Better than traditional seven layer salad, this easy side dish recipe is high protein since it is loaded with cheese, bacon and eggs. The creamy homemade dressing has an amazing flavor. It’s a layered salad perfect for picnics and potlucks.
We all know that eggs often take center stage on the Easter holiday. Did you decorate Easter eggs or maybe have a delicious egg casserole for Easter brunch? If so, you likely enjoyed eggs from Ohio! For this Seven Layer Salad recipe, we partnered with the Ohio Poultry Association. Ohio is one of the largest egg farming states in the nation, producing over 9.5 billion eggs a year.
A special thanks to the OPA for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are our own.
Easter is over, but guess what? Eggs aren’t just for Easter! Today we’re sharing the perfect way to use up some of those Easter hard boiled eggs in this Seven Layer Salad recipe. It’s a classic.
Although this salad recipe is great for potlucks and picnics, my family can devour it in one sitting. It’s that good.
Seven Layer Salad is a traditional American dish that is served in a glass bowl so that you can see all of the beautiful, colorful layers. Although the traditional recipe has changed slightly over the years based on what a family likes, there is one thing that has always stayed the same:
People love it. it’s the PERFECT picnic side dish.
The first step to making seven layer salad is to mix up the dressing. Allowing the dressing to “rest” while you prepare the rest of the salad helps the flavors to blend together beautifully.
Our recipe calls for mayonnaise, a little sour cream, a touch of sugar for flavor and here’s our powerful secret….parmesan cheese. Guys….I could add parmesan cheese to every.single.thing I eat. I find it adds amazing flavor and richness to recipes. And this seven layer salad dressing is no different!
**Pro Tip: Use freshly shredded Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Buy a block of Parmesan and use a cheese grater to grate it finely. It’s so much better than pre-shredded Parmesan.**
You’ll find different ingredients in just about every seven layer salad recipe you look at. When we make our salad we think about 2 things. The first is color. We want our salad to be pretty! The second is protein. I like to sneak extra protein into any recipe I can. My kids are active and it’s hard to get enough protein in them at times.
One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals, plus no sugar and no carbs. Adding eggs to this salad is a GREAT way to add not only protein, but other important dietary needs to this salad.
Here are the layers:
Seven Layers Total! Now let’s talk about each one.
Seven layer salad traditionally calls for iceberg lettuce. Many times we will layer iceberg lettuce with baby spinach. This adds to the pretty green color on the bottom layer of the bowl. Use spring lettuce mix or Romaine if you’d like!
We used grape tomatoes that we sliced in half. We also like to use sliced Roma tomatoes because they are small. If you have garden fresh tomatoes, definitely use those.
Use frozen peas rather than canned peas. Frozen peas will have a better color and they are firmer than canned peas. Don’t worry about cooking the peas. Just let them thaw and add them to the salad.
Use leftover Easter eggs or whip out some hard boiled eggs quickly. We like to make eggs in the Instant Pot. We find they come out beautifully every time! If you generally have trouble with the shell sticking to the egg and not coming off cleanly, be sure you are using eggs that are about 7-10 days old. Fresh eggs are harder to peel. You can also place the hot eggs into a bowl of ice water to cool them quickly. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell which then makes it easier to peel off. Allow them to sit in the ice water for 5 minutes then peel them.
As with the Parmesan, we recommend using freshly shredded cheddar cheese. We prefer the taste of sharp cheddar, but you can use a mild cheddar if you’d like.
This is the perfect amount of dressing for us. If you are afraid it won’t be enough, you could make a little more and serve it on the side.
Make sure the bacon is drained, cooled and crumbled before adding it to the salad. Here’s a secret hint: We often pick up a maple flavored bacon and it adds a slight sweetness to the salad that is just unbeatable!
This is an ideal make-ahead salad. You place the “heartier” layers up towards the dressing and the lettuce sits at the bottom. The dressing will cover the top of the salad to “seal” in the freshness. You can easily make this salad one day before serving it. Make sure the dressing covers the top and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
As long as the layers are in tact, the salad will stay fresh for about 24 hours. But what about after you dig into the salad and the layers get a little mixed? At this point the lettuce may start to wilt the longer you keep it. We prefer to eat any leftovers the same day.
If add a little more lettuce the next day, you may find it is still ok to eat.
As you can see from the picture, this salad is beautiful when presented in a large glass bowl. The bowl we used was 4 quarts.
If you’d like, you can also make individual servings in wide mouth mason jars or in smaller single serving sized glass bowls.
Be sure to scroll down to read the answers to commonly asked questions about eggs.
Thank you to Ohio Eggs for answering some of our commonly asked questions about eggs:
The “Sell By” or “Expiration Date” labels on cartons ensure eggs aren’t kept on grocery store shelves past a certain date. Eggs can be safely eaten 2-3 weeks beyond the expiration date.
Hard-boiled eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs, so make sure you refrigerate hard-boiled Easter eggs within 2 hours of decorating them and use within 1 week. Once peeled, eggs should be eaten the same day. Remember to keep those eggs cold and don’t let them sit out too long!
Yes! To freeze eggs, the yolks and whites must be beaten together and not left in the shell; egg whites can also be frozen by themselves. Frozen eggs should be used within one year. So when eggs are on sale during the holidays, don’t be afraid to stock up!
You may be surprised, but the color of the egg shell or yolk has nothing to do with the egg’s nutritional value, quality or flavor. The color is determined by the breed of chicken. Usually, white hens lay white eggs, and brown hens lay brown eggs. Simple, right?