Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Even the simplest dish can look smashing when you take just a moment or two and elevate its presentation. A trifle bowl literally does exactly that – transforms your party salad into a festive-looking dish, and presents it at a higher level so everyone can admire.

First decide if your trifle bowl salad is going to have a theme – Southwestern, or vegetarian or Italian or something completely different. If you built your salad in a regular wooden salad bowl, it’s ho-hum. Pop everything into a trifle bowl, and suddenly, it’s artistic and decorates the table.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table
Layering contrasting colors along the outside edges, lettuce in the middle.

Some Salad Theme Ideas

Next, make a quick list of at least five ingredients that are different colors so that you will have contrasting shades in your trifle bowl salad layers. Once you have a list, you can run into a grocery, buy everything, and assemble on-site with a bit of pre-planning.

Southwestern Trifle Bowl Salad

  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Black Olives or Black Beans
  • Corn or Chick Peas
  • Guacamole
  • Cornbread cubes toasted or packaged tortilla strips or slice and toast your own tortilla strips
  • Bacon – why not throw this on and call it “Loaded Baked Potato Salad!”
  • Your colors are green, red, white, orange, black, green, and yellow
  • Dressing on the side: Joe’s Healthy Meals has a great SW Dressing recipe!

Italian Trifle Bowl Salad

  • Lettuce
  • Red Onions
  • Cherry Tomatoes – be sure to half them first so they don’t squirt!
  • Pepperoncini
  • Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • Croutons
  • Your colors are green, purple, red, lime green, ivory, and yellow
  • Dressing on the side: Italian Vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic – or garlic powder – dried oregano, salt, pepper.
Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Assembling the Salad

To begin, layer contrasting colors along the outer edges. I like to start by piping a line of sour cream around the bottom edge, then sliding black olive slices down along the sides to they really stand out in color.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Next, in the middle of the trifle bowl salad, I pile lettuce, and sometimes, more of the outer rim ingredient as needed. Alternate colors so that the contrasts stand out nicely.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Piping Along the Trifle Bowl Edges

For a piping bag, I simply use a small plastic bag with one corner cut off, about the diameter of a pea. It’s one of the few times I use anything plastic.

If you have no plastic bags, you can use waxed paper to make a cone with a small opening, and just twist the top like an icing bag.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Interestingly, using sour cream and salsa yields a salad that needs no dressing.

Another additional benefit is that you can keep the leftovers in the fridge, and nothing gets soggy. If you use salad dressing, it’s all wilted the next day.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Guacamole might need a larger opening in your makeshift piping bag if it’s a chunky variety. If you are assembling this on-site; remember scissors and bags or waxed paper.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Drain Everything

Over time, I have found that draining your tomato chunks is best; really ripe tomatoes drip down the sides into the next layer of your trifle bowl salad, making it look a bit muddy. Even if this happens, once you have enough layers, it will look good.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Keep Layering

Continue layering all the way to the top of the trifle bowl. Remember the saying “contents may settle during shipping,” well, you don’t want that! You want everything locked in and motionless.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Pack Tightly If Transporting

If you plan to assemble your trifle bowl salad at home and take it somewhere, you will want to put it in a cooler that won’t allow it to tip over. The elevated base is perfect for sliding a few frozen bottles around the bottom. The ice is not sitting directly on the glass, so you avoid wilted lettuce, too. Another great benefit of building your salad in a trifle bowl!

We don’t buy bottled water anymore, but still have a few in the freezer just for this purpose. While frozen bottles of water will sweat; they won’t result in puddles of water like ice will.

My trifle bowl has a lid – which makes it the best ever. Especially if you are trying to avoid using more plastic in a cling-type wrap that you hope to be able to reuse on the return trip.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Presentation Is Everything

This trifle bowl salad is all about presentation. Upon arrival at my event, I topped this one off with packaged tortilla strips. You could slice and roast your own, or use cornbread cubes sautee’d.

If you are using bottled, store-bought dressing, it’s nice to decant it either into a glass mason jar or a lidded clamp-top jar so it’s not in a branded plastic bottle. It just looks nicer for presentation on your hostesses’ table.

Taking a store-bought variety of salad dressing and throwing in a dash of garlic powder or some fresh herbs is a nice touch, especially when offered in a charming container.

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

Serving Your Trifle Bowl Salad

While your trifle bowl salad is beautiful to view, it’s a bit tricky to serve. Your goal is to have guests take a sort of “core sample” by using some tongs with sharp edges. Unfortunately, few of them are very attractive.

I’ve tried everything from barbecue tongs to salad servers. Once the first person has loosened the salad up, it’s much easier for the next guests to serve themselves.

When the event is finished, it’s so easy to pop on the lid, and place the bowl back in your cooler. I usually toss in a tea towel to absorb the condensation from the ice bottles. Then, I use it to wrap the tongs in so they don’t end up with dried-on remnants.

Shop the Post: Trifle Bowl Choices

I really love my footed, lidded trifle bowl. They’re great for a lot more than just salad, like tiramisu and trifle. However, they are really hard to find! Mine is from Publix, the Anchor Glass Bowl With Stand AND Lid. Here are some good substitutes:

Worthy Tongs

Absolutely make sure you pack these in your cooler – not all hostesses will have enough serving pieces. Additionally, they may not even own tongs!

Remember Cute Salad Dressing Jars

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

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Easy Holiday Trifle Bowl Salad Video // Deep Water Happy

Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Trifle Bowl Salad, Last Minute Easy Party Food // Trifle Bowl Salad // Elevate Your Table

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