then this nutritious “1905” Columbia Salad might be a good choice for lunch or dinner.  The ham and cheeses make it high in protein, a must for Keto. 

This salad also contains minimally processed ingredients, and it uses healthy olive oil in the dressing. For anyone worried about tomatoes, you would have to seriously overeat tomatoes to knock you out of ketosis.

What variations can be made with 1905 Columbia Salad?

Just like any salad, the “1905” Columbia Salad is really versatile. Because this amazing salad contains meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and olives, it really has a basis for just about anything. That being said, here are some ingredient alterations: 

  • If olives aren’t really your thing, just leave them out (my kids aren’t big fans).  Many people like substituting turkey or shrimp for ham.
  •  If you are cooking for a vegetarian palette, you can skip the meat altogether, or substitute with a hard boiled egg.
close up of columbia salad on a wooden spoon.

More of the Best Summer Salad Recipes

Looking for more of the best summer salads that go perfectly with potlucks?

Need some amazing salad recipes that you will want to make over and over all summer long? From potato salads to light fruit-filled salads, there really is no shortage of delicious summer flavors to get you excited about the food. 

Here are some of my very favorite family-friendly salads that always have zero leftovers when I serve. Just make sure to use fresh seasonal ingredients and enjoy every moment!

5 from 5 votes

1905 Columbia Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
The Columbia Restaurants  1905 Original salad with iceberg lettuce, fresh tomatoes, ham and cheese slices plus olives can be tried tableside in Florida's longest running restaurant – or it can simply be enjoyed right in your own kitchen with very little work. The dressing consists of an olive oil base with lemon and the secret ingredient – Worcestershire. All tossed with grated Romano cheese, while this is a side salad that is sure to please, its also filling enough to enjoy as a fresh crisp lunch. 


Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • half of a fresh lemon
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1905 Salad Ingredients:

  • half a head of iceberg lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 lb. ham lunch meat cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 lb. of swiss cheese slices cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Spanish olives drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese


Make Salad Dressing First

  • Mix olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oregano, lemon and garlic together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.  This dressing is fine to make ahead, just place in a sealed mason jar or container and leave on counter
  • Do not refrigerate dressing as it could solidify with the olive oil.

Make 1905 Salad

  • Prep all ingredients as listed above.
  • Add lettuce, tomatoes, ham, swiss cheese and olives together in a bowl.
  • Pour dressing on top and toss to coat.
  • Add Romano cheese and mix well until evenly coated.
  • Serve salad immediately. 



Secret Sauce Ingredient: Often Worcestershire is added directly to the salad prior to serving over adding to the dressing. If you would like to do that as well, add about 1 1/2 tablespoon to the salad prior to adding the dressing (directly on the lettuce). In the TikTok version, everyone always adds it right to the dressing itself.
I think one of the differences is that most liquid added to a dressing bowl will float with the olive oil and stay separated. By adding right to the lettuce, you get the full flavor. Ill leave that up to you.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1225kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 103g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 62g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 2493mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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