My mother always made layered salad during the spring. She served it in one of her pretty clear glass serving dishes, and it frequently accompanied our Easter ham. I’ve seen many variations over the years — red bell pepper, mushrooms, and even cold brown rice — but the salad is always “frosted” with a layer of mayonnaise and normally features a base of iceberg lettuce.
I recently created my own interpretation of the dish, adapting the traditional recipe by using some healthier ingredients. I also tweaked it by serving it in individual dishes rather than one large bowl. Instead of “orange” cheddar cheese, I used a very sharp, white, raw cheddar. I also added heirloom salad greens and sun-dried tomatoes, both from my garden, and made a buttermilk dressing from my homemade mayonnaise.
The first time I made my own mayo, using olive oil instead of vegetable oil, I whipped it together in my food processor using the recipe found in Nourishing Traditions. The result was so bitter it was unpalatable. I was told that the heat from the friction of the blades caused the oil to go rancid. Whether or not that was true, we couldn’t eat the result. Now, I use my stick blender since it is more gentle on the oil, and I recommend this method for the recipe below.
I’ve featured my family’s favorite ingredients, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand or whatever strikes your fancy. The amounts are easily adjustable to suit your taste.
Individual Layered Salads
For each serving:
- approximately 1/2 cup fresh, torn salad greens (any spring mix is fine; I used Forellenschluss, Amish Deer Tongue, Red Velvet, and Red Romaine)
- 3 tablespoons purple onion, finely diced
- 1 hard-boiled free range egg, chopped
- 1/4 cup green peas, fresh or thawed if frozen
- 1/4 cup crumbled nitrate-free, cooked bacon
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
Layer the ingredients in a small 2-cup glass bowl or mason jar. Pack everything down lightly and push into all the corners to create definite edges. Pour dressing over the top, allowing it to run down the sides of the layers. Top with 1/4 cup of shredded sharp white raw cheddar cheese. For best flavor and results make sure both the lettuce and the peas are thoroughly dried before adding to the bowls.
- 1 whole free range egg at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or anything similar to Dijon)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- scant 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- generous pinch sea salt
In a glass container such as a quart jar or the plastic base of your stick blender, briefly beat the eggs, lemon juice, and vinegar until just combined. While blender is running, add the oil in a very thin stream. Stop as soon as mixture has thickened. As an additional option, but not necessary, feel free to add a bit of your favorite sweetener.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or 1 fresh garlic clove, crushed
- generous pinch dried dill
- generous pinch dried parsley
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk together in a glass container and adjust seasonings and thickness to your liking.
Do you make a layered salad? What are your favorite ingredients?
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