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.

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