Seven-layer salad is an American salad dish consisting of seven layers of different ingredients. These ingredients include lettuce, hard-cooked eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peas, bacon and cheddar cheese, along with a topping of mayonnaise and seasoning of salt and pepper. The salad is known as much for its taste as for its colorful layers which look extremely appealing through the glass dish it is prepared and served in.
History of Seven Layer Salad
The salad is known to have originated from the southern region of the United States. It was called ‘seven layer pea salad’ due to the multiple layers of peas. The traditional version of the dish was covered with a mayonnaise coat, and sometimes sour cream was used instead of mayonnaise. The basic recipe is still much the same today.
Preparation of Seven-Layer Salad.
To prepare the salad, a layer of chopped lettuce is placed on the bottom of a large bowl, on which salt and pepper are sprinkled. This is followed by layers of frozen peas which have been thawed, more lettuce, crisply cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and salt and pepper sprinklings. The entire salad is covered with mayonnaise which has been mixed with sugar. Some chefs mix parmesan cheese with the mayonnaise and sugar, while others may use sour cream instead of mayonnaise. The salad is chilled in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours. It is garnished with paprika and green onion before serving.
Serving Seven Layer Salad
Seven-layer salad is served in a bowl or pan made of glass so that the various layers are visible, adding to the visual appeal of the dish, which is often included in the menu of potlucks, barbeques and picnics or other large gatherings. The salad layers may be increased, decreased or altered as per individual taste.
Seven-Layer Salad Variations
The salad can be made in different ways, and the number of layers as well as the ingredients can be experimented with. Variants are made using ingredients like ham, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers and carrots. A famous Florida restaurant uses sliced mozzarella cheese, basil and red tomatoes. Some recipes also replace fatty ingredients like mayonnaise or sour cream with lower fat variants like a vinaigrette dressing or yoghurt. Black beans, chickpeas, tomatillos and pepperoni are other ingredients that are used.
Nutritional Information of Seven Layer Salad
The salad is a very nutritious dish that combines the varied nutritional benefits of the layers of ingredients used. It is hence a source of many essential vitamins and minerals. The calorie count varies with the recipe, but on an average, a cupful of the salad has 200 calories, of which 65 percent are from fat, 25 percent from carbohydrates and 10 percent from protein.
The seven-layer salad has been a favorite dish of Rita Mae Brown, the famous author of ‘Rubyfruit Jungle’.