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Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad

This salad is an all-time favorite. I reach for the recipe whenever I need a dish to pass. It’s easy to make, can be assembled ahead of time and looks great. —Noreen Meyer, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked small pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 3 large hard-boiled large eggs, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup shredded Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
  • Place the lettuce in a 2-1/2-qt. glass serving bowl; top with pasta and eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer with chicken and peas. In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until blended; spread over top. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours or overnight.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Layer in other greens for the lettuce if you prefer. Baby spinach and peppery arugula are great choices.
  • Lighten things up by using low-fat sour cream and mayonnaise.
  • Nutrition Facts
    3/4 cup: 310 calories, 22g fat (5g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 287mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 14g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Pauline
      Aug 25, 2020

      No comment left

    • Angela
      Oct 8, 2018

      It was really good. Perfect for work time lunch.

    • dschultz01
      Apr 2, 2018

      Did not think I would like this, but it was very good. Made it for Easter and everyone loved it!

    • ccolor1
      Jun 1, 2017

      We love this salad! I followed the recipe exactly the first time, then tried making it using cooked shrimp (with a sprinkling of Old Bay) instead of chicken. The bottom layer was chopped tomatoes without the seeds and "runny stuff" then a mix of celery and green peppers before starting the lettuce. It also turned out to be excellent. I can't thank you enough for the recipe - we'll use it often!

    • kathykjk
      Jan 14, 2017

      Very tasty, but at first glance I knew the recipe needed to be lightened up and it needed a dash of color. I used lite mayo, lite sour cream, whole grain shells and chopped red pepper. Delicious!

    • ms11145
      Oct 27, 2016

      Family loved this salad. I'm thinking subbing leftover turkey for the chicken after Thanksgiving.

    • amehart
      Jun 9, 2016

      Great recipe! Very versatile to adjust to make it exactly how your family likes it. My husband and I love it exactly as is. The children don't like peas, so I added corn instead and they loved it. Will definitely be making this again!

    • mcraven
      Feb 28, 2016

      Made this for the11st time. Very delicious. Plan to make again..No changes made to recipe.

    • Cupcake_k9
      Nov 9, 2015

      Fabulous. Love the ease and the make ahead. I put just a dash of cayenne to the dressing for spice. I planned having leftovers for lunch, not happening. Even the teenage boys wiped it out.

    • LisaBoElm
      Apr 15, 2014

      Made this today for a small family gathering. I did not add the peas, but did add baby leaf spinach, deli black olives and a shredded cabbage mix found in the grocery store. It was a big hit and easy to make.