Joni Sare, cooking instructor

Butter lettuce: the reigning Queen of lettuces

Red Butter Lettuce Wraps, see link below for details.

Good news! Monta Vista Market is offering a discount price on Red and Green Butter Lettuce this week. When I saw this week’s specials the Butter Lettuce jumped out at me …. ooooh, aaaah, my fav… yum, Butter Lettuce. And at that moment I knew I would write about it and proclaim to you, convince you — that it’s the Queen of lettuces.

Here are my reasons, not in any particular order:    (if you agree, or don’t agree, I’d love to hear your reasons, write your comments below)

  • Versatility:
    It is competent in so many ways, here’s what comes to mind:

    • Chopped in a tossed salad
    • Whole leaves for a composed salad
    • Whole leaves used as a wrap (as seen above) (this is my favorite way to use Butter Lettuce, the leaves roll easily without tearing and the leaves are thin enough to bite through with ease)
    • Chopped or whole sauteed, braised, and used in soups, stir fries (as you would use spinach)
    • Blended in a pesto
  • Stamina:
    • in the fridge: Butter lettuce has just as long of a shelf life as Romaine because its thick stem holds enough water to keep it fresh, and its smooth-edged leaf won’t deteriorate. It can last over a week in the fridge, and in the right conditions it can last up to 2 weeks. See storage tips, below.
    • in the salad: Even tho this is considered a crispy green, its thin leaves pass as ‘tender greens’ yet won’t wilt as fast as other tender greens.
  • Flavor:
    It’s sweet, it’s buttery, and very low on the ‘bitter Richter scale’ … ‘nuf said.
  • Pairing:
    • dressing: stands up to a creamy dressing …..AND….. holds on to a vinaigrette.
    • flavors: goes well with citrus, berries, bacon, truffle, and most flavors in between.
  • Texture:
    Both tender and crisp without much of a rib (as Romaine has) and the veins are thin, barely noticeable.
  • Color:
    The green color is consistent, generally has no blemishes, no pale parts  (contrary to Romaine).

Storage tips for butter lettuce

Both of these two ways have been successful for me:

  1. Leave whole, do not remove from stalk. Wrap in damp towel and place in ‘salad crisper drawer’ to eliminate air flow and drying out. Remove outer leaves as needed.
  2. Remove leaves from the stalk, wash and dry, and wrap in damp towel and place in ‘salad crisper drawer’.

If your salad drawer is full, wrap the lettuce in a damp towel and then put inside a tight-fitting plastic bag (shown in image, above), do this to eliminate air flow, don’t want it drying out. Best to avoid the cold parts of your fridge, generally the top shelf and any shelf in the very back of the fridge.

Click here to read more about “Food storage for leafy greens.”


Click here to see the details of the:

Butter Lettuce Wraps


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