Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette

Here’s a goofy confession that no ever quite believes is true: I love salads. I mean, I love salads like people love brownies. On this blog, I’ve probably said it dozens of times. IRL, I’ve stopped saying it altogether because, really, who loves salads? People think you’re not quite all there when your eyes go all sparkly over a bowl of mixed greens and chopped vegetables.

even Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette from

And they totally roll their eyes when they ask about the dressing, and I innocently reply that it’s homemade, not realizing that, to many people, “homemade dressing” is a ridiculous notion — “Seriously,” their arched eyebrow chides, “have you not seen the full aisle at the store devoted to shelf after shelf of bottled dressing?” — and it makes them feel like I think I’m some hipster cool, Kinfolk-cover-adorning DIYer with kitchen-counter-fermented red wine vinegar made from a local wine artisan’s organic pinot noir.

Honest-to-goodness: I just like creating my own salad dressings, ‘kay?

And the red wine vinegar fermenting on my counter in a cute little rustic crock is entirely coincidental. {Ba-dum-bump-ching! I’ll be here all week, folks. Tip your waitresses!}

even Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette from

You would think that food blogging and all the food pea-oh-are-en pictures on the interwebs would make me crave things like seared strip steak, arugula, fontina and gruyere grilled cheese sandwiches with horseradish caper sauce. Or a double-stuffed Oreo cookie tucked into chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough wrapped in a dark cocoa brownie baked in a New York style cheesecake with graham cracker crust aaaaannnd — { deeeeep wind-sucking inhale } — topped with drizzly hazelnut chocolate ganache.

But, nope, I’m all about the salads.

even Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette from

I mean, have you seen these photos? I’m not talking about my photography skills (too lazy to use manual settings) or my tablescaping je ne sais quoi (if je ne sais quoi means sprinkling jagged slivers of herbs over the table and randomly draping a fabric-scrap-as-napkin, which is about the limit of my food styling eye). I mean the salad.

If this isn’t ooooh and ahhhhh worthy, then I don’t know what is.

Serve well-seasoned, lightly olive-oiled mixed greens in a separate bowl, and let your peeps dig into the seven layer salad beauty like it’s an experience.

Because vegetables are beautiful. They’re beautiful to observe, they’re beautiful to serve, and they do a body good. And this bowl gets me all excited about the summer growing season, and all the rainbow vegetables that will come from the dirt in my yard.

Show-stopping seven layer salad is where it’s at. Yo.

Karen xo

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
The veggie amounts are based on a 96 ounce salad bowl (the bowl in the pictures). Scale up or down according to the size of your bowl.
Serves: 10
for the dressing
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup your favorite mild or medium Salsa
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or Earth Balance vegannaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
for the salad
  • 1 to 2 heads romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced or chopped, your choice
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (thawed from frozen or fresh from the cob - no need to cook)
  • 1 avocado, pit removed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (about 2 cups after slicing)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, dill, and/or basil, chopped
make the dressing
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste, and add more salt as needed. Set aside (refrigerate if making ahead).
assemble the salad
  1. General note: if your bowl is wide, ring your ingredients against the glass and fill the center with romaine lettuce as you build the layers. This creates a nice balance of greens to veggies when you spoon down into the bowl.
  2. In a medium glass salad bowl (about 90 ounces), spread a thin layer of romaine lettuce. Spoon black beans over the lettuce. Add red onions over the black beans, followed by a layer of olives, then corn, avocados, bell peppers, and top with cherry tomatoes.
  3. Sprinkle herbs over the cherry tomatoes.
  4. If you're not using romaine lettuce to fill the center of the bowl, serve lettuce in a separate bowl tossed lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Serve the creamy salsa vinaigrette dressing on the side.


  1. I love salads also! This one looks especially drool worthy and the dressing sounds perfect!

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous! Saw it on FG & pinned!

  3. I NEVER comment on blogs — but I just had to. I, too LIVE FOR-LOVE SALADS . When I met my fiancé he thought it was crazy the way I would go nuts over a salad bar — but the first time I made him one of my -add everything possible into it salads- he was hooked!

