We refer to this Butter Lettuce Salad as the Zestful Kitchen House Salad—it’s our go-to side dish for just about any meal whether it’s a weeknight or a special occasion. It’s bright, tangy and deliciously herby. 

The Perfect Side Salad

Nearly 100 percent of the time when we’re making a quick vinaigrette at home we reach for white balsamic vinegar. It’s the perfect acidic base for a vinaigrette thanks to its depth of flavor and mild sweetness. If you don’t have white balsamic, you can use white wine vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar (or try a combo of the two). 

Aside from the absolutely delicious vinaigrette, we love that the recipe highlights the beauty of butter lettuce. This lettuce—not surprisingly—is soft and buttery. The delicate tender butter lettuce leaves are paired with crunchy cucumber and juicy cherry tomatoes. 

And finally, herbs are key. We like to treat leafy herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro as part of our greens. Here we use a combo of parsley and dill, but feel free to use cilantro and/or basil as well. 

What is Butter Lettuce?

Butter lettuce is a type of leafy green vegetable that belongs to the lettuce family. It is also known as Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce, and its leaves are soft and buttery in texture, hence the name. Butter lettuce is a small head lettuce that is typically light green in color, with loose, tender leaves that form a rosette shape. It has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor making it ideal for salads, sandwiches and lettuce wraps.

fresh herbs, mini cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, oil and vinegar measured out and set on a table

Recipe Ingredients 

Butter Lettuce: Also labeled as butterhead lettuce, bibb lettuce or Boston lettuce, you can find this type of lettuce sold in large square plastic clamshells as whole heads of lettuce with the root bulb still in tact. We recommend separating all of the leaves and giving them a good bath in cold water then spinning dry in a salad spinner

Vegetables: Keep the salad simple with mini cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Both add texture and flavor to this simple salad.

Herbs: We prefer the combo of fresh parsley, dill and scallions in this salad, but feel free to use any fresh herbs you have one hand. Basil, chives, and cilantro would all be great options. Then be sure to store your herbs correctly so you can keep on using them over the next couple of weeks. 

Garlic: you’ll just need one small clove of garlic for this recipe.

Dijon Mustard: We use Dijon on our homemade vinaigrettes a lot. It adds flavor and depth while also acting as an emulsifier for the oil and vinegar. If you don’t have Dijon, you can use whole-grain mustard instead. 

Vinegar: white balsamic vinegar is a game changer for homemade vinaigrettes. It adds a sweet tang to any dressing. If you don’t have white balsamic, you can use white wine vinegar.

salad greens and cherry tomatoes mixed together

How to Make Butter Lettuce Salad

  1. Wash and spin try the butter lettuce leaves.
  2. Arrange the lettuce and herbs in a large serving bowl or platter.
  3. Sprinkle the cucumbers and tomatoes over the lettuce.
  4. Whisk together the vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper then drizzle over the salad.
  5. Serve immediately.

What to Serve with Butter Lettuce Salad

This is the perfect side salad for just about any meal! Fill out the menu with some of our favorite main dish recipes. 

salad greens and cherry tomatoes mixed together in a large white bowl with fresh dill

Variations on This Side Salad

  • Add some kind of cheese such as grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese.
  • Diced avocado is also a great addition.
  • Use fresh lemon juice in place of the white balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette.
  • Sprinkle some toasted Panko breadcrumbs over top for a crunchy texture.
  • Any kind of toasted nuts would be delicious in this salad. We like almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
  • Additional vegetables are always welcome! Thin radish slices, celery, carrots and green peas are all delicious here.


Can I make the dressing ahead of time?

Absolutely—we even recommend doubling the vinaigrette recipe so you can use it throughout the week. Make the vinaigrette in a glass jar and give it a good shake to mix. Store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let the vinaigrette come to room temperature before shaking and using.

What if I can’t find butter lettuce?

If you can’t find butter lettuce we recommend using a combination of spinach and little gem lettuce. These two types of lettuce will achieve the ideal combination of tenderness and curly leaves. 

Can I use an English cucumber?

If you don’t have or can’t find mini cucumbers (also labeled Persian cucumbers) you can use an English cucumber. You’ll only need a quarter of a large English cucumber. 

How else can I use bibb lettuce?

The large cup-like leaves are perfect for making lettuce cups or lettuce wraps. We also love to use the tender leaves on sandwiches.

Should I put the living lettuce in water?

You don’t need to. As long as the root bulb is slightly moist, the lettuce will stay fresh and leafy.

More Salad Recipes to Try

Our Simple Garden Salad is inspired by the house salad you’d get at a steak house. It’s crisp, loaded with toppings and full of flavor.

Try our Simple Radish Salad that highlights the crisp, slightly spicy vegetable.

This Caesar Salad is the perfect option when you’re looking for something ultra-classic.

A simple fennel salad is always a hit when paired with salmon or steak.

Butter Lettuce Salad Recipe

4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 4 side dish portions
Category Salad/Side dish
Cuisine American


Zestful Kitchen's House Salad! This simple butter lettuce salad recipe is bright, delicate and perfect served alongside a simple piece of fish, pasta or soup.


  • 1 head bibb lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 mini cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, dark greens only, sliced
  • ½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced (such as sungolds)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper


  • For the salad, combine lettuce, cucumber, scallion greens, tomatoes, parsley and dill in a large serving bowl.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together oil, vinegar, Dijon, garlic and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in a small measuring cup.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


The vinaigrette can be made up to 1 week ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container. Allow the vinaigrette to come to room temperature before shaking well and using.
Feel free to use any fresh herbs you like—fresh chives, basil and cilantro are all great options. 


Serving: 1/4 of recipeCalories: 110kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 310mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 1.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
salad greens and cherry tomatoes mixed together in a large white bowl with fresh dill

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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