This Little Gem Lettuce Salad brings boring lettuce back to life in this colourful yet healthy side salad that is perfect for mid-week meals.
This salad is a wonderful combination of crisp gem lettuce, crunchy capsicum and creamy avocado all dressed in a simple lemon vinaigrette with a sprinkle of paprika on top for just a pop of colour.
This salad is low carb, gluten-free and great for keto, Paleo, vegan and vegetarian eaters.
Is little gem lettuce the same as romaine (cos)?
Little Gem Lettuce is buttery and crisp with a subtly sweet flavour and is a cross between butter lettuce and romaine lettuce.
While romaine lettuce has a large core and crisp leaves little gem lettuce has a thin core and thicker leaves.
What can I use instead of Little Gem Lettuce?
If you are unable to find gem lettuce you can easily substitute it with baby romaine lettuce or at a pinch use the hearts of large romaine lettuce.
You can save the outer leaves to use as wraps instead of bread or in another salad just store them unwashed in a paper towel in the crisper section of your fridge.
How to Make this salad
1Prepare your gem lettuce
Rinse your gem lettuce under cold running water, then cut off the end and remove any damaged or wilted leaves.
Wash and dry the leaves carefully, I like to use a salad spinner as it removes excess water and allows the salad dressing to coat the leaves without watering down the flavour for a much tastier salad
2Prepare your vegetables
Rinse all your cucumbers and your capsicum under cold running water. Trim the tops and bottoms from your cucumbers then slice into half-moons.
Remove the core and seeds from your capsicum, rinse again to remove any remaining seeds and shake to remove excess water. Slice your capsicum into 2.5cm (1inch) strips.
Peel the avocados, remove the pit and cut into large chunks, then add to your bowl.
Add the avocado oil and lemon juice to the bowl with the salad ingredients, season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad until it is well coated with the dressing, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle with some paprika for a little bit of extra colour then serve.
Some make ahead tips for this salad
I would probably just make the dressing the day before as it keeps well in the fridge.
You could chop the rest of the vegetables an hour or two in advance then add the dressing and avocado and toss it all together just before serving. Avocado will brown if you cut it too far in advance.
A great all-round salad that is suitable to serve with everything, from poultry, red meats, fish, pasta dishes or tarts. We served ours with a delicious goats cheese tart.
If you keep the dressing separate and cut your avocado at the last minute, it can travel well for a picnic or for your lunch.
Some avocado recipes to try:
(Times are an estimate and will depend on your skill level)
- Salad Spiner
- 120 grams little gem lettuce (2 small)
- 300 grams Lebanese cucumbers (approximately 2-3)
- 170 grams red capsicum (bell pepper) (approximately 1 medium)
- 300 grams avocados (approximately 2)
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- 3-4 tbsps lemon juice
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Wash and trim your little gem lettuce and either pat dry with a towel or spin dry in a salad spinner then shred and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Rinse and trim your cucumber then cut into half-moons. Add to your bowl.
- Rinse your capsicum, remove the core and seeds then slice into 2.5cm (1 inch) strips. Add to your bowl.
- Peel the avocados, remove the pit and cut into large chunks, add to your bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and avocado oil in the bowl with the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.
- Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle with some paprika to garnish and serve.