I Eat Plants: Vegan Seven Layer Salad


After nearly eleven years vegetarian, the last two and a half vegan (meaning I eat no animal products), I still get a little wistful about recipes I grew up with and no longer eat.  I almost wrote “can no longer eat” but that is simply not true. I could eat them but I choose not to eat animals. I am not missing out on a thing because a vegan diet is abundant and filled with fabulous, delicious foods.  But deeply entrenched in food are memories, culture and tradition.

Recently I asked my mother to send me a few family recipes – specifically her chili, potato salad and seven layer salad – with the goal to “veganize” them.  I started with the salad because it’s so darn easy!

Vegan Seven Layer Salad by JL Fields @ JLgoesVegan.com
Serves 6 – 8


  • 1 package Smart Bacon
  • Iceberg lettuce (I used half a large head of lettuce), chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • Vegan mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise), enough to cover the salad.
  • Shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya wedges, sliced), enough to sprinkle over the top of the salad
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste (optional)


  1. Prepare Smart Bacon according to package instructions, crumble and set aside.
  2. In this order, layer lettuce, onion, celery and peas, in this order in a large bowl (a glass bowl is fun, you see it!). I added a little salt on the peas but this is optional.
  3. Spread vegan mayonnaise over the peas, just enough to cover the salad them.
  4. Add a layer of shredded vegan cheese and add fresh ground pepper (optional) to taste.
  5. When read to serve, add the final layer: crumbled Smart Bacon.
  6. Even though a seven layer salad looks cool, I tend to toss it together before serving.


I Eat Plants columnist JL Fields is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. She shares plant-based education, recipes and cooking techniques, as well as animal rights information and resources, on the popular blog JL goes Vegan. Her original recipes have been featured on Foodbuzz, BlogHer and Meatless Monday. She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny. JL is the founder and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting and serves on the board of directors of Our Hen House. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest, and Google+.


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  1. How is this any healthier if you are replacing animal products with processed ones like “Smart Bacon” and “Daiya Wedges?”

  2. Hi Nick! I didn’t say it was healthier. I said it was vegan because no animal products are used.

  3. Wow!

    This is my Mother-in-law’s Lettuce Pea Salad recipe! I too, converted it to vegan, and really, the bacon bits I was using was already TVP bacon bits. Amazing how much food is already there.

    Needing to find a cheaper Veganaise, as that stuff is expensive!

    I use Veggie Shreds for my cheese, as that is about all I have access to in my little community!

    Thanks JL! Gaileee

  4. Gaileee, you are welcome! Thanks for jumping in and sharing that you’ve veganized it, too! It’s so much fun to take what we know and make it plant-based!

  5. If you are truly a vegan and do not eat meat why would you re create a recipe with a meat like product???? Why can you not re invent the recipe with veggies and no fake meat. Can you not substitute more veggies???? Just eat the bacon god damn it it is good!!! Health wise real bacon is less processed and much better for your body then any bacon substitute just like any other food. Organic and real is healthier than any other option.

  6. Wow, interesting that people would come to a vegetarian blog and complain because you’re not using real bacon. I went vegan because I don’t like using animal products, not because I don’t like the taste of them. I do try to make healthy versions of cheese and faux meats from scratch, but sometimes it’s fun to splurge on the less healthy stuff – just like sometimes it’s fun to eat a big ol’ piece of cake!

    Anyway. My goodness, thanks for the recipe!!!

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