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This fresh, easy, no-frills lettuce salad is one of our favorite salad recipes. And don’t mistake easy for bland because the tasty Italian dressing turns the crisp lettuce and the juicy tomatoes into a yummy salad full of flavor.
It’s also versatile, economical and makes a lovely light meal or side dish that goes with just about everything.
I initially posted this lettuce salad recipe in June 2020. The original recipe included hard-boiled eggs and a light lemon dressing, but I’ve decided to tweak the recipe leaving the eggs out and using a more flavorsome dressing.
The result is a wonderfully light, fresh and flavorful salad, naturally gluten free and vegan if you skip the parmesan cheese and honey.
Best of all, this tossed salad is a breeze to put together and delicious served with this crusty panini bread or this quick olive focaccia. Make sure you make a big batch so that everyone can return for seconds.
List of the ingredients
- Gem lettuce (or any lettuce varieties)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- White or red vinegar (cider vinegar or lemon juice work too)
- Italian seasoning
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Chili flakes
- Salt & pepper
How to make a delicious lettuce salad
(Note: this is a quick description, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Make the dressing: whisk all the dressing ingredients into a jug or place them into a glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously. You want the dressing well combined and emulsified when you add it to your salad.
- Wash and cut lettuce leaves and tomatoes.
- Place lettuce and tomatoes into a salad bowl.
- Pour over the dressing, toss until well combined and serve.
Salad dressing ingredients
- Extra virgin olive oil: I recommend using good-quality extra virgin olive oil, it adds another layer of flavor that will shine through. Plus, it features a long list of health benefits and it doesn’t go through an insane amount of processing.
- White or red vinegar: freshly squeezed lemon juice or cider vinegar work too.
- Garlic: I prefer to use pressed fresh garlic in this dressing, but you can also sub in 1/8 tsp of garlic powder if you prefer.
- Honey: it doesn’t make the dressing sweet, but it mellows the acidity of the vinegar. You can use the same amount of sugar or maple syrup instead.
- Parmesan cheese: it adds flavor, saltiness, and texture. Buy feel free to skip it if you want to keep it vegan or just don’t have Parmesan on hand.
- Italian herbs: easy and convenient, you need only 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs to add depth of flavor to the dressing.
- Salt and black pepper: and finally, fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper!
Lettuce Salad Variations
The sky’s the limit when it comes to customizing this versatile recipe, especially if you feel like making a meal out of this salad by adding more ingredients and nutrients.
Diced avocado (my favorite!), cucumber, finely sliced red onions or green onion, black olives or celery or some croutons make all delightful add-ons!
It also tastes delicious with extra protein such as grilled chicken, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, crumbled feta or cubed mozzarella cheese.
MORE QUICK SALADS?
- Italian tomato and cucumber salad
- Marinated tomato salad
- Cannellini bean salad
- Lemon couscous salad
- Spicy chickpea salad
I hope you like this lettuce salad as much as we do, and let me know if you make it! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!
Lettuce salad with Italian dressing
- 2 (approx 350-400 grams) heads of gem lettuce or 1 large romaine lettuce, leaves separated
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white or red vinegar
- 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic cloves, pressed or grated
- ½ tsp Italian herb seasoning
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- ¼ tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
- ⅛ tsp black pepper, plus more to serve
- Wash the lettuce leaves, dry well, and chop or tear into pieces. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. Place the veggies into a large salad bowl.
- Dressing: make the dressing whisking the ingredients in a small jug or just put everything in a jam jar and shake. (The recipe calls only 1/4 tsp of salt, but you can adjust the seasoning later according to your taste).
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and make sure you're happy with the seasoning.
- Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!