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Seven Layer Salad Recipe

This show-stopper seven layer salad is a real crowd pleaser, a beautiful rainbow of vegetables served with a unique creamy salsa vinaigrette dressing.

Seven Layer Salad in a large glass bowl, with a head of romain lettuce next to it

Here’s an odd 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.

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 DIY’er 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!}

Ingredients for Seven Layer Salad arranged on a sheet pan

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.

Close up of Seven Layer Salad in a glass bowl on a wooden table

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.

How to Make Seven Layer Salad

  • Use a glass salad or trifle bowl. The bowl in the photos here is 96 ounces, and makes a lot of salad. Don’t hesitate to go smaller.
  • If you’re using a wide, flared bowl (as in the photos), you’ll need a lot of vegetables on the upper layers. As alternative, you can plan to ring the outer edges of the bowl (against the glass) with the vegetables, and then fill the center with romaine lettuce. This actually creates a nice balance of vegetables-to-lettuce.
  • If assembling the salad a little ahead of time, toss the sliced avocado in lemon juice, or a solution with Fruit Fresh (Amazon affiliate link), to prevent browning.
  • The salsa vinaigrette recipe includes vegan/dairy-free options, to accommodate a variety of needs. The salad is naturally gluten-free, too.
  • Serve extra well-seasoned (salt and lemon juice), 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.

Why a vegetable-heavy Seven Layer Salad instead of the traditonal mayo-goopy concoctions? 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 7-layer salad with a scrumptious salsa vinaigrette dressing is where it’s at. Yo.

Karen xo

Print Recipe
4.67 from 9 votes

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Vinaigrette

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 10
Calories: 275kcal
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

for the dressing

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
  • 1/2 cup your favorite mild or medium Salsa
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or vegan mayo
  • 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, sliced from the cob
  • 1 avocado, pit removed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (about 2 cups after slicing)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, dill, and/or basil minced

Instructions

make the dressing

  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sprinkle herbs over the cherry tomatoes.
  • 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.
  • Serve the creamy salsa vinaigrette dressing on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

Pin Seven Layer Salad recipe for later:

Pinterest fans, if you’d like to save this recipe for later, use these images (or any image above) to pin to your boards (they’re small here, but thanks to the magic of the interwebs, they’ll be full size when you pin them). Thanks for sharing, and most of all, thank you so much for reading this post! Blogging wouldn’t be any fun without you!

Seven Layer Salad Pinterest Pin - Recipe at SoupAddict.com

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Recipe Rating




Jennifer

Wednesday 28th of March 2018

This was one beautiful salad! I used a couple of different veggies, but it was still awesome. Loved the salsa dressing, too!

Ashley

Saturday 17th of February 2018

Had to chuckle at your confession, salads are the best! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe.

Kay Anderson

Tuesday 30th of August 2016

Just found this on Pinterest and going to make for an event coming up late September! Do you recall where you hit your bowl? I would like one that size. I found one on Amazon that's 120 oz, all the rest seem to be too small. Thanks!

SoupAddict

Tuesday 30th of August 2016

It's been a few years but I'm pretty sure I got it at Kroger!

Chris Pedersen

Friday 10th of July 2015

You had me at "chopped vegetables." Dinner tonight!

linda_spurgeon@hotmail.com

Monday 8th of June 2015

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?

SoupAddict

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

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?)