My Godmother gave me a recipe book put together by her church. It is filled with classic pot luck recipes handed down from generation to generation. One of my favorite recipes from it is the Overnight Salad, also known as the Seven Layer Salad. My family loves it, especially with holiday dinners. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years. Change the recipe to suit you and your family. Try some low carb and low calorie ingredients.
For a pretty presentation, layer into a large glass salad bowl. Prepare the night before, cover with plastic wrap, store in the refrigerator. Serves 6 to 8 people.
Layer 1: 1/2 a bag of spinach leaves
Use the baby leaves, the large leaves have woody stems and you have to tear them up. Tearing can make them soggy when resting overnight. Or, use 1/2 a bag of mixed greens.
Layer 2: 10 pieces bacon
Cook until crispy, crumble into a layer. I use the precooked bacon and heat in the microwave 10 to 15 seconds a time until crisp. Cool the bacon completely before adding to the salad.
Layer 3: 4 hardboiled eggs, chopped into pieces
Cool the eggs completely before adding into the salad.
Layer 4: 1/2 a bag of iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Iceberg lettuce provides a satisfying crunch. Putting a second (different) layer of lettuce here protects the upper layers from the eggs so that each layer stays fresh.
Layer 5: 20 sugar snap peas, cleaned and cut into pieces
Or, 1 box frozen peas, defrosted. A low carb, low calorie substitute for this layer is cucumber. Peel 2 medium cucumbers. Cut out the seeds, cut into small pieces.
Layer 6: 2 cups seedless black grapes, cleaned and cut in half
I love the sweet surprise of grapes in a salad, but for a low carb, low calorie alternate use 1/2 a carton of fresh crispy bean sprouts.
Layer 7: 1/2 pound swiss cheese
Cut into thin strips then cut into pieces. This layer provides a firm base for the dressing.
3/4 cup sour cream (use fat free for lower calories)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (use fat free for lower calories)
Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Spread over the top. A plastic spatula is the best spreader. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Cover with plastic wrap, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Sometimes it seems as though there is too much dressing for the salad. When ready to serve, spoon about 1/3 of the dressing top into a bowl. Mix the salad and remaining dressing together, add dressing from the bowl until it is the right combination.
For those who want fewer calories, serve the dressing separately. Scrape as much of the dressing off as possible and put in a bowl. Stir the salad and serve the dressing separately, people can add as much or as little as they prefer.
To add a little more crunch and flavor, sprinkle croutons or pine nuts over the top after stirring.
Mangia bene, eat well!