A layered salad is a classic Southern dish that's fresh, delicious, and perfect for potlucks, picnics, or any occasion where you want to impress your guests.
There's never been a family gathering, holiday, or church potluck that went by without this delicious side dish. A layered salad is a type of salad that is assembled and...you guessed it…in layers. Any large glass bowl, 13”x9” glass dish, or trifle bowl works perfectly for this salad. The layers usually consist of a variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, and cheeses, and a dressing or mayonnaise-based sauce.
The salad is served chilled and is often decorated with toppings such as croutons, nuts, or herbs. The beauty of a layered salad is that it is not only stunning but also has a variety of flavors and textures in each bite. You can easily customize it to suit your individual preferences.
Popular variations of layered salads include the classic Seven-Layer Salad, which typically includes layers of lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, bacon, peas, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese, and the Southern Layered Salad, like this one, which features a variety of vegetables, bacon, and a creamy dressing. It’s perfect for a picnic, potluck, or large dinner party! It's even better if made the day before serving to give time for the flavors to marry.
Table of Contents
What You'll Need
- Sour Cream
- Sugar or Sugar Substitute
- Ranch Dressing Mix
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Green Leafy Lettuce
- Red Onion
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Cheddar Cheese
Tools You'll Need
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- The layers of colors are beautiful and appealing in a potluck line of food choices.
- Light versions of ingredients work great in this salad making it a lower-calorie and lower-fat side dish option.
- The combination of the flavor and textures of all the ingredients is amazing!
- It’s easily customizable to your taste preference and meal plan.
- You can make it the night before an event, leaving you with less to do when it's time to serve.
How to Make Southern Layered
- Start by washing and chopping all your vegetables. Having this done will make assembly quick and easy.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, and dressing mix.
- To a glass dish of your choice, layer each ingredient in an even layer so that each layer is visible on the outside of the dish. The order of ingredients are iceberg lettuce, green leafy lettuce, cauliflower, red onion, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and bacon.
- Spread the dressing in an even layer on top of the bacon, then sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.
- Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to marry.
Tips and Substitutions
- You can customize the ingredients according to your taste preferences. You can also use different types of lettuce or add other vegetables or toppings.
- It is best if you make this salad the day before serving. Layered in the recipe order, the ingredients won't get soggy and will meld together perfectly.
- Traditionally, this salad isn’t one you toss together. This helps preserve the crispiness of the layers of vegetables. However, if you want to do that before serving it, go for it!
- Other vegetables that work great in a layered salad are:
- Sliced Radishes
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts
- Fresh Corn
- Blanched Asparagus
- Blanched Green Beans
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Diced Bell Peppers
- Chopped Celery
- Shredded Carrot
- Diced Cucumbers
- Other ingredients that work great in a layered salad are:
- Boiled Eggs
- Different Cheese Varieties
- Chopped Cooked Chicken
- Chopped Nuts
- Smoked Turkey or Ham
- Water Chestnuts
- Cooked Pasta
- Fried Onions
- You can omit the ranch if you’d like. If you don't want to use a ranch powder mix, you can make your own. Mix together these ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon parsley
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- Some recipes call for bacon and cheese to be added at the time of serving. From my experience, it didn’t make a difference but do as you’d like.
- What to serve with Southern Layered Salad? The possibilities are endless! It goes great with nearly any meal. We love to have it with anything from the barbecue, cooked chicken, and burgers, and smack dab in the middle of 30 other side options at a potluck.
- If the salad has been sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, discard it as it may have become unsafe to eat.
- Since this salad isn't tossed together with the dressing, it will last longer than most salads in the refrigerator. Store leftover salad covered in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
More Recipes Like This
- Loaded Restaurant Salad
- Club Salad
- Barbecue Chicken Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Cauliflower Bacon Salad
- Holiday Broccoli Salad
Southern Layered Salad
- ½ cup sour cream regular or light
- ½ cup mayonnaise regular or light
- 2 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
- 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 2 cups chopped green leafy lettuce
- 1 cup chopped cauliflower
- ¾ cup sliced red onion
- 1 cup chopped sugar snap peas
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- ¾ cup cooked chopped bacon
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and dressing mix.
- In a glass trifle bowl, bowl or dish, layer the salad ingredients in this order: iceberg lettuce, green leafy lettuce, cauliflower, red onion, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and bacon. Spread the ingredients evenly so that the layers are visible at the side of the dish.
- Spread the dressing in an even layer on top. Lastly, sprinkle on the cheese.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.