Super Simple Spring Salad

As much as I enjoy playing in the kitchen, I like to balance “project recipes”— I’m looking at you, Paleo Chicken Bastila.

But sometimes you just need a dead-simple dishes that requires almost no work with a big flavor payoff.

I know I have a justly deserved reputation as a spiceaholic, but thanks to my weekly basket from Farmhouse Delivery, I’ve learned that some things — like fresh-from-the-ground vegetables — can really shine when handled with a light touch. Last night, I poked my head in the fridge in search of ideas to make a side to serve alongside our Chocolate Chili (laden with spices… yay!), and I found the following beautiful green things:
– an enormous, frilly head of butter lettuce
– bulbous, vibrantly green spring onions
– dark green, flat-leaf parsley

The resulting salad combined simple ingredients, but the flavors were complex, thanks to the earthiness of the organic vegetables. With a light dressing of lemon, vinegar, and very good olive oil, I could still taste the dirt and sweet sunshine that helped these veggies fulfill their destiny.

To make this salad, be sure to use produce that is organically grown—so there are no pesticides and the true flavors come through. You want the taste of lettuce, not lettuce-flavored leaves, if you know what I mean—and locally-grown — so it’s as fresh from the ground as possible. You do not want lettuce that has traveled across time zones for this.

Super Simple Spring Salad

Serves 2 | Prep 10 min.

  • 1 large head butter lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 large spring onions (or 4 scallions), white & dark green, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Place the lettuce, onions, and parsley in a very large mixing bowl.


Drizzle with lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Toss gently for about two minutes — don’t skimp on the toss. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss for another minute or so, and taste. Add more salt and pepper, as necessary, and dig in.

BEFORE YOU ASK: Yes, you can add tomatoes or cucumbers or peppers or any other vegetables that pop into your mind to this salad, but in my opinion, that will ruin it. It will become a standard tossed salad. It will not be the Super Simple Spring Salad that kinda blew my mind with its deliciousness last night. The beauty of this recipe is the pure, unadulterated lettuce+onion+parsley combo. The parsley and onion have a little bite that’s a lovely balance against the sweet lettuce. Modify if you must, but maybe try it once this way first. For me. And you. And the lettuce.

More Salad Ideas

Turkish Chopped Salad
Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles

Citrusy Carrot & Radish Salad
Emergency Cucumber Salad

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  • Sam says:

    Organically grown =/= no pesticides; if possible, check with your farmer to determine how pests are controlled. My favorite farmer is not organic (too expensive to get the certification!), but has excellent farming practices that I fully support 🙂

    And mm, butter lettuce, I can’t wait till it’s slightly warmer ’round these parts for the more delicate leafy greens to start popping up!

  • Derval says:

    Just had this for lunch. Yummy! really need to get a salad spinner though, my leaves were damp & it diluted the dressing. Had it with a pile of coleslaw (using your mayo) and a few slices of Serrano ham.

    • Mel says:

      Yum! That sounds awesome. Serrano ham; I’m jealous.

      And yes, salad spinner totally saves the day.

      • Susan Garrett says:

        Where do you get ham that isn’t full of sugar or preservatives? I am also finding that bacon that is uncured and has no nitrates, has brown sugar or cane juice.

  • Andrea says:

    Mmmmmmmm….love your descriptive words.

  • Yes, you’re completely correct about the simplicity of the greens being the star in this dish! Luckily, I have a whole row of tender lettuces growing between my tomatoes so this is on the menu tonight. Last week of Whole30 for me!

    • Mel says:

      I’m so envious! Enjoy your salads — and congrats on being close to the end of your Whole30. Hope you’re feeling great!