Another thing I enjoy doing is perusing my collection of recipe cards, cookbooks, and Googling for inspiration, because while we have our tried and true favorites, it’s also fun to look for new things. One of the sources I like to peruse is my Better Homes & Gardens Recipe Card Library. It has given much inspiration, including 24-Hour Vegetable Salad, Comfort Steak, and Skillet Enchiladas. In perusing this recipe file I came across, yet again, a recipe for Forgotten Four-Layer Salad. Their picture of it looks so delicious that I wondered why I’d not made it before now. I reviewed the simple, yummy ingredients:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Red onion
And these four, simple, delicious veg were all dressed with a tangy, zippy Horseradish Dressing.
I mean, what’s not to love, right?
Then I reviewed the dressing ingredients — mayonnaise or salad dressing, creamy French dressing, lemon juice, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of hot pepper sauce…it’s all sounding really yummy, isn’t it?
I bet you’re drooling over your keyboard now, aren’t you?
Then, though, came the kicker — to the salad dressing mix one was then to fold in 1/2 cup of whipped dessert topping.
“Oh,” I would think, every time I read that, “THAT’S why I’ve never made this salad.”
But the picture of it looked so appetizing, and all of the ingredients — excepting the whipped topping — sounded so delicious…and I got to thinking about how often, tastes that don’t sound as though they would go together at first blush, are often quite complementary and yummy.
So, I developed a plan to give this recipe a try: I decided that while I would have all the ingredients on hand to make this salad as per the recipe, I would also be sure and have some light sour cream as an alternative to the whipped topping. I also determined that I would make the dressing up to the point where the whipping topping was to be added in. I would taste the dressing to that point, then give a small taste to a portion of the dressing mixed with the whipped topping, and decide from there how to proceed.
After getting all of the delicious vegetables ready, I prepared my homemade red French dressing and mixed up the Horseradish Dressing up until the point that the whipped topping should be added in. I dipped the tip of a CLEAN FINGER into the salad dressing. Tangy and delicious — I think that, mixed just to this point, it would make a yummy alternative to the more traditional red horseradish shrimp cocktail sauce.
Then I moved on to the true test: I dipped a DIFFERENT CLEAN FINGER into the whipped topping and then dipped the same finger into the salad dressing and tasted the combined flavors.
And you know what?
The creamy sweetness of the whipped topping greatly complements and counterpoints the tangy zippy-ness of the horseradish, lemon, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, making for a truly unique and delicious dressing that brings out the flavors of the simple salad elements.
Everyone at the family gathering really enjoyed it — ‘though I refused to tell any of them what was in the dressing until they had tasted it and said whether or not they liked it. 😉
Note About Mayonnaise versus Salad Dressing: While many recipes work equally well with either mayonnaise (e.g., Hellman’s) or salad dressing (e.g., Miracle Whip), there are differences between them, and there are some recipes wherein only one or the other will do. Basically, mayonnaise tends to have a richer, sweeter taste; whereas salad dressing has a tangier, zippier taste. While you can use either in this recipe, I chose to use light salad dressing as opposed to light mayonnaise because light Miracle Whip has fewer calories than light Hellman’s.
So the next time you want a simple salad with yummy, out-of-this-world flavor, give this Forgotten Four-Layer Salad a try. It’s perfect for a crowd — you make it ahead, and then you don’t have to think about it anymore . It has its own dressing, so you don’t have to worry about having a variety of dressings available. And it feeds a crowd — anywhere from 8 to 12 people.
It’s so yummy, it’s guaranteed to be a hit. 🙂 Just don’t tell anybody the secret ingredient in the dressing until after they’ve given it a taste. 😉
Forgotten Four-Layer Salad with Horseradish Dressing (Serves 8 to 12)
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, torn (You could substitute 6 to 8 cups of bagged salad blend, if you prefer)
- 1 red (small or medium) onion, thinly sliced and separated (I cut mine into 4ths — in half, then each half in half, and sliced into thin 1/4 rings)
- Sliced cauliflowerets from 1/2 to 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices (you may prefer to cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut into half slices; you may also prefer to peel the zucchini first in alternating strips)
- Horseradish Dressing (see recipe that follows)
- In a LARGE bowl, layer lettuce, onion, cauliflowerets, and zucchini.
- Spread Horseradish Dressing over top. (You don’t need to fully cover the entire top of the salad; just spread it on.)
- Cover tightly and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours OR overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before serving to allow the salad to lose the chill from the ‘fridge and develop its flavors. Sprinkle salad dressing with paprika, if desired. Toss just before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing (I used light salad dressing)
- 1/3 cup creamy French dressing (I used some homemade red French dressing; see below)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians, leave out!)
- 4 to 6 drops Tobasco sauce (or other favorite hot pepper sauce)
- 1/2 cup light whipped topping, thawed (e.g., Cool Whip) (or 1/2 cup light whipped cream)
- Whisk/stir together the mayonnaise or salad dressing, French dressing, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tobasco.
- Gently fold in 1/2 cup whipped topping until blended.
Homemade Red French Dressing (Makes approximately 2/3 cup — save the leftover for other salads) Based on Betty Crocker’s Big Red Cookbook
- 1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil (suggest olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Wee sprinkle (about 1/8 of a teaspoon) of salt
- Wee (very small!) squirt of yellow mustard
- About 1/8 teaspoon of paprika
- Red ketchup (approximately 1/3 cup)
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, mustard, and paprika. You’ll have about 1/3 cup or so of dressing.
- Whisk in an equal amount of red ketchup (you can eyeball it — or measure it, if you prefer).
- Reserve 1/3 cup for the Horseradish Dressing and refrigerate the remainder for dressing other salads.