This beautiful layered salad will receive oohs and aahs at any potluck and it’s no wonder. The secret to success here is vibrant color variety. Think Eat the Rainbow. Okay, there is one other critical factor, and that’s the simple, fresh salad dressing, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Shop for beautiful colors and textures in the grocers’ produce section or at your local farmers’ market and make a creative, edible masterpiece… Or follow my lead with the ingredients listed in the printable recipe. You can’t mess this up.
The dressing is a simple mixture of mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and a tiny bit of sugar, plus fresh minced parsley. Super simple, but this creamy blend works. The dressing recipe as written makes two cups, but if you like less dressing, decrease the mayo to about 1 1/2 cups. You can substitute your own favorite salad dressing but I highly recommend using homemade dressing, whatever you choose. The cheese on top serves two purposes. Yummy added flavor of course, plus when you put a lid on the salad while storing in the refrigerator, the cheese prevents the dressing from coming off on the lid when it’s removed. Speaking of toppings for the salad, you can get creative here as well. Add walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or baked chickpeas. If you want to add some meat to the salad- bacon, ham, or pancetta are excellent choices.
For the salad
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce or other favorite greens
- 1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups sliced or chopped celery
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 orange pepper, diced
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
- 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
- 6 scallions, diced plus more for topping
- 1 cup frozen peas, quick thawed under warm water
For the dressing
- 2 cups mayonnaise or 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup Greek yogurt. Vegannaise is easily substituted as well
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley minced, optional
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 1 scant tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or other cheese of your choice
- Extra scallions
Additional optional toppings:
- 6 slices bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
- Crispy onions
- Croutons or walnuts
- Assemble the salad:
- In a deep sided glass salad or trifle bowl, layer all the vegetables in the order listed above. The quantities are approximate and you can adjust as you like. The lettuce comes up almost a third of the way before layering the other ingredients.
- Make the dressing:
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and spread over the salad. Sprinkle with cheese and additional scallions for garnish.
- If making the salad ahead of time, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours.
- Just before serving, toss the salad and serve with additional condiments, if desired.
- The salad ingredients are plentiful so it's a good idea to serve extra dressing on the side for those who want more.
- Use the recipe for the dressing here or serve with your own instead.
Recipe adapted from my Aunt Pat’s original “Sarah’s Salad”.