Delicious (Make-Ahead) Layered Lettuce Salad

posted by Andrea | 01/13/2015
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make-ahead layered lettuce salad

Remember… about a month ago, when I shared 10 tips for bringing food to potlucks or other holiday-type parties?

Do you also remember when I shared that I rarely ever take lettuce salads to potlucks because they are nearly impossible to make ahead and they won’t last as leftovers?

Well, the day after I published that post, I was asked to bring a lettuce salad to an upcoming party πŸ™‚

The party was on a day I was going to be gone and/or very busy most of the day so I knew I wouldn’t have much time to prep anything that day. I also didn’t have time to get to the store before making my food — so yes, my options were slightly limited!

I did a little searching around on Google, Pinterest, and AllRecipes.com, and I came up with a SUPER SIMPLE, make-ahead, taste-great-as-leftovers, lettuce salad that just so happened to taste fabulous.

Oh, and best of all, the ingredients can easily be swapped in and out depending on what you have in the fridge!

This Layered Lettuce Salad was a huge hit at our party — I actually ended up making it again for Dave’s family party, and we enjoyed the leftovers for a couple days after.

Recipe for Make-Ahead Layered Lettuce Salad

{print recipe}

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS:

**These are approximate measurements of the ingredients I used based on what I had in my fridge. Please feel free to mix it up with any of your favorite salad toppings.

  • 4-6 c. chopped lettuce (I used 2 heads of Romaine lettuce)
  • 1 c. dry brocoslaw mix
  • 1 c. chopped cauliflower florets
  • 2 c. frozen peas
  • 1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. bacon pieces (cooked and crumbled)
  • 3 hardboiled eggs
  • 1.5 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  • Chop lettuce and spread in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan (I prefer one with a tight-fitting lid)
  • Top lettuce with brocoslaw, cauliflower, peas, cheese and bacon (and any other toppings you choose)
  • For the dressing, mix mayo, sour cream, and sugar. Spread over salad mixture (it will be thick)
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top of the dressing
  • Peel and slice or chop hard boiled eggs and reserve for later (I serve the hard boiled eggs in a separate bowl since many people I know don’t love hard boiled eggs on their salads)

OTHER OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • diced onions (white, yellow, purple, etc.)
  • diced tomatoes
  • olives
  • shredded carrots or cabbage
  • dried cherries or cranberries
  • nuts, or sunflower seeds
  • chopped grilled chicken (if you want to make it more of a meal)
  • pretty much anything you like eating on a salad!

I can confidently say (after personal experience) that this salad tastes fabulous even when made the day before — and honestly, I ate some of the leftovers 4 days later and it still tasted very fresh.

This 9″ x 13″ salad took me less than 10 minutes to whip up and was WELL worth the effort.

I just love that I finally have a lettuce salad I can make ahead of time, customize to the ingredients I have in the house, and enjoy any leftovers that don’t get eaten (instead of throwing it away).

As I mentioned above, feel free to mix and match your favorite salad toppings. And if you don’t like the idea of a mayonnaise-based dressing, leave this dressing off and instead, serve this salad with your own favorite store-bought or homemade dressings — however, if you do this, I would keep the dressing separate instead of pouring it over the top.

You really can’t go wrong with this simple recipe!

Do you have any other make-ahead salad recipes?

VisitΒ my virtual recipe boxΒ for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

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19 comments

  1. Anneal

    03/07/2016

    Silly question… regarding the cutting of the romaine…I notice you are cutting the romaine still attached which is very efficient. But how do you wash the lettuce? I’ve always separated and washed the leaves first then cut them. Is there an easier way?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Anneal, The lettuce I buy says it’s “pre-washed” and it actually does seem quite clean. However, if I were going to wash it, I would probably chop it all up on the stalk, then us a salad spinner to rinse and spin it dry. That seems like the most time-efficient way of doing it (at least in my head!)

    [Reply]

    Anneal Reply:

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  2. Debbie

    10/30/2015

    My mom used to make these too, and everyone loves it! I say that anything with bacon seems to always be delicious. I just finally tried maple bar with bacon the other day and I was surprised that I liked it! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  3. Kelly

    02/18/2015

    My mom has been making this for a few years now (no cauliflower, and added water chestnuts) and it is delish! Everytime she invites my family over for dinner, I let her know that I’m expected the layered salad! Every one needs to try this. I LOVE it!

    [Reply]

  4. Debbie

    01/14/2015

    Love your version, I’ve been make it since the 70’s. I don’t use quite so much dressing and add more layers of the veggies I like. I’ve added pineapple and its really good. I’m going to try it with the parmesan cheese. I also don’t use sugar. I use splenda and light mayo, it’s still delish. Love your site. Debbie

    [Reply]

  5. Barbara

    01/14/2015

    Just need a little clarification–do you need to thaw the peas before adding to the salad? I’m thinking that when they thaw, it might make the salad watery.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you can do either — I always just dump them in frozen because that’s easier πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  6. Susan

    01/13/2015

    I add a package of dry Hidden Valley ranch mix to the mayo/sour cream mixture. Adds great flavor!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yum — love this idea. Dave is a huge Ranch dressing fanatic so I’m sure he would approve as well πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  7. Kathy C

    01/13/2015

    I like this idea. Kind of like a seven layer salad. While reading it, I had the idea that I bet you could layer the ingredients in quarts jars and have several salads ready for the work week.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, you could definitely put it in separate containers for lunches. The only think you might need to do is “stir” it really well before you eat so the dressing gets mixed through. I prefer making it in a flat dish so it’s easy to make it through ALL the layers with each bite!

    [Reply]

  8. rose

    01/13/2015

    I’m going to give this a try…..

    Also~ LOVE Love LOVE they way you present your recipe!

    Thanks for this easy healthy idea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Rose — hope you enjoy the salad. And feel free to make a much smaller batch if you’re feeding a smaller group πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  9. Sherry

    01/13/2015

    This is an awesome salad and I’ve made a version of this for a number of years. One tip for making this salad the day before is to chop the lettuce with a plastic knife or just tear the leaves. If you use a metal knife the leaves may turn brown at the edges. It doesn’t change the taste but it also doesn’t make your salad look as fresh.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good tip Sherry. I didn’t even think about that — but I used a ceramic knife (so not metal) and maybe that’s why my lettuce stayed so fresh looking!

    [Reply]

  10. filiz

    01/13/2015

    It’s delicious!

    [Reply]

  11. Paulette

    01/13/2015

    Definitely going to try this. I always receive many compliments when I try your recipes!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Paulette — glad to hear my recipes go over well with your friends and family πŸ™‚

    [Reply]