Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mexican 7-Layer Salad

I've looked at this recipe when I flipped through the magazine a few times and have finally decided to take a stab at it. I didn't put it off before because I thought it would be difficult to prep and assemble. It's because it calls for the dressing to be spread over the entire thing, all at once, and there is no way I can eat 8 servings of salad in a day. Why did I feel I had to do it all-or-nothing? For the sake of a photo. A work-around was figured out.

Mexican 7-Layer Salad
1/2 c light mayonnaise
1/2 c light sour cream
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp mashed chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tsp grated lime peel

6 c torn romaine lettuce, divided
1 c cooked corn kernels
1 c diced seeded tomato
1 avocado, diced (about 1 cup)
1 c diced orange bell pepper
1 c canned black beans, drained, rinsed
1 c finely diced red onion
1 c diced pepper Jack cheese
1 c coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Whisk all dressing ingredients in small bowl. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

After the initial stir, I tasted it and thinking it could do with a little bit more of a bite, added more chipotle.

In deep 10-cup clear glass bowl or baking dish, layer half of the lettuce. Top with corn, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, beans, remaining lettuce, onion and cheese, spreading each to sides so layers will show. Spread dressing over top, covering cheese completely.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Sprinkle with chips just before serving.

The salad is really good. I mean so good I could probably eat it every day, though I wasn't totally thrilled with the dressing. I'm not sure what about it I didn't like, but maybe it's just because of my knowing-it-has-mayo-and-don't-like-mayo factor. Attempts of making the pretty layers would immediately be skipped if I was making this for myself again. I'd consider this for a potluck if I ever come across a giant bowl with straight sides.

As for the imaged presentation, I cheated. That is a 6-cup Pyrex bowl with a 2-cup Pyrex bowl inverted in the middle. I was able to pack/sprinkle in the ingredients outside the 2-cup bowl, use the minimum quantity of dressing, and then top with lettuce and chips. Yes, I had to dig through the lettuce to pick the little bowl out, but my fingers were clean. Best of all, I could dump the remaining individually refrigerated salad components into a bowl later, haphazardly - no soggy salad!

  • light mayonnaise: $0.62
  • light sour cream: $1
  • lime: $0.20
  • chipotle chile in adobo sauce: $0.25
  • romaine lettuce: $0.99
  • corn: $0.59
  • tomato: $0.29
  • avocado: $0.97
  • orange bell pepper: $1.50
  • canned black beans: $0.81
  • red onion: $0.42
  • pepper Jack cheese: $0.75
  • tortilla chips: $0.15

Total: $8.54 or $1.07 for each of eight small servings.