I’m totally obsessed lately with layering. Not clothes, mind you, it’s 100 degrees out! But food. My latest stacked victim is this super easy, yet impressive vegan 7 layer salad. Inspired by the popular Mexican-themed dip, my version skips the heavy cheese and sour cream, but is far from boring. It combines healthy everyday ingredients with a slightly indulgent rich and spicy dressing, and is topped with a flavorful, crunchy, cheesy, dairy-free surprise: Beanfield’s Nacho Chips.
Yes, you read that correctly, dairy-free Nacho chips. They are actually vegan, gluten-free and free of top allergens, too, but don’t tell anyone – they won’t notice. You may think I’m exaggerating about the normalcy of Beanfield’s, or even better, their excellence, but many of my friends and neighbors are now hooked on these perfectly crunchy Bean & Rice Chips (oh yeah, they’re corn-free, too), very few of whom follow any sort of special diet. Beyond Nacho, Beanfield’s chips come in delicious Ranch, Barbecue, Pico de Gallo, simple Sea Salt, and more. Naturally, we’ve tasted them all.
And what 7 layer salad would be complete without an amazing creamy dairy-free dressing? Yes, it should always be creamy. Always. My recipe uses the smoky flavor of canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. I like a little spice, but not too much heat, so I use just one chipotle chili. The end result tastes quite spicy on its own, but the flavor disperses to a mild heat when stirred into the salad. Fire breathers can use 2 chipotle chilis, or more if you are feeling a little crazy.
Though this vegan 7 layer salad recipe is far from heavy, if you prefer an overall low fat option, go ahead and sub in unsweetened dairy-free yogurt for part of the mayonnaise in the dressing. I like to go full-fat with it, but a 50/50 mix of mayo and yogurt should be good, too, and will provide some probiotics to boot.
This post is sponsored by Beanfield’s, but I’m happily still eating these salads, and I really do hoard their chips.
Special Diet Notes: 7 Layer Salad with Chipotle Dressing
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and generally top food allergy-friendly.
For a gluten-free 7 layer salad, be sure to choose your canned chipotle chilis in adobo wisely. Some brands do contain wheat.
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise, Grapeseed or Soy-Free)
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
- 1 to 2 chipotle chilis in adobo, deseeded
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from those chipotles)
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage, as needed (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
- 4 cups chopped lettuce (green, romaine, etc)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 small cluster tomatoes or 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (defrosted) corn kernels
- ¾ to 1 cup sliced or coarsely chopped olives
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- 1 cup crumbled Beanfield's Nacho Chips
- Place the mayo, lime juice, chipotles, adobo sauce, sweetener, cumin and salt in your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Use 1 chipotle chili for tame spice (note that it mellows when used on the salad) and 2 for high heat.
- If needed, thin the dressing with the milk beverage, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach your desired consistency.
- Divide the lettuce between four bowls. Layer the beans, tomatoes or red peppers, corn, olives, and avocado on (I prefer that order), topping with the chips.
- Drizzle the chipotle dressing on the salads or serve it on the side. You may or may not have some leftover, depending on how heavy you pour it on. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.