Southwestern Layered Salad

Mexican Corn Bread Salad Ahh, layered salad. I heard about them for years, and never thought I would like them, until I made one, and then I loved ’em.

So this was sure to be a hit, and it was, and we ate every last drop.

One of the shocking things about a layered salad, is that if constructed correctly, it keeps pretty well for a few days in the fridge and maintains it’s crispness and doesn’t get soggy either.

So do think about trying it.


  • 6-8 cups of lettuce of your choice, but I think iceberg just does the best here. But you can use romaine and even a bit of leaf lettuce.
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 can of rinsed and drained beans of your choice. Pintos, red beans, garbanzo, black, etc.
  • 1 can of corn, drained (frozen can be used as well)
  • 2 green chiles, roasted, seeded and chopped
  • 2/3 cup of black olives, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (drain well)
  • 2/3 cup or so of scallions sliced, green parts included
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice–cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • 4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c mayonnaise
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • salt and pepper


  1. Layer your veggies up to the cheese in any order you like, but start with the lettuce. Make sure you lay your tomatoes on a couple of pieces of paper towelling. Do this with the black olives too, to get them as dry as possible. Once they are as dry as possible, then layer them in. It’s best to end with the avocado so the dressing can seal it off from air which keeps it nice and green.
  2. Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo. Add the can of chiles, and mix. Add salt as needed and some pepper to taste.
  3. Spread the dressing over the top of the veggies making sure to get to the edges so you “seal” in the veggies well.
  4. Sprinkle with the cheese so that it covers the top.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.


NOTES: It’s best to use a straight sided bowl if possible. To serve you want to cut straight down, so each serving contains the full array of the contents. The salad is sturdy enough to usually hold its place so that the last serving has some of all of the ingredients, most especially the dressing. Serve with some tortilla chips on the side.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton


Potatoes, Chiles and Radiccio Salad

homefriesSalads are always great as a side and this is one that is really nice both in the winter and summer.

It’s Southwestern in design but is not particularly spicy, so don’t be afraid of it if you have no taste buds for hot.

Ingredients are readily available in the north. Down here we use Hatch chiles, but just use Anaheim or Poblano and you’ll be fine.

I’ve changed this recipe a bit from its original by Bobby Flay.




  • 3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 small head radicchio, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 green onions, green and pale green parts thinly sliced


  1. If you have a gas range, lay the chiles on the grate and turn on the jets, turning as needed until chiles are nice and black on the outside. Place in a plastic bag and seal. Leave until cool. Remove and under cold water rub off the skins. Slice off the tops and slit down one side. Remove seeds and membranes and then dice up.
  2. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside to meld.
  3. Dice the potatoes (you don’t have to peel) and boil until almost done. You want some integrity. Drain.
  4. Place in a cast iron skillet with canola oil which has been heated to fairly hot. Fry, turning as necessary until the potatoes are nicely browned on all sides.
  5. Remove the potatoes to a bowl. Add the radicchio, cilantro, scallions, chiles, and dressing. Mix gently and serve warm.


NOTES: This makes a great base for a meat salad…Just add your favorite grilled chicken, steak or pork roast slices and you have a great hearty salad meal.

SOURCE: Adapted from Bobby Flay

Kitchen Sink Optional Bean Salad

beany feta saladOkay, so this is the kind of recipe that comes about when you have an entrée like hotdogs or hamburgers, and you are really tired of french fries, and coleslaw, and all the usual stuff you attach to such a meal.

So you start going through the pantry and pulling stuff out.

And this is what you come up with.


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 c roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
  • olive oil, about 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup
  • handful of parsley, chopped


  1. Mix everything together.
  2. Serves best at room temperature.


NOTES: Feel free to add or subtract stuff as you like. You could substitute the jalapeños for Kalamata olives for instance. Or throw in some zucchini. Or radishes. Whatever you have on hand will pretty much work.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton


Grapes of Not Wrath Salad

grapeOkay, I ran into this on Facebook. And I thought, wow, that looks like it’s both easy and pretty darn tasty. Assuming you like grapes, which I do.

So, as I was poking around, it seemed to me, that everybody knew all about this salad and I was the only one who was going “wow what a great idea!”

So I’m a little slow and perhaps have led a sheltered life.

And all the recipes are about the same, which is good because I have no clue who to thank anyway.

So here are the basics. Kid super friendly! I suspect you can make this way less fattening if you use all the non-fat and sugar-free stuff.


  • 2 lbs of grapes. Mix and match for a prettier effect. I use the red and black Concords mostly.
  • 4 oz of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 1 c pecans, walnuts or any nut or seed you like
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Clean the grapes and spread out on paper towelling to dry thoroughly. You don’t want to use wet grapes as your dressing will become watery and very unattractive.
  2. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, honey and extract together until combined.
  3. Dump on the grapes and mix gently so as not to rupture grapes but to get all covered nicely.
  4. Sprinkle with the nuts. Don’t mix in, they will just get soft.


