These lettuce recipes are from Everyday Food.

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A generation ago, lettuce primarily meant those ubiquitous round heads of iceberg. These days, there are more options available at the supermarket, including long-leaved, crisp varieties, such as romaine; soft, tender butter varieties, such as bibb and Boston; and loose-leaved varieties, such as red and green leaf. Although arugula and other baby greens aren’t botanically classified as lettuces, their spicy flavor adds pizazz to many packaged salad mixes. Besides being low in calories, most salad greens are also nutritionally rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and calcium.

Look for lettuces without wilted or broken leaves. Prepping the greens ahead of time is one way to fast-track dinner for several nights in a row.

Having different kinds of lettuce on hand allows you to customize your own salad mix. Try using wide, round Boston or bibb lettuce leaves as cups for cooked meat or chicken as well as wraps for sandwich fillings. Grilling, braising and other cooking methods intensify the sweetness of lettuces, turning them from salad to side dish in minutes.

Tips For Prepping Lettuce

Wash: Fill a bowl with cold water and add greens. Swish the leaves around gently to release dirt. Lift greens out of the water and drain. Repeat with fresh water until there is no grit at the bottom of the bowl.

Dry: Spin leaves in a salad spinner until dry, or pat dry with paper towels. Be thorough; wet leaves decay quickly, and dressing adheres more readily to dry leaves. Transfer the greens to a food-grade, zip-top bag lined with dry paper towels. (Or loosely roll the greens in a clean kitchen towel before bagging.)

Store: Loosely seal the zip-top bag, so the greens get some air. If you have room in your refrigerator, you can also store the lettuce in the salad spinner. Depending on how fresh the leaves are to begin with, they can last up to 4 days. In general, heartier, darker lettuces last longer than paler, more tender ones.

The Ultimate Salad Mix with Carrot, Cucumber and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings


Make your own convenient salad blend: Use 4 cups here, then store the rest.

For salad mix:

1 head butter lettuce, such as bibb or Boston, trimmed

1 head crisp, long-leaved lettuce, such as romaine, trimmed

1 head loose-leaf lettuce, such as red leaf, trimmed

2 cups baby arugula

For serving:

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, shredded

Balsamic Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

1. Make salad mix: Wash and dry lettuces and arugula. Tear into bite-size pieces. To store, refrigerate salad mix, wrapped in paper towels, in a food-grade zip-top bag, up to 3 days.

2. To serve: Combine 4 cups salad mix, cucumber and carrot; drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine.

Nutritional information per serving: 119 calories; 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 1/4 cup dressing

Whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 garlic clove, minced. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Grilled Butter Lettuce With Creamy Dressing

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill

1/3 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Coarse salt and ground pepper

4 slices crusty bread

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 heads butter lettuce, such as bibb or Boston, halved

1. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise and vinegar. Stir in basil and chives; season with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)

2. Brush both sides of bread with oil and grill, flipping once, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Rub with garlic, season with salt and cut into cubes.

3. Grill lettuce, cut side down, until charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Serve warm, topped with dressing and croutons.

Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 8 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber

Quick-Braised Salmon and Lettuce

Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 heads loose-leaf lettuce, such as green or red leaf, trimmed and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add lemon zest and broth and bring to a simmer. Season salmon with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Add lettuce (pot will be full), cover and cook until lettuce is wilted and salmon is cooked through, about 9 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with dill and broth if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 433 calories; 22 grams fat (8 grams saturated fat); 49 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber