The idea behind this salad shares the same basic concept as my classic layered salad, but this time I added a Mexican twist. I developed a thick, ranch sour cream mayonnaise so it would hold up the same way as other layered salads, and not get soggy. Make sure you drain the beans, corn, and olives very well so they don’t add unwanted moisture to your salad.

Serving a layered salad in a cake pan, as opposed to a trifle pan, makes it portable, easy to serve, and unique. Everyone will want a copy of this recipe, so be prepared to share it!

Just layer, chill, and cut into cake-like pieces! Voila!

Note: I always use the lowest sodium products I can find when I’m creating a recipe. This way I can add salt to taste just before serving. This goes for the ranch mayonnaise dressing recipe at the end of this post. If you used low sodium ingredients throughout the rest of the recipe, the ranch mayo should be fine. If you’re concerned about salt content, make the homemade version of the powdered ranch mix. It’s much lower in salt than Hidden Valley.

serves 8 to 12

1 lb. extra lean ground beef

1 small can green chilies, undrained

1 head iceberg lettuce, outer leaves removed (all other lettuces will wilt)

1 packet taco seasoning mix (or a mixture of cumin, chili powder and garlic powder)

1 cup ranch sour cream mayonnaise, divided (recipe below)

1 (15 oz.) can of your favorite beans, rinsed and drained very well

1/2 can (about 7 oz.) sweet corn, drained very well

1/2 cup chopped purple or green onion + more for top

8 oz. of your favorite tomato salsa

8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (3.8 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained very well

1/2 lb. bacon, fried until crispy, cooled completely, and crumbled

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced

1 Roma tomato, seeds removed, chopped

ripe avocado chunks, (optional)

tortilla chips for topping

Cook the ground beef, canned chilies and taco seasoning in a skillet until beef is brown all the way through and the liquid from the chilies has evaporated. Place in refrigerator and allow to chill until completely cold. Then, place in an even layer on the bottom of a 9×13 glass cake pan. Top with a double layer of crisp, iceberg lettuce leaves (half the head), 1/2 cup of the ranch sour cream mayonnaise smoothed into an even layer, beans, corn, onion, another double layer of lettuce (press down gently after placing the lettuce,) the other 1/2 cup of ranch sour cream mayo, salsa, cheese, olives, bacon, jalapenos, tomato and a little more purple onion. Place cover or foil on cake pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before slicing into pieces, crunching tortilla chips over the top, and serving. Feel free to top this with avocado chunks, extra tomato chunks, and your favorite hot sauce too!

for the ranch sour cream mayonnaise:

3/4  cup real mayonnaise

1/4 cup full fat sour cream

3 to 6 Tablespoons dry buttermilk ranch dressing mix (homemade or Hidden Valley) add gradually, according to individual taste

Mix well. Chill until ready to use.

Enjoy!