Middle Eastern Seven-Layer Salad

The veggie flavors really shine in this salad, which can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to eight hours before serving.

The Modern Potluck

This variation takes its inspiration from the Middle East, with a layer of herbs, a sprinkling of toasted spices, and a yogurt dressing.

Makes 10 servings
Prep time: 40 minutes


For the salad

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 5 cups water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cups fresh herb leaves, such as mint, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and dill, roughly chopped (the more variety, the better)
  • 1 bunch red radishes (about 10), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. seedless cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the dressing

  • 1/2 tsp. each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat or 2 percent)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. white-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt


In a large, heavy pot, cover the quinoa with the 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.

Remove from the stovetop, then uncover the pot, top with a clean kitchen towel or a layer of paper towels, and cover the pot again; let stand five minutes. This will ensure the quinoa is dry and fluffy.

In a large glass 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 next, followed by the cucumbers, pushing them toward the edge of the bowl.

For the dressing: In a dry skillet, toast the spices over moderate heat until fragrant, about one minute. Transfer to a mortar or a bowl and let cool. Use a pestle or the bottom of an ice-cream scoop to lightly crush the spices. In a medium 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 one hour before serving to make sure it’s chilled through.

Recipes reprinted from Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share. Copyright © 2016 by Kristin Donnelly. Photography copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi. Published by Clarkson Potter / Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Why No Numbers?

Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need.  — The Editors

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