Monday, May 14, 2012

Layered Salad--Texas Picnic Style

When I was a little girl in East Texas we'd go to family reunions every year. They were always picnic potlucks. One of the things you could count on was a version of this layered salad in a clear bowl with twinned salad tongs.

{P-Daddy spooning out the goodness}

It's a smart choice, really.
Because the dressing sits on top of all the vegetables that would otherwise get all soggy and limp, it's great for making ahead and transporting.

You can put it all together, cover it in Saran or your favorite Tupperware lid and put it in the middle of the flowered tablecloth.

Its beauty is in its simplicity and variety. You can add anything you like; just pick your favorite vegetable and salad green combination and experiment.

Because I've always liked it, I put a sweet dressing on top the first time I made it. P-Daddy and Ma Fille aren't fans of the savory and sweet thing so they requested I change it up for their tastes the next time.

P-Daddy suggested using his tried and true Roquefort dressing, which would be delicious, but I didn't want to get rid of the cheddar cheese layer of the salad. I'm a sucker for cheddar and peas. Can't explain it, won't try to.

The second time around I made a ranchy kind of dressing--without the packet because France has never heard of ranch dressing. I wanted it to be thick enough to sit on top so I nixed the buttermilk I usually use.

And it worked.
If you think you'd like the one with more of a sweet kick like you'll find in the broccoli/pea salad I always loved from Central Market, then all you have to do is replace the lime juice and chives with two tablespoons of white sugar. It's not like it sounds.

Layered Salad

2 stalks celery
1 spring onion
dash plain white vinegar
5 radishes
1 avocado
1 cup peas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 slices bacon
3 boiled eggs
iceberg or other crunchy lettuce
baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp lime juice
chopped chives

Chop the celery and spring onion, including the green part, into small pieces. Put in a small bowl and add a splash of plain white vinegar. Let this sit while you do the rest.

Boil the eggs and cook the bacon. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble into bite-sized pieces. Chop the eggs in dice or into rounds, whichever you prefer.

Slice the radish and avocado and set aside.
Cook the peas and allow to cool.

Mix the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice and chives.

Remove celery and spring onion from the vinegar, squeezing away any excess.

When your ingredients are ready, all you have to do is assemble.

Layer the ingredients in a bowl.

I like to go in this order:
celery and onions
repeat until finished.

When you've used up all the goodies then you're ready to cover it all in dressing.
Simply spread the dressing over the top of the salad's top layer, coating to the edges like icing a cake. Cover and chill or serve immediately.
Tell me. Do you like cheddar and peas as much as I do?


  1. Almost. I love cheddar and cucumber.

  2. This sounds like my kind of salad - I love avocado and bacon in salads (and of course Cheddar cheese too) Definitely one to try - thanks for the recipe!

  3. Sounds great! I've had one like it called "7 layer salad".

  4. Nom nom nom. I love this salad. Always reminds me of family at home, too! So glad you shared your recipe with everyone!

  5. Yup- stealing the recipe...that's exactly what I'm doin' :)
    Ashley (backyardprovence)

  6. I don't think I've ever actually had cheddar and peas? Might have to try that one!

  7. I've never had anything like this...but it looks delish! I'll have to try this! And you lived in Ireland...where haven't you lived?! :)


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