This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Butter Lettuce Salad is fresh, flavorful, and simple to make, yet elegant enough for a special event. Tender and delicate butter lettuce leaves are paired with spicy radishes, crunchy croutons, and a slightly sweet vinaigrette.
Table of Contents
A butter lettuce salad with a simple vinaigrette is a common side dish or starter in the southern parts of Germany. My grandma always dressed the soft, crunchy leaves with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and served it with Crock Pot Pork Roast, Chicken Schnitzel, or as an appetizer before Matzo Ball Soup.
While its simplicity is surely tasty, for my own variation I’ve elevated the flavors with spicy, crunchy radishes, a handful of crispy, savory croutons, and a little bit of sweet honey in the dressing. The resulting salad was surprisingly refreshing and delicious and so easy to make. I can whip it up in 10 minutes flat, right before a dinner party, or for dinner with my family.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Ready in 15 Minutes – Super quick to make and no cooking involved.
- Versatile – A salad recipe that can pair with almost any main!
- Simple Yet Elegant – Simple enough to make on a weeknight but elegant enough to make for a dinner party.
Ingredients For Butter Lettuce Salad and Vinaigrette
Only four ingredients plus a simple dressing is needed for this recipe.
- Butter Lettuce – also called Boston or Bibb lettuce. 2 heads of lettuce will be enough to feed 6-8 people a start size serving.
- Fresh Chives – For a little fresh herb flavor.
- Radishes – Brings the crunch and a little heat.
- Croutons – Try my Homemade Croutons or use your own favorite store bought.
- For the Dressing: Apple Cider Vinegar, Olive Oil, Honey, Salt, and Pepper
How To Make A Salad With Butter Lettuce
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
This butter lettuce salad recipe is ready in only 15 minutes!
- Prep the Lettuce. Gently peel off the outer leaves of the lettuce head and discard. Twist off the bottom root and discard that as well. Wash the lettuce leaves then dry them using a salad spinner. If you don’t have a salad spinner you can simply lay the leaves out on paper towels and and pat dry.
- Assemble the Salad. Roughly chop the lettuce leaves and place into a large bowl. Top with sliced radishes, minced chives, and croutons.
- Mix Dressing. Mix up the salad dressing by either whisking the ingredients together in a bowl or shaking up in a sealed jar.
- Toss Salad. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together. Spread out onto a platter, garnish with cracked black pepper, and serve immediately.
Butter lettuce – including Boston lettuce and Bibb lettuce – has delicate, smooth leaves with a slightly sweet, mild flavor. Its delicate flavor and texture lets the other salad ingredients really pop. You can find butter lettuce at most grocery stores – it is often sold with the living root still intact on the bottom. The root helps it keep fresh longer in the fridge.
My favorite dressing to pair with butter lettuce is a simple vinaigrette. This recipe uses a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar, but you could use a different vinegar or even a lemon juice-based vinaigrette. Creamier dressings tend to overwhelm the delicate leaves and wilt them.
For a pretty presentation, I like to spread out the salad on a large serving platter. It pairs alongside so many mains. Some of our favorites to serve it with are this baked salmon, lemon garlic chicken drumsticks, or a perfectly cooked steak.
- Cheese – Try adding cheese such as crumbled goat cheese, shaved parmesan, or shaved manchego.
- Other Vinegars – Try making the dressing with other vinegars such as red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
- Breadcrumbs – Instead of the crushed croutons, you can also swap in toasted panko breadcrumbs.
Once the salad is tossed with the dressing it’s best eaten immediately. But the dressing can be mixed up in advance and stored in the fridge for 1 week. Before using, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to warm up before giving it another shake and using.
The salad ingredients can be prepped a day in advance and stored separately.
- Salad Spinner Alternative – While a salad spinner is my preferred method to rinse and dry lettuce leaves, you can also rinse the leaves and lay them out to dry on paper towels (patting gently to remove water).
- Use Fresh Lettuce – Butter lettuce will keep fresh in the fridge (with the root intact) for 3-4 days. But for freshest results, I recommend buying it as close to serving the salad as possible.
More Salad Recipes
- Creamy German Cucumber Salad – Gurkensalat
- Easy Copycat Olive Garden Salad
- Panera Green Goddess Salad with Chicken
- Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Simple Cabbage Salad
Butter Lettuce Salad
- 2 heads butter lettuce aka Boston or Bibb
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 1 cup croutons crushed into small chunks (not crumbs)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gently peel off the outer leaves of each head of lettuce, then twist off the root and discard. They should come off pretty easily.
- Add the leaves to a salad spinner for rinsing and drying. *If you don’t have a salad spinner, gently rinse the leaves and lay them out to dry, patting gently with paper towels to remove excess water.
- Once the leaves are dry, roughly chop them and add them to a large bowl.
- Wash the radishes and thinly slice using a mandoline if you have one. Add to the bowl with the chives and croutons.
- Make the dressing – Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a tightly sealed jar. Pour over the salad and toss everything together. Transfer to a server bowl or platter if desired and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper.