In this simple butter lettuce salad, vibrant lettuce leaves live their best lives, dressed in a tangy homemade vinaigrette and accompanied by creamy avocado and crisp radishes.
Butter is Better.
Butter lettuce, that is. Well, actually, we love the other kind of butter, too. But today we’re talking about the very best lettuce for salad-making and so we’re talking about butter lettuce! Also known as Bibb lettuce, Boston lettuce, butterhead lettuce and Boston Bibb lettuce (is your head spinning yet?), this tender, cupped lettuce is our absolute favorite salad green. No other salad green holds on to salad dressing quite like butter lettuce. It has lovely little craggy bits that dressing—in this case, a lemony Dijon mustard vinaigrette with shallots and honey—clings to in the most perfect way.
Butter lettuce salad with a honey dijon mustard vinaigrette with radishes, chives, and avocado in a bowl
What Is Butter Lettuce?
Butter lettuce is a sweet, mildly-flavored lettuce that grows in gorgeous leafy florets. A head of butter lettuce is usually shaped like a round, loosely-shaped rose, and you can prep it easily by just removing each cupped leaf from the core by hand. While most lettuces are pretty widely available year-round now, butter lettuce is truly in season in spring and early summer—that’s the time of year to keep your eyes open for butter lettuce. It may be labeled by its other names—Bibb lettuce or Boston lettuce—but they’re all essentially the same, and will all be delicious in this salad recipe.
Ingredients laid out for salad bibb lettuce, avocado, radishes, chives, shallots, lemon
Tell Me More About That Homemade Vinaigrette Recipe!
We’ve talked about how much better homemade dressings are than store-bought, right? SO much better! And the thing is, they really are so easy to make, too. The difference between a truly sophisticated salad recipe—something you really crave, or would want to serve to company—and a blah just-in-it-for-the-veggies salad is twofold. First, you’ve got to use good lettuce. Second, you’ve got to dress that good lettuce with a balanced, flavorful dressing that sings with freshness—it’s got to do justice to the great greens. To make this sunny, zingy dressing, just whisk together:
homemade vinaigrette with Olive oil, Dijon mustard, Lemon juice, Honey, Shallots
How To Make A Beautiful Butter Lettuce Salad
Petal-like butter lettuce leaves are so gorgeous, we like to leave them whole and serve this as a knife-and-fork salad (kind of like Caesar salad). Here’s how to make this springy composed salad:
Rinse your butter lettuce leaves thoroughly. All of those nooks and crannies that are so good for holding onto salad dressing are also pretty good at holding onto dirt and grit, so before you do anything else, give each leaf of lettuce a good rinse with cold water.
Whisk your dressing!
Lay the leaves on a plate——and cover them with all of the other goodies! Bright pink spring radishes for color and crunch, avocado for creaminess, chives for a slight sharpness.
Dress! Pour the dressing over the leaves and serve!
Butter Lettuce Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1 head butter lettuce, leaves removed from stem
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 bunch chives, minced (1/4 cup)
1/3 cup extra light tasting or extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced (2 Tbsp)
2 tsp honey
1/2 shallot, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
In small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing, set aside.
Arrange butter lettuce leaves on a large platter, top with radishes, avocado and sprinkle with chives.
Drizzle with dressing right before serving and enjoy!