With fresh, crisp vegetables, tangy dressing, and layers of goodness, this make-ahead overnight layered salad is perfect for potlucks, picnics, or any occasion. Prepare it the night before to let the flavors meld together, and wake up to a beautiful and tasty dish that's sure to impress.
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This salad is a classic at picnics and for good reason. Not only is it easy to make, but it is a total crowd-pleaser!
Ingredients and Substitutions
There are many variations of this salad out there and this one is based solely on my personal preferences (hey, it is my website after all!) Most of the vegetables can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
- Lettuce: I prefer a blend of iceberg lettuce and baby spinach. You can swap with any lettuce that you like, but I do suggest that you choose something with some crunch.
- Vegetables: I chose to use frozen peas (thawed), diced red peppers, and green onion. You could easily use shelled edamame in place of the peas, tomatoes in place of the bell peppers, and red onion in place of the green if you would prefer any of those options.
- Savory Toppings: Diced hard-boiled eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped bacon are the classic choice. You can leave the eggs out if you prefer but I don't recommend leaving out the cheese or bacon.
For the dressing you will need:
- Sour Cream
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Herbs & Seasoning - Onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, chives, dill, salt, and pepper. You can omit all of these, or swap them with a ranch dressing packet.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Once you have prepped all of the ingredients for this layered salad, the hard part is behind you! You'll just assemble the salad and then refrigerate it overnight.
Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing together in a medium bowl and then set it aside.
In a large clear salad or trifle bowl layer the ingredients starting with the iceberg lettuce followed by the spinach, bell peppers, onion, hardboiled eggs, peas, dressing, cheddar cheese, and bacon in that order.
Tip: As you add each layer, start by putting the ingredients around the perimeter of the bowl. If there is any gap in the center, you can fill it in with extra lettuce. This ensures a nice presentation.
After the salad is assembled, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours before serving.
Here are some of my favorite ways to change up this recipe:
- Layered Pasta Salad - swap the lettuce and spinach with cooked and cooled rotini pasta. Add a layer of diced cucumbers.
- Layered Taco Salad - This recipe sounds and looks delicious. Follow the instructions here!
- Mason Jar Layered Salad - Follow the recipe as written, but layer the ingredients in mason jars instead of a large bowl. This version is perfect for meal prep or for picnic baskets.
As the name implies, this salad is best after it has chilled for at least 12 hours. It can be made up to 2 days in advance and leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
It's meant to be prepared the night before, so the flavors have time to meld together and create a delicious and cohesive dish but it can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
You can get creative with your ingredients! Typically, layered salads include a variety of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and onions. You can also add a protein like cooked chicken or beans, cheese, and nuts. The key is to choose ingredients that complement each other in flavor and texture.
Layering is an important aspect of the overnight layered salad. It's best to start with sturdier ingredients like lettuce or spinach on the bottom, followed by other veggies, protein, cheese, nuts, and dressing.
Overnight Layered Salad
- Large Glass Bowl
- 1 head Iceberg Lettuce chopped
- 9 oz Baby Spinach
- 3 Red Bell Peppers chopped
- 1 bunch Green Onion chopped
- 8 Large Hardboiled Eggs peeled and chopped
- 10 oz Frozen Peas thawed
- 8 oz Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1 lb Bacon cooked and chopped
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
- In a large clear salad or trifle bowl layer the ingredients starting with the iceberg lettuce followed by the spinach, bell peppers, onions, hardboiled eggs, peas, dressing, cheddar cheese, and bacon in that order.
- Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.