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Middle Eastern Seven Layer Salad in a Jar

This beautiful Middle Eastern Seven Layer Salad Recipe is adapted from Kristin Donnelly's Modern Potluck. I changed a few things to the recipe as printed: I reduced the mayo in the dressing from 1 cup to 1/2 cup and added some minced garlic. You can also make it with entirely Greek yogurt if you're a mayo phobe. I didn't have coriander seeds, so I doubled up on the yellow mustard seeds. And, of course, instead of serving this in one big clear container, I assembled it in jars! See below for my notes on how to scale this for jars versus one bit container.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author Phoebe Lapine


  • 2 cups quinoa (any color, but red or black is especially stunning), rinsed
  • 5 cups water
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce or romaine, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups fresh herb leaves, I used mint and dill - awesome combo!
  • 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound seedless cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

for the dressing

  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


  1. Assemble the salad: In a large heavy pot, cover the quinoa with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Uncover the pot, top with a clean kitchen towel, and close the pot again; let stand 5 minutes. (This will help ensure the quinoa is dry and fluffy). Spread the hot quinoa on a platter or baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. (This sounds like a fussy step, but it helps the quinoa cool without overcooking and getting mushy).
  2. In a very large clear plastic serving bowl, spread the lettuce in a single layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the herbs on top, followed by the quinoa. Spread the radishes on top, followed by the cucumbers, pushing them toward the edge of the bowl if you don't have enough of each vegetable to form a complete layer.
  3. Make the dressing: In a dry skillet, toast the spices over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar or bowl. Use a pestle or an ice cream scoop to lightly crush the spices.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, lemon juice and vinegar. Season with salt. Spread the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with the spices, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Recipe Notes

To make this salad in a jar, simply follow the instructions above. The recipe will yield 4 quart jars. This is a large portion and will allow you to leave some room in the top so you can easily mix it up when you're ready to eat. Unfortunately, I only had 4 pint jars, so I halved the recipe. The portions were perfect for four lunch-sized portions for the week, but required that you compress the lettuce as much as possible to make room for all 7 layers. I found a whisk helpful for pushing down each layer. Shredded rotisserie chicken would be an amazing additional layer if you want more protein!