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7 Layer Salad

August 19, 2011

In my personal experience, I’ve met very few men – or children – who will willingly eat a salad.  It’s not something that is usually on their list of favorite foods.  Now, I’m not saying that this is true of ALL men or children, but as a general rule, I think that this is an accurate observation.

So, imagine my surprise when I first served this as a buffet offering awhile back and I noticed that men were actually eating it…..and in some cases coming back for seconds. The same can be said for teenagers.  The following recipe is the one salad recipe that seems to be a favorite with all ages and genders.

There are 2 secrets to this salad: (1) it is topped with what I very-unpolitically-correct call “white trash croutons” – crushed Fritos corn chips; and (2) creamy Italian dressing.  Now, if you do make this recipe, don’t go getting all experimental and make substitutions for these 2 key ingredients as it simply won’t taste as good. I know as I’ve tried and was disappointed anytime I changed either the Fritos chips or the dressing.  For instance, if you try and use corn tortilla chips – they’ll be crunchy but simply won’t taste as good as Fritos.  Or, if you use regular Italian or ranch dressing, again, it won’t taste the same. Sometimes, creamy Italian dressing is hard to find so I’ve provided a recipe for a home-made version.

So, follow the recipe just as written and I’ll bet anything that it also becomes one of your favorites.  It makes enough for 10 – 12 people making it perfect for a buffet or dinner party.


In a large salad or glass bowl, in this order, layer:

  1. 1  6 ounce bag of your favorite salad mix.
  2. 1 bunch of green onion, chopped
  3. 3 large or 4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  4. 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  5. 1 cup of creamy Italian dressing
  6. 2 cups of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
  7. 2 cups of crushed Fritos corn chips

To serve, use salad tongs and dig deep down to the bottom of the bowl and pull straight up – salad isn’t salad if all you eat is Fritos and cheese! As the cook/chef, do this for those you are serving at least the first few times – explaining that you have to get to the bottom to enjoy the experience of the whole salad


1 packet of Italian salad dressing mix

2 TBSP. sugar

3 TBSP. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together until completely mixed. Refrigerate until

ready to use.

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