7 new ways to build a 7-layer salad

08/19/2014 10:20 AM

08/19/2014 10:21 AM

It’s the quintessential potluck food: seven-layer salad. With its layers of iceberg lettuce, peas, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, bacon and mayonnaise, it’s colorful, crunchy and creamy all in one bite.

Food legend has it that it was born out of the South and originally called “seven-layer pea salad.”

Although many recipes include hard-cooked eggs and cucumbers (which actually makes a seven-layer salad nine layers), this dish has pretty much remained the same for decades. Until now.

We’ve decided it’s about time this salad got a makeover.

Whether it’s different greens, new types of vegetables or a sweet addition, layered salads just got a lot more fun.

LAYERED VEGGIE TORTELLINI SALAD

1 package (16 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a 2 1/2-quart glass bowl, layer the tortellini, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, olives and cheddar cheese.

Prepare dressing, whisking together the mayo, cheese, lemon juice, whipping cream and thyme. Spoon over salad. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8 servings.

Source: James Schend, Taste of Home.

LAYERED SPINACH SALAD

3/4 pound spinach

1 medium-sized cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 cup ranch dressing

5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled

1/2 cup peanuts

Remove and discard spinach stems. Rinse leaves well; drain and pat dry. Tear spinach into bite-size pieces and arrange evenly in a large bowl. Evenly layer on cucumber slices, radishes and green onions. Spread dressing over top. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with bacon and peanuts. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cooks.com.

MEXICAN SEVEN-LAYER SALAD

4 cups chopped lettuce

1 cup chopped tomato

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Layer lettuce, tomato, green onion, beans, cheese and salsa in a large bowl or trifle dish. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, top with crushed tortilla chips. Makes 8 servings.

INDIVIDUAL LAYERED SALADS WITH ORANGE-GINGER DRESSING

The seven-layer salad instantly becomes more fun when it’s in individual servings. When looking for a container, Mason jars aren’t only cute, they’re practical. Just pop on a lid, secure the ring and travel anywhere.

1 cup uncooked wheat berries, rinsed

Pinch of salt

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 1/2 cups diced green bell pepper

1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

1 package (12 ounces) edamame

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup apple juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium pot, combine rinsed wheat berries, 3 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, or until tender. In another medium pot, add quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until fluffy, about 20 minutes.

When the grains have cooked, grab six Mason jars, and add into each: 1/2 cup wheat berries, 1/4 cup green pepper, 1/4 cup red pepper, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 cup carrots and 1/2 cup edamame. Push the ingredients down in the jar after you add the quinoa and edamame. Repeat with the remaining jars.

Prepare dressing, whisking together the orange juice, apple juice, cider vinegar, ginger, lime juice and salt. Pour over top of the salads. Makes 6 servings. Note: You will have wheat berries and quinoa left over.

Source: Adapted from OhSheGlows.com.

LAYERED TOMATO-WATERMELON SALAD

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

8 cups seedless watermelon, diced into 1 1/4-inch chunks

3 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as dill, basil and mint), divided

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided, or to taste

About 3 pounds ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom), cored and cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks (6 cups)

5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup sprouts (such as sunflower or alfalfa)

5 cups arugula

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

In a 1-cup glass measure, whisk together oil and vinegar. In a large bowl, toss the watermelon with half the oil-vinegar mixture, 1 1/2 tablespoons assorted herbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, toss the tomatoes with remaining olive oil-vinegar mixture, 1 1/2 tablespoons herbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a clear glass bowl, layer watermelon, tomatoes, feta cheese, sprouts, arugula and sunflower seeds. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Rebecca Guralnick.

HEALTHY SEVEN-LAYER SALAD WITH AVOCADO DRESSING

1 package (10 ounces) spring lettuce mix

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 medium red bell peppers, diced

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 avocado

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons honey

In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, layer spring mix, beans, peppers and tomatoes. Refrigerate several hours. Before serving, layer with cheese and bacon. Blend all dressing ingredients (avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and honey) in a blender until smooth and add to top of salad. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from DashingDish.com.

INGER’S SEVEN-LAYER FRUIT SALAD

3 cups diced watermelon

2 cups green grapes, halved

1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved

2 peaches, diced

2 cups blueberries

2 cups diced honeydew melon

2 cups diced strawberries

7 teaspoons sugar, divided

Place the watermelon on the bottom of a large clear bowl or trifle dish; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Layer grapes on top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Repeat this process of sprinkling the sugar as you layer the cherries, peaches, blueberries, honeydew melon and strawberries. Refrigerate several hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Inger Wilkerson, ArtofNaturalLiving.com.

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