8 ways with lettuce

8 ways with lettuce

It probably comes as no surprise that lettuce is one of the most wasted vegetables in New Zealand.

We have all encountered limp lettuce in the back of our fridge, or have bought bags of salad greens which have gone soggy only a day after opening the bag.

The key to making lettuce last longer is to store it correctly.

Iceberg lettuces should be stored in a lettuce crisper. If you don’t have one, wrap the ice berg in paper towels and store it in an airtight bag.

Lettuce storage guide

Other lettuces and salad leaves should be removed from their packaging and stored in an airtight container.

New research from the University of Otago has revealed the best home storage methods to lengthen the shelf life of vegetables. Love Food Hate Waste, the national campaign to help New Zealanders reduce the amount of food they waste, partnered with the University of Otago to test storage practices for many common vegetables found in Kiwis’ refrigerators. The results, released today, show that simple techniques can lengthen the life of produce and dispels many urban myths around how best to store food.

Lettuce can also be a tricky vegetable as most of us just see it as the base for a salad or a filling for sandwiches, wraps or burgers – but there are more uses for it.

Think of firm lettuces like iceberg and cos as very soft cabbages, while many soft leafy lettuces can be used as you would use spinach.

Whether you simply have too much lettuce or it is starting to go limp, here are 8 ways to use lettuce, without a single salad!

Braised lettuce

Braised Baby Lettuce

While cooking lettuce may seem a little unusual to us Kiwis, there are many cultures around the world who embrace it. Try this Asian-inspired recipe for braised baby lettuces or go French with this Jamie Oliver pea and lettuce dish. 

Use it as a vehicle

Lettuce Wraps

Large lettuce leaves like iceberg or cos are the perfect vehicle for your favourite fillings. Try making spiced mince for san choy bau or add your favourite meat patty for a bunless burger.

Lettuce pie

Lettuce Pie

Yes, you read that correctly. This lettuce and feta pie is inspired by the traditional Greek combination of spinach and feta. Alternatively, try these bagged lettuce bites for finger food.

Make a dressing

Soggy greens dressing

If your lettuce has gone limp, transform it into this delicious dressing which is great with meat or vegetables. Or try this lettuce pesto.

Blitz it in a smoothie or juice

Green smoothies

People put spinach into a smoothie, so why not lettuce? You’ll want to make sure you have a high powered blender to whizz it up into pieces so small that you won’t even notice it is there.

Lettuce soup

Limp Lettuce Soup

Limp lettuce can be magically transformed into a silky soup. If you don’t want to wait for winter to try this, make this wasabi pea and lettuce soup that can be served cold.

Pickle it

Pickled lettuce

Chances are you have never had pickled lettuce, as it is somewhat unusual. If you are a pickle lover, try this recipe. Pickling softens the lettuce which makes it easier to contain in a sandwich and it adds a nice tang to it.

Make dumplings

Use lettuce instead of dumpling wrappers in these microwave dumplings.