This simple baby lettuce salad made with a blend of Salanova lettuces is going to have you feeling like you’re dining at a 5 star restaurant!
Just four ingredients: baby lettuce blend, sunflower shoots, red onion and a homemade honey dijon vinaigrette. It’s perfect served with a piece of toasted sourdough bread to sop up the extra vinaigrette.
It’s June in Florida and unlike most of the rest of the country, the growing season here is winding down. The intense summer heat, and daily downpours aren’t kind on crops.
Fortunately there are a couple farms in my area that are still harvesting this month. So on a recent Saturday I went to a small farmers market and found something new to try – a blend of baby lettuces called Salanova®.
I usually buy whole heads of lettuce at the market, rather than a bag of mixed lettuce…and boy am I glad I tried this instead. I’ve bought and made it multiple times since, and this simple baby lettuce salad recipe was born!
(This recipe is not a sponsored post, just me sharing about farmers market finds I love.)
Baby Lettuce Salad Ingredients
Salanova® Lettuce Blend – The star of this salad is the lettuce for sure. It’s a blend of baby lettuces, grown by Life Farms in Clearwater, FL and picked the day I bought it. Salanova is the brand name behind the (non-GMO) lettuce seeds used to grow this baby lettuce blend. Be sure to read the substitutions section below if you can’t find Salanova lettuce.
Sunflower Shoots (from Life Farms) – Sunflower shoots are rich in folate and iron and a good vegetarian source of protein. They have a crunchy texture and slightly nutty flavor. Some people enjoy munching on them as a snack, I prefer to toss them in with a salad, sandwich or as a garnish on top of avocado toast. If you can’t find sunflower shoots, pea shoots will also work.
Red onion (from Worden Farm) – I absolutely love the red onions I get at the farmers market. They are much smaller than the type you see in the grocery store and have a delicate flavor that is absolutely lovely on a salad. I use them in cooking all the time now too.
Homemade vinaigrette – Salanova lettuce varieties pair particularly well with dijon mustard, so I quickly whisked my honey dijon vinaigrette to drizzle over the salad. See the recipe below.
A lightly toasted piece of sourdough bread pulls this meal together. Make a little extra vinaigrette and use the bread to clean your plate. Yum!
Where to Find Salanova Lettuce
Salanova lettuce is more prevalent in Europe. Here in the United States you may find it at your farmers market. If you can’t, that’s OK, keep reading for substitutions.
Substitutions for Salanova Lettuce
Two things make this salad recipe so delicious, despite being simple:
- The fact that the baby lettuce was freshly-picked
- The quality and taste of the baby lettuce
So with that in mind – if you can find another baby lettuce blend at the farmers market, and you like how it tastes, use that as a substitute for Salanova.
Try a combination of: green and red butter lettuce, green and/or red sweet crisp lettuce and oakleaf.
Don’t substitute with grocery store lettuce
What I don’t suggest is grocery store lettuce. It’s not fresh, or as tasty as the lettuce you can buy directly from a farm. Because the lettuce is the star of this meal it’s super important that it tastes really good. I didn’t realize how much I loved salads until I started buying my lettuce from the farmers market!
How to Make the Baby Lettuce Salad
This simple salad is quick and easy to make. Two of my favorite things when cooking!
How much baby lettuce, sunflower shoots and red onion you use is a matter of personal taste. The quantities in the recipe lower on this page are guidance, but not a hard rule.
1. Wash the lettuce and sunflower shoots
When buying baby lettuce from the farm, it hasn’t been pre-washed like the kind in the grocery store. So you’ll want to gently rinse the soil off each leaf and then spin them all in a salad spinner. The sunflower shoots can also be rinsed and patted dry.
2. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces
Use your hands to tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Hand tearing, versus cutting with a knife is not just more fun, it’s also a good way to prevent the edges from going brown. In this case you’ll be devouring the salad in a few minutes so that’s less of an issue.
3. Thinly slice the red onion
Cut a thin, round slice of red onion off the onion bulb, then quarter the round to create delicate slivers. Do not dice the onion into squares.
4. Make the honey dijon vinaigrette
Pour the vinaigrette ingredients into a small bowl and whisk with a fork until fully emulsified.
5. Compile the salad
Place the baby lettuces on your salad plate and scatter the red onion slivers and sunflower shoots over top. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette, or to your taste (but don’t overdress it!) and save the rest for dipping your bread.
What to Serve with Baby Lettuce Salad
I’ve eaten this salad on its own with sourdough bread for a light lunch. For a more substantial lunch, add half an avocado or soft boil two eggs to enjoy on the side.
For dinner, I’ve served it as a side dish with baked salmon. Salmon pairs well with this salad, but so would steak or burgers. I do not recommend pairing it with mild-flavored foods, such as white fish, as the entree will be overpowered by the flavors in the vinaigrette.
Simple Salanova® Salad (Baby Lettuce Salad)
- 2 cups baby lettuce mix loosely packed
- 1/4 cup sunflower shoots or pea shoots
- 1 tbsp red onion finely sliced
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil cold-pressed
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- Use your hands to tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and arrange on a plate.
- Top with the finely sliced red onion and sunflower shoots.
- Drizzle with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette to taste.
- Use a baby lettuce blend that you really like on its own and most ideally was sourced from a farm so you know it was just picked. This ingredient is the star of the meal.
- The exact quantity of lettuce, sunflower shoots and red onion that you use is a matter of taste. The measurements above are guidance, not a hard rule.
- The dijon flavor will come through in the vinaigrette, so also be sure it’s one you like.