Is there anything better that the ripple-y leaves of little gem lettuce? I think not. And this Little Gem Salad proves that. The small divots in the sweet leaves are the perfect vehicle for holding onto creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Pair the two with juicy orange segments, crunchy Persian cucumbers and the most delicious savory granola for a restaurant-worthy little gem salad!
The Beauty of Little Gem Lettuce
Little Gem lettuce is a small, compact variety of lettuce with crisp, slightly sweet leaves. Resembling a small romaine lettuce, the outer leaves are tender and darker in color and the inner leaves are lighter in color, very crisp and sweeter.
Little gem lettuce is perfect for side salads and starter salads and is incredibly beautiful, making it popular on many restaurant menus.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Little Gem Lettuce: when in doubt, check your local farmers’ market. If you can’t find it there, I have good luck getting it at my Trader Joe’s and sometimes Whole Foods. Make sure to thoroughly wash the lettuce! This tight heads have a tendency to hold onto dirt.
- Mini Cucumber: also called Persian Cucumbers, are one of my favorite vegetables to eat. They are incredibly crunchy and have a nice mild flavor. If you aren’t keen on regular cucumbers, you may like these.
- Oranges: any winter citrus will work here, but I find oranges work the best. I recommend segmenting them for the best texture and presentation.
- Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette: my restaurant-style balsamic vinaigrette is blended until lusciously creamy and emulsified. For this you will need good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a clove of garlic, Dijon, honey, salt and pepper.
- Savory Granola: Aside from the little gem lettuce, this savory granola makes the salad. It’s a true delight! Feel free to riff on the granola and use whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand or like best. For my version, you will need oats, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, za’atar, honey and olive oil.
- Turn this salad into a full meal by pairing it with my Pan-Seared Salmon, Pan Seared Chicken Breast or Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass. For a vegetarian option, try my Crispy Tofu.
- For a light dinner or weekend lunch, pair the salad with my easy Mussels Recipe.
- Toss some fresh herbs into the salad and pair it with my Chicken Souvlaki for the perfect summer dinner!
- As you can tell, fish and seafood is a great pairing for this salad. Try my Seafood Soup or Salmon Chowder.
More Salad Recipes to Try
Little Gem Salad Recipe
- kosher salt & black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
Little Gem Salad
- 5 cups chopped little gem lettuce, washed and spun dry
- 2 large oranges, segmented
- 2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup oats, ¼ chopped raw almonds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon za'atar, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey.
- Drizzle oil-honey mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer oat mixture to prepared sheet pan. Using a second piece of parchment, paress granola into a thin and compact layer.
- Bake granola until golden brown and fragrant, 25–28 minutes.
- Let cool on sheet pan then break into large pieces.
Little Gem Salad
- In a large serving bowl, toss 5 cups chopped little gem lettuce with desired amount of vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange orange segments, sliced cucumbers and savory granola over top. Serve immediately.