If you are looking for something a little bit different from your next side salad, then give this Grilled Little Gem Salad a try! Halved little gem lettuces are grilled which gives them crispy edges and then topped with red onion, avocado, radishes and tomatoes and then smothered in an incredible lemon vinaigrette. A must at your next BBQ.
We try to add a salad to as many of our meals as possible to give it a bit of a green boost. But we can easily get bored with the same old side salads, but this is far from boring. It has crunch, it has creaminess and it's packed with nutrients. It's also easy to adapt and can be served with pretty much anything. We think it's the perfect side salad. Why not try it and see if you agree!
Why you will love it
- A new and exciting side salad
- Easy to adapt
- Goes with pretty much anything
- Perfect for a BBQ, and can be double or tripled.
- Little Gem lettuces - also known as sucrine lettuce, is a crispy mini lettuce that kind of looks like a small romaine. The outside leafs of fairy soft, but the inside ones are nice and crispy. If you wanted to make a larger version of this salad, you could grill romaine lettuce.
- Red onion - this adds some extra crunch to the salad. I know that not everyone can eat raw red onion, as it can give indigestion, so you could lightly sautee it first to take some of the edge off. You could also swap it for diced shallots (these go nicely straight in to the dressing and then poured over).
- Avocado - this is what adds lots of creaminess to the salad and balances out the dressing. We cut the halves in to four, to keep the slices quite chunky, but you could slice them smaller or even dice them.
- Radishes - not only do they add crunch, but they have a strong peppery flavour too which we love. They aren't for everyone though, so they could easily be left out.
- Feta cheese and pine nuts - these are the perfect way to finish the salad off. Some creaminess and some crunch. You could swap the feta for parmesan and use another nut like pecans, almonds or walnuts.
- Dressing - We used our Lemon Vinaigrette to dress this salad.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Lightly brush the cut side of the lettuce with olive oil and season. Put cut side down on to a hot griddle pan and cook for 2 minutes. Depending on the size of your pan, this might need to be done in batches.
Two: Add the onions, tomatoes, radishes and avocado.
Three: Pour over the dressing and use your hands to mix everything, making sure everything is coated with the dressing. Finish with crumbled feta and pine nuts.
This salad is packed with nutrients, making it the perfect way to balance our a heavy meal. As well as being low in calories, little gem lettuces are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, potassium, iron and fibre.
You then have lots of healthy fats from the avocado, as well as containing more potassium than a banana. Half an avocado also contains 25% of your daily vitamin K recommendation.
This salad is also packed with tomatoes, which are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a good source of vitamin C and K, potassium and folate.
How to adapt
The great thing about this salad is that it is SO easy to adapt. Once you have the base of the grilled lettuce, the you can pretty much top it with anything. All your favourite salad toppings go! Here are some of our favourite salad ingredients:
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Poppy seeds
- Bell pepper
It isn't just the salad ingredients that can be adapted, but the dressing too. We have used a Lemon Vinaigrette, but why not try our Tomato Vinaigrette or Honey and Mustard Dressing.
What to serve it with
This is the ultimate side salad and it goes with pretty much everything. Meat, fish, a BBQ feast, sandwiches, we will serve it up with everything. Here are some of our favourite recipes to serve this Little Gem Salad with:
- Caprese Chicken
- Pesto Salmon
- Greek Chicken Skewers
- Courgette Frittata
- Greek Pizza
- Lemon and Herb Chicken
- The Perfect Roast Chicken
- Baked Chicken Burger
Frequently Asked Questions
I think that salads are always a good opportunity to get lots of extra vegetables in your diet. However, that doesn't automatically mean they are healthy and it is easy to load them with calories with cheese and dressings. So, if that is something you want to keep on the lower side, then be mindful for that.
This salad is best made fresh, however if you have some leftovers then you can store it in an air tight container in the fridge for 24 hours. Try to dress it just before you are serving it though, otherwise the salad can go soggy.
This is a great meat free side dish, however if you wanted to serve it as a main meal, then some leftover shredded chicken works really well with it.
Yes, you can swap the little gem for romaine to make a larger version than this. You will need a pan big enough to fit the romaine.
More salad recipes
If you’ve tried this little gem salad, then let us know how you got on in the comments below.
Tag us in your creations on Instagram @hungryhealthyhappy - Use the hashtag #hungryhealthyhappy too.
Little Gem Salad
- 300 g Little gem lettuce - cut in half lengthways
- 1 Red onion - thinly sliced
- 1 Avocado - cut into wedges
- 3 Radishes - thinly sliced
- 30 g (0.25 cups) Feta - crumbled
- 8 tablespoon Lemon vinaigrette
- Pine nuts - (optional)
- Lightly brush the cut side of the lettuce with olive oil and season. Put cut side down on to a hot griddle pan and cook for 2 minutes. Depending on the size of your pan, this might need to be done in batches.
- Add the onions, tomatoes, radishes and avocado.
- Pour over the dressing and use your hands to mix everything, making sure everything is coated with the dressing. Finish with crumbled feta and pine nuts.
What a crisp refreshing salad for the season! Love all the colors in this one!
I love little gem lettuce so this recipe is perfect! Thank you for this tasty salad!
Fantastic salad - truly what a summer salad should be. Amazing colors and great ingredients - yum!
I don't think I've heard of little gem lettuce before! Love the idea to grill them before making the salad, I bet that gives it so much flavor. Can't wait to try it out!
What a beautiful salad. The colors are amazing! I've never seared my lettuce before, but going to give it a try now!
This salad looks absolutely nutritious, colorful and flavorful! I can’t wait to try it!
This is a delicious salad. I loved the crunch of the pine nuts and the saltiness of the feta.
I love Little Gem salads but never thought of searing the leaves for a salad. The warm, crispy leaves are so good with chunks of cold, creamy avocado!