Party Food

Easy Mexican Layered Salad

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This Chopped Mexican salad recipe is layered with flavor and color!

Some people think of a salad bowl as some part of a diet deprivation, but eat this easy Mexican layered salad and you’ll feel indulged. It’s a visual delight and a taste treat. Once you try this easy chopped recipe, bet you’ll be craving the fresh deliciousness for lunches and dinners—it’s that good. And since there are all sorts of add-in options, like corn, black beans, lettuce, chicken, ground beef and more, it’s a very versatile salad that you don’t get tired of.

Easy Mexican Layer Salad


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Have you ever noticed that whatever you give your attention to, you tend to crave it even more? I’ve found that to be true whether it’s Pinterest, Netflix, or even food. The only thing it doesn’t seem to hold true with is house cleaning—but that’s a different story.

Fresh and healthy layered salads are super any time of year but it seems my appetite for veggies increases as the outside temperature rises. This Mexican salad recipe is one of my best go-to summer salads for family or friendly get togethers.

I enjoy salads that are exclusively vegetable but when I want to be sure no one is hungry a short time later, I love to include beans, beef, or chicken in the mix.

My very favorite combo for this Mexican layer salad includes both beans and chicken but I’ve also made it with beans and ground beef and we like that, too.

Cinco de Mayo Recipe

If you are looking for a strictly vegetarian meal, adding quinoa is another way to increase the protein and switch up the taste in this salad.

Quinoa is rich in protein, high in fiber, and gluten free, making it a great addition. Regular quinoa only takes about 15 minutes to prepare or you can find a five-minute prep version of quinoa in the grocers’ frozen food section. Guess which one gets my vote!

 

How to Make Mexican Layer Salad

Chopped salads can be labor intensive but using ingredients like canned black beans, canned corn, and pre-shredded cheese makes the cook’s job easy in this recipe. You can even use canned chicken or a deli chicken to speed things up.

And if you’re like me, quick and easy is a high priority on the dinner menu want-list most days and most certainly when summer’s good weather is inviting me to play outside.

Leafy greens, like spring mix or romaine lettuce, plus cheery red tomatoes, add color and flavor to this vegetable mélange. Include purple onion for an extra kick or toss in avocado or jicama chunks, snap peas, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, or bell peppers. In other words, customize with your favorite veggies.

 

Cinco de Mayo Food Ideas

The diverse combination not only looks appealing, you’re piling on vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of good-for-you elements. So, this salad not only satisfies your appetite, it makes you feel virtuous!

If company is coming, you can also display the ingredients in individual bowls and allow guests to personalize by building their own favorite mix from your “salad bar”. That works especially well for casual summer gatherings.

Topped with taco spices and a ranch-sour cream dressing seasoned with jalapeno and cilantro, Mexican chopped salad definitely wakes up taste buds and gives you that authentic southwestern flavor.

Squeeze limes and add a sprinkle of sea salt flavors for more culinary adventure.

And one more thing: Add a side of chips for even more crunch. When I’m in a hurry (which is most of the time!) I opt for bags of yellow and blue corn chips. They taste about the same as each other, yet the color difference adds a little extra something to the table display.

But if you want to up your game, semi-homemade tortilla chips are great. Bake your own chips with purchased tortillas. This past year I’ve really gotten into oven roasting all sorts of things. If you have the time and inclination, a little drizzle of olive oil plus a sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper (or garlic salt) on corn tortillas tastes amazing.

Homemade Salad Dressing

Set the oven on about 400 degrees. I use kitchen scissors to cut tortillas into moderate-sized pieces. Arrange them on a baking sheet before drizzling them with olive oil and whatever salt mix you choose. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Watch to make sure they don’t burn. You might need to flip them half way through. The taste is awesome!

The layered effect of all those beautiful vegetables and ingredients looks fabulous in a clear glass bowl. It’s as if an artistic brick mason lingered in the kitchen and left a surprise, but another fun thing to do, especially if you’re
having company, is to serve Mexican layered salad in tortilla shell bowls. They’re easy to make with (purchased) 10-inch flour tortillas. They seem to bring out the kid in everyone! There’s something about eating your bowl…

There are a couple of ways to make them.

If you’re only making a few tortilla bowls, use oven-safe, soup-sized bowls inverted on a baking sheet. Either spray the outside of the bowls or one side of each tortilla and drape the tortillas over the bowls. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let them cool before removing so they keep their shape.

Or you can use  (Amazon affiliate link) non-stick tortilla shell makers. The resulting uniform sizes can be easily stacked and stored until you’re ready to use them. That’s a practical way to make the bowls happen if you’re making more than just a few.

Easy 7 Layer Mexican Salad Recipe

Pairing this wonderful salad with a little southwestern décor adds a festive air, especially if you are having friends over. Gorgeous bursts of colors are a must so throw a Mexican blanket over the serving table. A vibrant bouquet of flowers, pots of cactus or an arrangement of the colorful vegetables used in the salad make a centerpiece statement.

Miniature piñatas make super table decorations or take-home favors for guests. String Papel Picado (traditional Mexican paper flags) overhead. Play background music. Spanish guitar music is a popular theme-appropriate sound.

Frozen margarita popsicles are a great way to end the meal. Make it non-alcoholic for the youngest guests by using lemonade, limeade, orange (or mango) juice and carbonated water.

One more thing to know is how many servings this delicious Mexican salad recipe makes. That’s hard to say…depends on how hungry everyone is! Increase the ingredients if you’re feeding a gang, but if you follow the recipe below, a big bowl of this granddaddy of all Mexican salads makes about six generous servings.

Mexican layered salad boasts big flavor and it is colorful enough for a party but don’t wait for a celebration—indulge your family this week. This salad is an easy way to get a great meal on the table in very little time. Mexican hat dance, anyone? Ole!

Print

MEXICAN LAYER SALAD


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Ingredients

  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, diced in half
  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • DRESSING
  • 1 medium sized tomatillo
  • ½ jalapeno
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 package powdered ranch mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of sour cream

Instructions

  1. Prep: Chop the romaine into small, bite-sized pieces and place in a colander or salad spinner to rise. Make sure leaves are dry before assembling salad. Rinse and drain corn and beans. Rinse and slice tomatoes in half or quarters.
  2. Layer salad: romaine, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, chicken then repeat with a second layer of each ending with a layer of chicken.
  3. Dressing: Peel and rinse tomatillo. Roughly chop it and add to a blender with jalapeno, cilantro, ranch mix, milk and sour cream. Blend on medium-high until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 3455
  • Sugar: 75
  • Sodium: 3651
  • Fat: 175
  • Saturated Fat: 88
  • Unsaturated Fat: 70
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 179
  • Protein: 310
  • Cholesterol: 965

Check out these other great Mexican inspired recipes you might love!

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Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.