SOURCE: Sherry Peyton


Cobb Salad Anyone?



When it’s hot, only a salad will do. But when it’s dinner time, you want a salad that is filling, so meat is on the menu.

Cobb salads are as varied as your imagination, so in one sense, what’s the point of a recipe?

This just gives you the basic outline. Swap out veggies you don’t care for, include those you do, and for goodness sake DO include your favorite dressing. You can make this Italian, or French or Mexican or Caribbean as your heart desires. I’ll include some of the possibilities in the note.


  • 1 head of Boston Bibb lettuce
  • 1 c of diced chicken breast, cooked (grilling would be great here)
  • 1 c diced ham
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and (one inch dice is nice here)
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 3-4  hard-boiled, peeled and sliced eggs
  • 1 lg avocado, sliced
  • about 1/2 of a red onion, sliced paper-thin
  • Your favorite salad dressing, preferably home-made


  1. Break apart the lettuce, wash and spin dry. Place in a large bowl.
  2. You can compose the rest of the ingredients as pictured or place them in separate dishes for ease in each person choosing those items they like.
  3. Let each person plate their lettuce, the toppings and add the amount of dressing they desire

Serves: 3 nice servings

NOTE: You can add cucumbers, sweet peppers, green beans, olives, beans which have been rinsed and drained, and cubes of any kind of cheese. The best way to really change up the taste is of course to vary the dressing. I made my favorite blue cheese, but you could easily do a ranch, or adapt that to a southwestern flavor with chipotle powder and some lime juice. Also a strict vinaigrette with black or nicoise olives and some fresh mozzarella would be excellent. Serve with some great rolls and a nice glass of wine of your choice and you have a very filling and delightful meal.


Aw Shucks Southwestern Pasta Salad

If ever there was a recipe that is not sacrosanct in terms of ingredients, this would be the one.

You can add, subtract, change the amounts, just about do whatever you want, to make it fit your tastes.

That’s the beauty of pasta. It adapts. It has the ability to serve as the foundation of so many other tastes, and blend them beautifully.

This is but one version you might try. Quite frankly, it was what I had on hand at the time.

The dressing, however, can be used as a standard upon which to choose the veggies you wish.


  • 2/3 of a box of pasta of whatever shape you prefer.
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 c chopped scallions
  • 2/3 c chopped cherry tomatoes (or romas)
  • 1 c corn (frozen if fine)
  • 1/2 c Pico de Gallo (home-made preferred but commercial if you desire)
  • 2 tbsp Mexican spices (taco seasoning–homemade or commercial)
  • 2/3 c vinaigrette (using either lime juice or lemon as the acidic instead of vinegar)
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes


  1. Cook the pasta al dente and then cool until no more than warm.
  2. Add the veggies of you choice or those above.
  3. Add the mayo to the vinaigrette and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the spices to the vinaigrette and stir until mixed.
  5. Place the pepper flakes on a cutting board and run a knife over several times until it is minced. Add to the vinaigrette.
  6. Pour over the salad, and mix.

Serves: 6

NOTE: You may wish to consider beans of any type, rinse before adding. Broccoli flowerets, cauliflower, lima beans, green beans, radishes, carrots, the list is pretty much endless. You might substitute a finely minced jalapeño or other fresh hot chile for the pepper flakes. Consider a pickled hot pepper. Note also that the addition of shrimp, seasoned ground beef, chicken, ham, etc., would make this a complete meal.

Oh, Oh, Olive Salad

This is sublime. Simply said.

And it has a lot more uses than you might assume.

While traditional for a Muffulatta sandwich (which I’ll be posting tomorrow), it can be used with bruschetta and cream cheese or with goat cheese. It can be added to jazz up a pasta salad or macaroni or potato salad. You can be pretty inventive!

And if handled carefully, it can hold up quite well in the fridge. Just be very careful to use very clean spoons which haven’t been dipped in other foods, and you should be fine for several days if not a couple of weeks with this.

There are lots of recipes out there, but they are not all that different, just varying in a few ingredients. What is basic to all of course is the use of olives.

So do make sure you copy this one for use as your creative spirit leads you.


  • 2/3 c green olives, chopped
  • 2/3 c kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 c Gardeniara (pickled cauliflower, carrots, celery, and pepperoncini peppers), chopped a bit more finely
  • 1/2 c roasted red peppers drained, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 c chopped celery
  • 1/4 c chopped green scallions
  • 1/8 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp dried
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • EVOO as needed to bind everything
  • pepper to taste


  1. Mix all the ingredients together, add enough olive oil to bind, add pepper to taste.
  2. Store in fridge at least over night before using to blend all the flavors.
  3. Keep refrigerated using only clean spoons to remove as needed.