Imagine a spring garden without lettuce? Impossible! Many of us let it sit atop sandwich fillings. Or for others; lettuce leaves are wrapped around hot or cold fillings. Whether chopped for a salad, or shredded for tostados, lettuce provides all kinds of culinary adventures. On grills, in stir fries, as a bedding under fish/beans, or added to soup pots.
Lettuce is light, cool and crisp when raw, becomes sweet and delicate when cooked and is good for your body. It is a source of vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health. It also provides potassium, vitamin K and folate. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, vitamin K helps build strong bones, and folate may reduce the risk of heart disease. Two cups of raw leafy greens are considered a 1 cup serving from the Vegetable Group.
Types of Lettuce include: Boston, Radicchio, Endive, Lambs, Butter, Red leaf, Green leaf, Romaine, Iceberg, and Escarole. This week I was rewarded with Bibb lettuce in the CSA bag. Bibb lettuce, is a butterhead lettuce, which has small, round, loosely formed heads with soft, buttery, pale green leaves. It has a tender texture and sweet, buttery flavor.
Bibb lettuce can be used in salads, either alone or in combination with other salad greens. The smaller rounder leaves located in the center section of the head can be used a cups to hold other foods, such as tuna, shrimp or chicken salad.
Because of the tender, sweet buttery flavor of Bibb lettuce it can be paired with basil, chervil, cilantro, lemon, olive oil, tarragon and wine vinegar. Food items that go well with Bibb lettuce include avocados, Gorgonzola, melon, onions, oranges, Parmesan, shrimp, tomatoes, walnuts and pecans.
No matter how you utilize your lettuce, remember that you are eating a food that is low in calories and high in antioxidants that may help prevent disease. Life without lettuce? I don’t think so.
- 2 bunches Bibb lettuce
- 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup celery, finely diced
- 1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- ¼ cup coconut
- ⅔ cup cashews
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup oil
- 2 Tb + 2 tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Mix washed lettuce, oranges, pineapple, green onions, celery, water chestnuts, coconut and cashews together. Prepare dressing recipes and pour over salad to serve.