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Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad Recipe

Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad Recipe

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 YIELD: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 (4 ounces) shredded Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • 1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Yield: 12 servings.

Recipe Note

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.
  • Nutritional Facts

    3/4 cup: 310 calories, 22g fat (5g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 287mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 14g protein.

    Reviews for Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad

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    ccolor1 User ID: 3534054 267553
    Reviewed 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 User ID: 458160 259674
    Reviewed 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 User ID: 1604521 256024
    Reviewed Oct. 27, 2016

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

    amehart User ID: 1464390 249252
    Reviewed 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 User ID: 8528834 244641
    Reviewed Feb. 28, 2016

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

    Cupcake_k9 User ID: 7172020 237061
    Reviewed 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 User ID: 6988529 198094
    Reviewed 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."

    Charmcanada User ID: 7723809 152866
    Reviewed Apr. 12, 2014

    "Excellent! So delicious."

    Val634 User ID: 3816447 139321
    Reviewed Mar. 14, 2014

    "This is such a fresh salad. Made it just like the recipe except I don't like onions so I added finely diced celery and a pinch of celery seed. Recommend it for all potlucks."

    texasczech User ID: 6396218 189837
    Reviewed Jan. 18, 2013

    "Thanks for such a great salad. Since it has chicken in it, I make it when I want a light lunch or dinner and have a fruit medley for dessert. Since I'm gluten sensitive, I substituted rice for the pasta. Also sauteed the onion a little before adding it to the dressing because I just don't like raw onion. I'll make this again and again."

    dianeprice1 User ID: 145686 188070
    Reviewed Aug. 7, 2012 Edited Feb. 28, 2017

    "This was served at Bridge Club last night. It was great!!!"

    judydegraaf User ID: 1614514 127396
    Reviewed Aug. 5, 2012

    "This is a great salad, easy to make, light & tasty for the summer; however, I will be making it year around."

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