How to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

How to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

Have you ever made a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad for the holidays? I never knew this was “a thing” until I was challenged to redo a recipe from Lea Ann at Cooking on the Ranch.

I researched the Ensalada de Nochebuena, Spanish for Christmas Eve Salad. According to Hispanic Kitchen,

Although many variations exist, three ingredients are at the core: beets, pomegranate and jicama. The root vegetable – jicama is also known as "Mexican potato," so it's an appropriate member. Beets are included for color along with pomegranate seeds sprinkled across the top. Apples, oranges, and sometimes bananas round out the list.

Learn how to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad in a trifle bowl. Click to get this easy Christmas Eve dinner salad recipe. This easy to make salad is healthy, gluten free and perfect for the holidays or year round.

I took Lea Ann’s advice and made this Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad recipe a chopped salad recipe for my Mexican Christmas dinner.

Since she felt this festive Mexican Christmas salad recipe reminded her of an English trifle, I arranged it in my trifle bowl. My trifle bowl is from Pampered Chef, but Anchor Hocking makes a very attracted footed trifle bowl.

If you want a trifle bowl without a foot and with a lid for your Mexican Christmas Eve Salad, try this footless trifle bowl also by Anchor Hocking. And don’t forget the salad tongs for serving!

My version of Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

Lea Ann’s version of Christmas Eve salad uses pomegranate seeds, romaine lettuce, peanuts, oranges, jicama, along with red and golden beets. I’ve seen other recipes use pepitas (pumpkin seeds), apples, bananas, and pine nuts.

I kept pretty true to her Mexican Christmas dinner salad recipe, but omitted the peanuts due to my daughter’s nut allergy. I’m serving the pepitas on the side, since my kids aren’t crazy about them.

We all love jicama. But if you can’t find it at your grocery store, you could substitute whole water chestnuts since they’re white and crunchy, too.

Next time I make this, I’ll put the beets on the bottom so they don’t run and spoil the look of the layer below them.

For the dressing, most recipes call for Crème Mexicana, which is Mexican sour cream. If you cannot find it in your grocery store or want to use something lighter, use nonfat Greek yogurt instead. I found Lea Ann’s version super thick, so I thinned it with rice vinegar.

Finally, I doubled Lea Ann’s recipe so the layered Mexican Christmas Eve salad would fit in my Pampered Chef trifle bowl.

Learn how to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad.

How to smoke beets for Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

After having smoked cauliflower at a local restaurant, I started experimenting by smoking various vegetables from beets to kohlrabi. While you can roast beets in the oven using my method for cooking and peeling beets, I love smoking beets in my electric smoker. Here’s how:

1. Set smoker to 275 degrees F. Add your favorite type of wood chips. And don’t forget to add water to the drip pan!

2. Coat an oven safe roasting pan with cooking spray. (Make sure your pan will fit inside your smoker.)

3. Remove beet tops from beets and set aside. (Use the beet tops to make a Simple Beet Salad.)

4. Wash beets. Cut into quarters and place in your roasting pan.

5. Place roasting pan in your smoker and cook for 3 hours or until the beets are soft when pricked with a knife or fork.

6. Remove from smoker and let cool.

7. Peel skin off beats with a paring knife.

How to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad


For salad:

  • 6 red beets, smoked, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 romaine heart, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 navel oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 (5.3 ounce) containers pomegranate arils

For dressing:

For serving:


For salad:

  1. Layer ingredients in your trifle bowl in the order listed. For fun you may want to break up the romaine lettuce into two layers.
  2. Since beets have a tendency to run, you may want to have them as the bottom layer.

For dressing:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients and stir until blended.
  2. Serve on the side.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1/6 to 1/8 of recipe

Originally posted June 10, 2013 and December 10, 2016. Updated with new pictures and information.

Make something different for the holidays or any time of the year! Learn how to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad in a trifle bowl. This traditional and easy Christmas Eve dinner salad recipe is easy to make, healthy, and festive looking! #Christmas #salad #triflebowl #Mexican #ChristmasEve #healthy #glutenfree #beets #pomagranate #Mexicanfood #recipe #easy #recipeoftheday #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes

15 thoughts on “How to make a Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

  1. Pamela Morse

    This is incredibly lovely. I am going to make this with a 9 year old who is coming for lunch tomorrow ..she will enjoy creating it, and then she will eat it!!! Fun. Thanks for a great idea!

    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      You could try water chestnuts, which are canned and can be found in the Asian section of many markets to make stir fry dishes. They’re crunchy and you don’t need to cook them, so they’d have the same taste and mouth feel as jicama.

  2. Miz Helen

    Our Beets are just about ready to harvest in our garden and this will be a great recipe to try, it looks delicious. Hope you are having a great week.
    Miz Helen
    Group B SRC

  3. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)

    I love what you’ve done with this salad, it looks beautiful in that bowl. Makes me want to run out and buy a trifle bowl. We’re having temps in the high 90’s today and I’d love to have a big bowl of that salad to snack on … all day long. I think it’s so interesting that you smoked the beets. I don’t have a smoker, so will click on your link and check out what kind you have. I’ve been threatening to buy one. Nice cooking with you in SRC.


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