7 Layered Salad

By Maasi Saba

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Salads are quite refreshing. Some with a light vinaigrette, and some with a creamy dressing. I love the crunch sound in my mouth because of the juicy, crunchy lettuce and bell peppers, and the juicy tomatoes. I love to add some fried cottage cheese to my salads sometimes too. Though I’m not sure what the health ratio is in that particular salad.

Last summer, my sister was visiting, and she made this particular salad at my parents’ place several times. And each time, I was not there! But, this year, my sister in law made this salad for us one day when I was visiting. She kept going on and on about how amazing it was and so forth. I didn’t really believe her. LOL! Since we were all preparing for the lunch, she asked me to cut the vegetables. I tried my best but she did go back and recut some of the things. She explained to me that she wanted the vegetables cut in a certain way so one could get everything on the fork. It didn’t really make that much sense to me because to my knowledge, I was cutting the stuff small and thin. Anyway, we set out every vegetable we needed, sliced onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, black olives, and jalapeños. Since she had made this several times, she knew that the onions needed to be rubbed with salt and then washed well. They also needed to be drained well, and the dried in a towel (reasons I’ll share later). The olives, corn and jalapeños also needed to be properly drained. After about 20 minutes, she started layering the salad. It’s best to make this in a glass dish so one can see all the pretty colors of the vegetables.

So here is the order she liked best:

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-Sliced onions
-Sliced tomatoes
-Corn
-Sliced bell peppers
-Layer of salsa
-Sliced olives
-Chopped jalapeno peppers
-Layer of yoghurt

Set in fridge for an hour and it’s amazing. You’ll see.

So there are a few things I noticed and wanted to share with you all.

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Vegetables should be properly washed, drained and cut into small pieces.

Our onions were quite strong, so we cut ours in thin bit size strips and rubbed with salt. We washed them well, and after draining them for about ½ hour, we then proceeded to dry them in a towel. Because onions have water, it will actually make the salad liquid-y, and that isn’t nice. (I once forgot to dry them in a tea towel and low and behold, after a couple of hours, the yoghurt and water from the onions had made a layer at the bottom). All of the vegetables were sliced into bit size pieces. We used sliced olives to cut our time short. And I only used a few jalapeños, which I chopped into very small pieces. I felt a layer of these would be too spicy for my kids. I also used a medium flavored salsa, which is the imported kind because that is what I like. Also, we used the Nestle orange container yoghurt because it’s not sweet. My sister in law likes to use the juice of the jalapeños in most of the layers to make it tangy.  She just uses a few drops.

The actual recipe has mashed refried beans, avocado and sour cream. It’s actually a dipping sauce. They use cheese and some even bake theirs to make it into a salsa dip. It looks amazing on Pinterest. But alas, we don’t have all the ingredients available here, though this version is equally good. I made it the other day and it was even amazing with my daal chawal. My kids had it with their chicken tenders and rice. It makes for a nice side dish, and even a main dish as well. It’s cold, refreshing and healthy! What more could a gal want!  So please try it and enjoy.  I hope you all find it equally satisfying.

P.S., in my pictures, you will notice that my layers of bell pepper and olives aren’t fully covering the dish, I actually ran out. It is best if each layer is properly filled.

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