When I asked Rita what she wanted on the menu for her birthday dinner, she requested that the #1 Son (Rita and Teresa’s only brother) Jorge to make his special Seven-Layer Salad. I have a different recipe somewhere for a salad that has more layers but Jorge’s recipe is always a winner and he was happy to make it for her. So I texted him for a shopping list of ingredients and had the veggies washed and prepped when he arrived from California.
Jorge’s Seven-Layer Salad
1 large head of iceberg lettuce, washed and trimmed
1 medium-sized red onion, washed and peeled
1 bunch/head of celery, washed and trimmed
16-20 ounces frozen sweet green peas, partially defrosted
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (gluten-free, light or otherwise)
1 cup (or more) *grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar Hormel *real bacon bits (gluten-free) (List of GF Hormal Foods)
The salad is best when prepared the night before but even just a few hours in the refrigerator after assembly yields good results.
You will need a chopping board, a sharp knife, and a very large bowl about 5-6 quarts, 2 smaller bowls, or halve the recipe.
The lettuce, celery, and red onion are chopped into small bite-size pieces and layered into the bowl in the order given. If the lettuce pieces are too large they will try to push the other layers out of the bowl and the salad will not fit. The red onion is what permeates the salad and gives it a distinctive flavor. Jorge likes to cut the onion into pieces that are large enough for people to pick out if they have problems consuming raw onions.
The frozen peas are spread over the previous three layers. Spread enough mayonnaise to completely cover the peas thereby sealing in the vegetables for the flavors to blend. Then cover the bowl; either with a lid or plastic wrap and move to the refrigerator for 3-24 hours before serving. Top with the grated Parmesan and the bacon bits just before serving.
You may use *vegan options, such as Galaxy Parmesan Flavored Topping and/or Betty Crocker Bac-O Bits. You may want to top the salad with Bac-O Bits before refrigerating so they will absorb some moisture and soften somewhat. I’ve always found them to be hard on my teeth.
The ingredient list may not sound like a gourmet recipe but it is always a hit at family dinners or a potluck. It is also a time saver since it is prepared ahead and easily transported. There were only six of us for Rita’s birthday dinner and the salad was nearly eaten before I even got a picture .
Rita also requested another family favorite, Arroz Clássico, which daughter Teresa blogged about at The Traveling RD. This rice dish is another recipe composed of simple pantry ingredients. The basic recipe calls for Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice. I have made it with brown rice although it takes longer to cook than the converted rice. The texture and flavor of the brown rice plays well with the other ingredients.
It was a great weekend with close family gathered here at the house.
This post is linked to:
Wellness Weekend February 16-20, 2012
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.
Gretchen (Mom), Rita, Jorge, and Teresa