Lettuce Salad with Italian Dressing

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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.

Top view of a white bowl full of lettuce salad and cherry tomatoes.

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.

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)
  • Garlic
  • Honey or maple syrup (as a vegan option)
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
Top view of the ingredients to make this lettuce salad recipe.

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.
Top view of a glass jug full of lemon dressing with chili flakes.
  • 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.
Top view of a salad spinner full of fresh lettuce leaves.

Recipe notes

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 herb seasoning: it’s so easy and convenient, you need only 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs to add depth of flavor to the dressing (see notes in the recipe card).
  • 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.

Close-up of a white bowl full of lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes.

More quick salads?

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!

Top view of a white bowl full of lettuce salad and cherry tomatoes.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Lettuce salad with Italian dressing

This fresh and crisp lettuce salad comes together in no time, it's light yet flavorsome and makes a fresh, healthy meal or side dish.
The quantities make 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Lettuce salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Katia


  • 2 (approx 350-400 grams) heads of gem lettuce or 1 large romaine lettuce, leaves separated 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

Italian Dressing

  • 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 or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • ¼ tsp fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 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!


Storage: the lettuce leaves wilt really fast. It is best to serve this lettuce salad within first 30 minutes after tossing. 
What’s Italian herb seasoning made of? The Italian herb seasoning is a blend of dried Italian herbs such as basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme or majoram.
NOTE: nutritional values are estimates only


Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 7835IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg


  1. 5 stars
    Simple, healthy, light, refreshing ingredients…but OH SO delicious!!!
    Serve with a marinated chicken breast and a piece of crusty bread, and you have a healthy and delicious summer meal.🥗🥖

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, Linda! That’s such a lovely meal, and I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this salad.
      Have a good weekend x

  2. 5 stars
    Can’t beat the classics. This is a foolproof beginner salad. Thanks!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Kathleen! Thanks for your lovely comment.
      Cheers x

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