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Mexican Layered Salad

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close up shot of a big serving bowl full of Mexican Layered Salad
This beautiful layered Mexican salad is loaded with so many fresh vegetables!
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Table of Contents
  1. Mexican Layered Salad Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Mexican Layered Salad Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This Mexican layered salad recipe is a visual delight that’s loaded with flavor and color. Topped with a creamy dressing and crunchy tortilla strips, this chopped salad definitely wakes up the taste buds and gives you that authentic southwestern flavor.

close up shot of a big serving bowl full of Mexican Layered Salad

Mexican Layered Salad Ingredients

Mexican Layered Salad raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup crema Mexicana (can substitute sour cream)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (we like Cholula)
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning, optional
  • 1 cup corn, roasted or canned corn (about 2 cobs if roasting)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package of Santa Fe-style tortilla strips

PRO TIP:

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.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

MIX-INS: There are all sorts of add-in options to make this a very versatile salad. Add green onions, black olives, salsa, chicken, or taco meat. You can even use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken to speed things up.

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

CHIPS: The Santa Fe-style tortilla strips are available in the crouton/salad topping section of the grocery store. They are seasoned and are delicious, adding so much flavor to the salad. You could also use corn chips in a pinch if you can’t find tortilla strips.

DRESSING: You can substitute your favorite salsa or salad dressing for the simple sauce used here.

TOMATOES: Cherry tomatoes work just as well as grape tomatoes in this tasty recipe.

How To Make This Mexican Layered Salad Recipe

STEP ONE: Prepare the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl the crema, lime juice, hot sauce, and optional taco seasoning. Set aside.

salad dressing ingredients whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWO: Roast 2 ears of corn for added flavor to the salad. Trim kernels from the cobs and set them aside.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

We rubbed the corn with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and grilled it for about 20 minutes.

kernels trimmed from the corn cobb

STEP THREE: Prepare the vegetables by washing and chopping the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Dice avocado and squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top to preserve freshness.

PRO TIP:

You can vary the amounts of ingredients for personal taste preference.

vegetables washed and diced on a wooden board

STEP FOUR: Build the layered salad in a large trifle bowl or clear glass salad bowl with straight edges.

PRO TIP:

The layered effect of all those beautiful vegetables and ingredients looks fabulous in a clear glass bowl.

STEP FIVE: Layer half of the chopped lettuce on the bottom of the bowl. Add black beans, then cheese, then tomatoes.

salad prepared in a large bowl

STEP SIX: Add the other half of the chopped lettuce. Combine the diced bell peppers and corn and layer on top of the lettuce. Reserve a bit of tomato, peppers, and corn to garnish the very top.

salad prepared in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Drizzle the prepared sauce over the salad.

STEP EIGHT: Mound the avocado chunks around the top perimeter of the salad. Fill the center with a heaping pile of tortilla strips. Sprinkle a little bit of the reserved tomatoes and corn over the avocado for color variety.

salad topped with avocado and tortilla strips

STEP NINE: Serve immediately.

How To Serve

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.

This dish has all the elements to create a complete meal for a tasty weeknight dinner. Add Spanish rice on the side for a larger meal.

If you love Mexican-inspired food, make sure you try our campfire nachos and our taco ring.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: This delicious salad is best served fresh. All of the vegetables can be chopped and prepped ahead of time and then the salad can be assembled quickly. You could probably assemble everything except for the sauce, avocados, and tortilla chips up to a day ahead of time.

IN THE FREEZER: This salad must be served fresh and we don’t recommend trying to freeze any of the components.

close up shot of a bowl full of Mexican Layered Salad

Fresh and healthy layered salads are super any time of year but it seems my appetite for veggies increases as the outside temperature rises. Once you try this easy chopped recipe, bet you’ll be craving the fresh deliciousness for lunches and dinners—it’s that good.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I store this salad?

If you’d like to make this salad ahead of time, you can prepare the components and store them in separate containers in the fridge. Assemble it right before you are ready to enjoy it. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Can I add meat to this layered salad?

If you would like to add another protein in addition to or in place of the black beans, you could add a layer of chicken or taco meat to your salad.

Can I keep the leftovers of this salad?

Leftovers will keep for a day or two. If you anticipate having leftovers, it may be best to add dressing to individual portions so that the leftovers don’t get soggy.

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close up shot of a big serving bowl full of Mexican Layered Salad

Mexican Layered Salad

5 from 5 votes
This beautiful layered Mexican salad is loaded with so many fresh vegetables!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup crema Mexicana, or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons hot sauce, we like Cholula
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning, optional
  • 1 cup corn, about 2 cobs if roasting
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 15 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, or Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 3.5 ounces Santa Fe-style tortilla strips

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl the crema, lime juice, hot sauce, and optional taco seasoning. Set aside.
  • Roast 2 ears of corn for added flavor to the salad. Trim kernels from the cobs and set them aside. 
  • Prepare the vegetables by washing and chopping the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Dice avocado and squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top to preserve freshness.
  • Build the layered salad in a large trifle bowl or clear glass salad bowl with straight edges.
  • Layer half of the chopped lettuce on the bottom of the bowl. Add black beans, then cheese, then tomatoes. 
  • Add the other half of the chopped lettuce. Combine the diced bell peppers and corn and layer on top of the lettuce. Reserve a bit of tomato, peppers, and corn to garnish the very top.
  • Drizzle the prepared sauce over the salad.
  • Mound the avocado chunks around the top perimeter of the salad. Fill the center with a heaping pile of tortilla strips. Sprinkle a little bit of the reserved tomatoes and corn over the avocado for color variety.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • 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.
  • We rubbed the corn with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and grilled it for about 20 minutes.
  • You can vary the amounts of ingredients for personal taste preference.
  • The layered effect of all those beautiful vegetables and ingredients looks fabulous in a clear glass bowl.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 241mg | Potassium: 428mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6450IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 208mg | Iron: 1mg
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