  4. I realize that I am late to the comment party, but I just found this salad through Pinterest (yay Pinterest!). I came looking for the recipe, but found myself taking a minute to actually READ your post. You nailed my thoughts and feelings exactly when you went off on that Oreo tangent. LOL. I am totally with you on liking salads, too. This one looks terrific! I had just been thinking recently about a Mexican-style layered salad, so I must have been picking up on your great salad vibe. Pinned this one.

  5. Marre Ruebusch says:

    I want to keep this vegan so I’m going to use the coconut milk instead of the Greek yogurt. I’m confused though by the coconut milk. Are you talking about the coconut milk that I can find in the refrigerated section along with the cow’s milk? Silk makes coconut milk. Is that the kind that you mean? Or are you talking about cans of coconut milk that I would find in the ethnic section? Thank you for the recipe and for any help you can give me. This looks so yummy!

    • Great question. I always use the canned coconut milk meant for cooking (the kind in the ethnic section). Honestly, I haven’t tried the boxed milk – it might work too (I don’t see why it wouldn’t, though, especially for a dressing). I imagine it’s not as thick and creamy as the canned.

  6. Kim Arrestouilh says:

    Would black olives work instead of green?

    • Oh, absolutely – use your favorite!

      (P.S.: if you arrived via a public Facebook Page today, would you mind sharing who posted it? Lots of traffic coming from FB, and I’m dying to know who posted about the salad. 😉 But only share if it’s not a private page. Thanks!)

      • oasis advanced wellness posted ur recipe on fb, i too am a salad lova……this one made me wanna go right to the kitchen and make it……yummy

        • Thanks, Diana – I was dying to know! (The way Facebook handles outbound links hides the source from stats gathering – to protect private accounts – so I couldn’t tell where traffic was coming from.)

      • Eat Clean. Train Mean. Live Green. Is the facebook page that posted your Salad. Thank you!

  7. Marilyn Degler says:

    Love this recipe and look forward to more.

  8. wont the avocado turn brown? ( assuming this is made a couple of hours before serving)

    • I toss avocado cubes like this with either lemon juice, or, for longer protection, the preservative used for canning – Fruit Fresh. Works like a charm.

  9. Debbie Johnson says:

    Will the salad keep if made the night before serving?

    • It depends on your tolerance for a less-than-fresh salad. :) I wouldn’t recommend assembling it to hold for 18 hours or so – instead, maybe chop the vegetables the night before, storing them separately in containers (or combining where the flavors make sense, like tomatoes and peppers together; onions and olives separately). Wait to chop the lettuce and the avocados, if you can, for maximum freshness. The salad definitely holds for a few hours, though (but make sure to treat the avocado cubes with lemon juice so they don’t brown).

  10. how far ahead could you make this dressing?

  11. My 19 year old son is going to love this salad. He is crazy about salads since a wee boy.hubby loves salads too.thank you for this amazing creation!! It looks amazing and I will be trying it soon lol despite the fact that it is autumn and so

  12. I posted this on Facebook and all my gardeners went nuts! It is so beautiful, the picture alone made me want it NOW! ??

  13. Courtney says:

    I found this recipe on Pinterest as well and am drooling! I did have a question about the corn, though. The note that says no need to cook it, I’m assuming that only pertains to the frozen/thawed corn and not the fresh?

    • Hi Courtney,

      Raw corn is completely edible. Fresh from the cob is best – it’s so sweet and crunchy! But really, however you like your corn, it will work with this salad.

  14. says:

    Is this a 7 or 9 layer salad, based on the ingredients? Do you have an alternative to use canned black beans as a healthier substitute?

    • Technically, if you’re counting ingredients, it’s an 18 layer salad. :) But in terms of structure, there are seven layers of vegetables. As to your black beans questions, I’m not sure I have the full picture here. Black beans are incredibly healthy, as long as your body doesn’t have an issue with legumes. If you object to the canned aspect, you can always cook up a batch from dried beans. Or, even faster-cooking, black beluga lentils, which are fabulous in salads. If you can’t consume legumes, I would just skip them altogether, as nothing springs immediately to mind that has the same texture and color. (Maybe black quinoa?)

  15. You had me at “chopped vegetables.” Dinner tonight!

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