salads,  vegetables + sides

9½ Layer Salad

For best results, make this a day ahead for the flavors to meld together.

When I reached “adult” status at our family gatherings (meaning I was old enough to contribute a dish), this salad is what I chose to bring. And I have been bringing it to every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas ever since. It makes a lot, so it is perfect or a big gathering. But that is also why it is such a treat–I could never make a salad of this size for the two of us.

It truly is one of those tried-and-true go to recipes that will work for any occasion.

Low country boil? Check.

Clambake?   Check.

Block party? Check.

Church potluck?   Check.

Cookout?   Check.

Molecular gastronomy party? Um, sure.

I combine different types of lettuce for this recipe because I like the texture and body of the iceberg but I love the color of green leaf lettuce and Romaine. You could certainly opt for one or the other.

I use a mandoline to thinly slice the red onion because the rings contrast the other ingredients nicely.  I also chop up some of the onion. (That’s the extra ½ layer in the title.) Top with tomatoes, bits o cauliflower or broccoli–whatever blows your skirt up.

For this recipe, I find it only fair to showcase it by using a clear bowl like a trifle bowl because the layers are so pretty.

No matter where or or what occasion you are eating this salad, I hope you enjoy it!


What layers did YOU add to this salad? I’d love to hear! Please tag your photo #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!

9½ Layer Salad (for 8-10)


  • ¾ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup light sour cream
  • 2   tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 small head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 bunch of green leaf lettuce or Romaine lettuce
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings and the rest chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 10 ounce package of frozen sweet green peas, thawed but not cooked
  • 4 ounces of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6-8 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • a handful of grape tomatoes, halved
  • S&P
  • Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and sugar. Set aside.

2. Tear and mix the lettuce (if using more than one type).

3. Add lettuce(s) to a bowl. Layer the bell pepper, chopped red onion, celery, and peas.

4. Spread mayonnaise-sour cream dressing.

5. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on the top, then the bacon, Parmesan, red onion rings, tomatoes, and S&P.

6. Chill for 24 hours.

7. About 10-15 minutes before serving, toss and top with more Parmesan cheese and S&P.


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