Butterhead, Apple, Beet and Almond Salad


By Priscilla Martel

After a summer of eating greens that have become tough and bitter, I look forward to tender hothouse lettuce. This refreshing salad combines soft butterhead lettuce with contrasting textures and flavors. Thinly sliced apples give it tartness and crunch. Sliced cooked beets add a soft sweetness and bright color. The herby buttermilk dressing ties the salad together. Because salad is all about texture, I finish it with toasted sliced blanched almonds for crunch.

Use any leftover buttermilk on yogurt, in muffin and pancake batter or in another batch of this dressing. It keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.


Yield: 4 to 6 servings

For the Buttermilk Dressing:

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) cultured buttermilk such as Kate’s Homemade

2 Tablespoons chopped scallion from 1 fat scallion white part only

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Juice of half a lime

For the Butterhead, Apple, Beet and Almond Salad:

1 head butterhead or Boson lettuce

1 hard, tart apple

2 small beets, roasted, peeled and sliced thin

¼ cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted


  1. To make the Buttermilk Dressing: Whisk the mayonnaise into the buttermilk in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  2. To make the Butterhead, Apple, Beet and Almond Salad: Separate the leaves from the head of lettuce. Remove the bottoms of any hard ribs. Wash and dry them thoroughly in a salad spinner or in a clean towel.
  3. Cut the apple into paper-thin slices using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Don’t worry about the small amount of core; we need the fiber.
  4. Place half of the lettuce in a salad bowl. Add ⅓ to ½ cup of the dressing and gently toss just until each leaf is coated. Divide the coated lettuce leaves between two or three plates. Then do the same with the remaining lettuce.
  5. Tuck the apple and beet slices into the folds of the coated salad leaves. Drizzle the salad with more dressing if needed. Scatter the almonds over the salads. Season generously with black pepper.

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Photo credit: Priscilla Martel