We are always looking for quick, easy to make, side salads that deliver great flavor and texture, and this Butter Lettuce Salad does not disappoint!
You’ll love the tender butter lettuce leaves and the contrasting crunch from fresh snap peas and thinly sliced spicy radishes. It’s topped with avocado two ways — both sliced and in a creamy, parmesan peppercorn-esque avocado dressing. It’s hearty enough to make the salad filling without adding a lot of ingredients.
What Is Butter Lettuce?
Butter lettuce is part of the Bibb and Boston lettuce family. Contrary to its name, there’s no detectable butter flavor. Instead, it’s got a light, tender, delicate texture (the leaves are smooth and thin) with an extremely mild flavor. it takes well to other delicate flavors, so as not to over power its own taste.
You’ll sometimes see Butter lettuce referred to as Butterhead lettuce. It’s the same thing! Part of the same family are Boston lettuces and Bibb lettuces. These all exhibit the same light, tender-crisp like texture and are great substitutions in this salad!
Ingredients For Butter Lettuce Salad
This butter lettuce salad is a celebration of spring produce! It’s got 5 ingredients and a homemade avocado dressing.
- Butter lettuce: These leaves are tender, but crisp towards the root and have a sweet, mild flavor. They’re the perfect lettuce leaf for this delicate spring salad! Butter lettuce is also sometimes referred to as Butterhead lettuce (part of the Bibb lettuce family).
- Ripe avocado: A great source of nutritious, healthy fat, along with fiber and protein.
- Radishes: Thinly slice radishes to add a crisp, crunchy texture and a slight spicy flavor
- Snap peas (though snow peas are great too!): Keep the snap peas raw! They add such a lovely crunch and when they’re at peak season they have the best fresh, sweet flavor!
- Chives: This sneaks in a delicate onion flavor without the overpowering intensity of raw white or red onion. Other fresh herbs that can be added: basil (rip it into pieces with your hands!) or fresh tarragon leaves, both of which are super tender!
If you can’t find butter lettuce, you can easily substitute with Boston lettuce, Red or Green bibb, or Crunchleaf lettuce.
How To Clean Butter Lettuce
Remove and discard the stem and any damaged outer leaves. Fill a bowl with cool water, then submerge the leaves to rinse for 1-2 minutes. Drain, then place the leaves between paper towels and press down lightly to dry. Alternatively, you can place the leaves in a salad spinner to dry, but this will likely damage the butter lettuce leaves since they are so delicate.
You can leave the lettuce leaves whole or rip into bite-sized pieces. Place them on a serving plate or in a large bowl. Next, add the sliced radishes, avocado, and lots of crunchy snap peas. A sprinkle of fresh chives rounds it all out before dressing.
Just before serving, spoon a few tablespoons of the dressing on top or have it on standby in a small bowl on the side. Give the whole thing a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (a must for all salads!), an extra crack of freshly ground black pepper, then dig in!
If you want, you can toss the salad before serving.
How To Make The Creamy Avocado Dressing
This is a mayonnaise and buttermilk based salad dressing. It’s thick, rich, and creamy, which makes it the perfect, hearty component for the light, fresh butter lettuce salad. There’s a whole avocado blended in there, along with red wine vinegar, grated Parmesan, half a teaspoon Dijon mustard, a chopped garlic clove, and of course Kosher salt and black pepper to season.
Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a small blender or food processor, then blend or purée until very smooth.
How Long Will The Avocado Dressing Keep?
When stored properly in a refrigerator, this dressing will keep for up to 1 week.
Note that when the dressing is exposed to air for any extended period of time, the color will slightly darken. This is due to the oxidation of the avocado flesh. It’s totally safe to eat, simply give it a stir to bring it back to life.
What To Serve Alongside
This light salad would be fantastic with roasted chicken or grilled salmon! If you’re cooking indoors, there’s nothing easier than our slow baked salmon!
Can This Salad Be Made Ahead?
We do not recommend making this salad head of time. While the dressing will keep for up to 1 week in fridge,
- Don’t want to make the avocado dressing? A quick drizzle of a high quality extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice works wonders on any salad recipe! And of course, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar works great!
- Add cheese! There is not one single recipe that doesn’t benefit from a little cheese love! And even though there is grated Parmesan cheese in the salad dressing, we love the idea of adding small cubes of nutty Manchego or even crumbled gorgonzola for a tangy bite!
- Add nuts! Pine nuts, sliced almonds, or marcona almonds (our favorite!!) are easy ways to add a little extra crunch!
- Spring veggies! There is no amount of vegetables that is too great! Show off all that spring has to offer by adding some shaved or chopped fresh asparagus or English peas.
This is a really quick dish to make and the perfect side salad!
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More quick, simple recipes to try!
- Broccoli Salad
- Mozzarella Caprese Gazpacho
- Salmon en Papillote
- Strawberry Chicken Salad With Spinach
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
Butter Lettuce Salad Recipe
For The Creamy Avocado Dressing
- ½ ripe avocado
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove roughly chopped
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp Flaky sea salt for serving
For the salad
- 1 head butter lettuce stem removed, leaves separated
- ⅓ cup snap peas cleaned, thinly sliced into ½" pieces; can use snow peas!
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 radishes thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp chives thinly sliced
- Make the avocado dressing. Place ½ an avocado, ¼ cup mayo, 2 Tbsp buttermilk, 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove, ½ tsp Dijon, ½ tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper in the bowl of a small blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until very smooth and thick. Refrigerate until needed.
- Assemble the salad. Place cleaned whole or ripped butter lettuce leaves on a serving plate or in a large bowl. Add sliced snap peas, avocado, and radishes, then sprinkle with chopped chives.
- Dress the salad, then serve! Either serve the dressing on the side or dollop a few spoonfuls all over the top. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and additional black pepper, if wanted. Toss the salad, or let guests dress and toss it themselves. Serve immediately!
- Leftover dressing: You will likely have leftover dressing. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week (and note that the nutrition facts include all of the dressing).
- How to clean butter lettuce: Remove and discard the stem and any damaged outer leaves. Fill a bowl with cool water, then submerge the leaves to rinse for 1-2 minutes. Drain, then place the leaves between paper towels and press down lightly to dry. Alternatively, you can place the leaves in a salad spinner to dry, but this will likely damage the butter lettuce leaves since they are so delicate.