This easy Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola is topped with toasted walnuts and a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. It’s special enough for a holiday menu but quick and easy enough to make any night of the week!
I love to include a fresh, crunchy salad to balance out my holiday menus and this easy Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola is a fabulous choice. This is far more than just a special occasion salad; it qualifies as one of my favorite side salads of all time. The ingredients have bold, contrasting flavors that complement each other in a seriously delicious way.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s super quick and easy to make.
- The small ingredient list is bursting with flavors that are impossible to resist.
- It has a variety of textures that make it so satisfying.
- It can be prepped in advance and requires no oven space.
This easy butter lettuce salad recipe was on our Thanksgiving menu this year but we enjoy it all through the year. It works just as well with a simple pasta dinner as it does with Herb Roasted Turkey or Roasted Beef Tenderloin.
The first time I experienced this combination of flavors was at a cute little sandwich shop Paul and I used to go to for lunch years and years ago. The talented lady who ran the place used only the freshest ingredients and everything she made was far above par. We absolutely LOVED the little butter lettuce salad that she served with the sandwiches.
I had a sinking feeling the place wouldn’t be around for long because I just knew she would move on to bigger and better things. I was right. But, her salad stuck with me and thankfully, it’s super easy to prepare at home.
For the Butter Lettuce Salad
- Butter lettuce – Look for heads of “living butter lettuce” in the produce section. See the FAQ section below for more details.
- Seedless red grapes
- Gorgonzola cheese – You can buy a chunk of gorgonzola and crumble it with a fork or buy a container of crumbled gorgonzola from the deli section of your store.
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
You can use a store bought vinaigrette but it takes just a couple of minutes to shake up your own. This made from scratch balsamic vinaigrette is tangy, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious paired with the ingredients in this salad.
How to Make Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola
- Lightly toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 minutes.
- Add the balsamic vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar or other airtight container and shake vigorously until thickened.
- Tear the butter lettuce leaves into smaller pieces and layer it with the grapes and gorgonzola in a large, shallow bowl or large platter. Place some larger leaves of butter lettuce around the edges for a nice presentation, if desired. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the top and drizzle with the vinaigrette just before serving.
Toast the walnuts up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use. The balsamic vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerate for several days. Just give it a shake before dressing the salad. Due to the delicate nature of butter lettuce, I don’t recommend tearing it until just before serving.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
Butter lettuce is a tender, sweet lettuce with a buttery texture that you can find in both green and red-leaf varieties. Easy to find green-leaf varieties include Bibb or Boston lettuce. Butter lettuce leaves are loose and lightly coiled which results in a soft round head. The large, cup shaped outer leaves makes them perfect for lettuce wraps. Butter lettuce is also delicious in salads or stuffed in sandwiches.
Many stores carry hydroponically grown “living butter lettuce” sold in a plastic carton with the root systems intact. Store living butter lettuce in its original container in the refrigerator and it will stay fresh and delicious for a week or more.
Turn the head of butter lettuce over and use a sharp knife to trim off the root end and core. Remove the leaves and place them in a colander. Rinse well with cool water and spin them dry in a salad spinner or pat them dry with paper towels.
Due to the delicate nature of butter lettuce leaves, tearing them is best. Cutting them with a knife will bruise the leaves and make them wilt more quickly.
Gorgonzola cheese is a blue-veined blue cheese that is creamier and milder than most other blue cheese. When used in large quantities, I prefer gorgonzola over stronger varieties of blue cheese because it accents the other flavors in the recipe without overwhelming them.
More Side Salad Recipes
- Orzo, Grape, Feta Salad
- Apple Cabbage Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola
- Lemony Tortellini Broccoli Salad
- Cranberry Walnut Coleslaw with Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola
Butter Lettuce Salad
- 1 head butter lettuce, cleaned and dried (see Notes)
- ½ cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup halved red seedless grapes
- 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar, as needed
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet or small oven-proof dish and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while assembling salad.
- Tear the butter lettuce leaves into smaller pieces and layer it with the grapes and gorgonzola in a large, shallow bowl or platter. Place some larger leaves of butter lettuce around the edges for a nice presentation, if desired. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the top and drizzle with as much of the vinaigrette as desired.
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Add the ingredients, using just ¼ teaspoon sugar to a mason jar or other airtight container. Close the lid tightly and shake vigorously until thickened. Taste and add additional sugar, if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on April 19, 2016. It has been updated with new text and images.