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Cold Salad Recipes: Southwestern 7 Layer Salad

Updated on August 2, 2012
southwestern seven layer salad
southwestern seven layer salad

Seven Layer Salad Recipe

In the steamy months of a typical South Georgia summer, I use a lot of cold salad recipes. I love the chill, the crunch, and the flavor of all the varied ingredients I use, especially in my summer salad recipes. There’s sometimes no telling what I might toss with the greens! My choices might include raw veggies, fresh fruit, nuts, herbs, seafood, turkey, boiled eggs, chicken, cheese, bacon, or whatever else I might have on hand at the time. This is often the case when I make seven layer salad, one of our favorite salad recipes. The traditional 7 layer salad includes lettuce, green peas, onion, boiled eggs, cheese, bacon bits, and a creamy dressing. Recently, I tweaked the classic 7 layer salad and turned it into a southwestern salad. I took it to a big Easter dinner cookout, and everyone loved it! Try my southwestern seven layer salad recipe with grilled steaks, barbecue ribs, burgers, chicken, or seafood. The salad also goes well with just about any type of southwestern cuisine, Tex Mex recipes, and Mexican food.

Green salad recipes are perfect with steaks.
Green salad recipes are perfect with steaks.

Green Salad Recipes

What sort of greens should you use in green salad recipes? Of course, most folks have their favorites, but I like to use the ones that are the freshest. Back when I had a big garden, I grew several different types of lettuces, along with spinach and other types of greens. Each type has a distinct flavor and sometimes a different texture. I like to use a mixture in green salad recipes – not just for taste, but also for visual appeal. What we usually think of as “greens” actually represent several different colors, shades, and shapes. Colors and shades range from pale green to deep green, and from red to dark purple. For the seven layer salad recipe I’m sharing here, I often use a good mix of different lettuces. If you don’t grow your own salad greens, check your local farmers’ market.

Try adding seasonal fruits to your summer salad recipes.
Try adding seasonal fruits to your summer salad recipes.

Summer Salad Recipes

Again, freshness is an important element to tasty summer salad recipes. There’s no reason to stick just to greens, either. Take advantage of whatever fresh fruits and veggies are available, even if you have to “think outside the box.” Of course, traditional choices include tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli florets, purple cabbage, raw cauliflower, carrots, and such, but don’t stop there. Try adding some sliced summer squash or some zucchini to your summer salad recipes. Also, fresh fruit adds a wonderful sweetness to green salad recipes. Try sliced peaches, diced pears, mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries with your leafy greens. Why should your summer salad recipes be bland and boring?

7 layer salad is great with ribs!
7 layer salad is great with ribs!

Southwestern Cuisine

What is southwestern cuisine? I’m just including this in case some non-U.S. readers stumble upon this hub and might be a bit confused. Southwestern cuisine, as the name implies, originated in the southwestern states of the nation, including Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. It’s a reflection of cowboy cooking and cooking on the wide, open range with locally grown ingredients. Typical dishes in this type of cuisine are often those shared with Tex Mex recipes and Mexican food recipes. An emphasis is often placed on chili peppers, spices, beans, rice, and sometimes corn. Popular examples of southwestern cuisine include fajitas, burritos, tacos, stuffed bell peppers, and rice and bean dishes. This type of cuisine is very popular, and some restaurants are devoted only to these specialty dishes. They can also be found, however, in many restaurants that serve Tex Mex recipes and Mexican food recipes.

Southwestern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

This seven layer salad is a nice change from the old seven layer salad recipe. Don’t get me wrong – I love the classic recipe. This dish, however, has that extra “kick” that I really appreciate in many foods. It’s spicy, slightly sweet, creamy, and crunchy. The lime juice and tomatoes give the salad a wonderful brightness, too, so it’s very refreshing.

This layered salad looks best in a trifle dish or some other type of clear glass serving bowl. If you’re taking it to a picnic or cookout, however, you might want to use a large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid.

Rate my recipe! Thanks!

4.5 stars from 4 ratings of Southwest 7 Layer Salad

Prep Time

Prep time: 20 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: About 12 servings


  • 6-7 cups mixed greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, (I like pepper jack here)
  • 1 red onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • bacon bits, (optional)


  1. Spread lettuce in the bottom of a large clear glass bowl. A trifle dish works great.
  2. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Spread the onion rings over the shredded cheese.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, lime juice, minced garlic, chipotle powder, and cayenne.
  4. Spread mixture over top of salad, sealing edges to bowl.
  5. Top with bacon bits, if desired.
  6. If you want the 7 layer salad to be really cold, place it in the fridge, covered, until chilled.

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