How to Salvage Salad Greens—By Way of Soup

February 16, 2016

Food52er paczryk's roommate had a party. And at this party, people were evidently less into the spring greens than they were the other offerings, leaving the hosts with a sack of leftover salad.

So paczryk appealed to the Hotline, where Jess Spiro told us about a soup that relies on lettuce—freshness not required.

Diana Henry, the British food writer and author of Bird in the Hand, has written about her affinity for less-than-crisp lettuces. Of gem lettuces, she says that the leaves "do get slightly bitter as they age, but I like that." Forgot your lettuce in the fridge for a...while? Fear not, she says. Simply "discard a layer (or two) and the leaves underneath are perfect."

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Diana Henry's lettuce soup perks up the greens with some lemon, soft herbs like basil and chervil, and spring onions. Finished with a touch of cream, it's a smart dish that showcases lettuce's surprisingly appealing cooked flavor.

After you've hit your soup quota, delve into our community's other clever tips to give lettuce the luxury treatment:

  • SexyLAMBCHOPx suggested pickling lettuce. Try this recipe, a contest winner!

  • Cv recalled a vintage technique: braising lettuce. Here, Bibb lettuce is braised alongside glazed carrots.

How do you save your salad greens? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • jy2nd
  • bookjunky
  • Soc Page
    Soc Page
Annie Crabill

Written by: Annie Crabill


jy2nd April 2, 2017
And if you have leftover dressed salad: For years I've cooked it up (all of the salad, including the dressing) in chicken broth with a peeled potato, then blended the whole shebang. A little S&P and butter (maybe some cream) and you have a lovely soup.
bookjunky February 18, 2016
I don't really eat lettuce per se that much. It's more salad greens like kale, cabbage, shredded brussels sprouts, etc. these days. All of which lend themselves equally to a stir fry as much as to salad. Saute with some onion and garlic; add leftover rice, and a splash of TJ's soyaki sauce; sprinkle with sesame seeds, nuts, or whatever came with your salad "kit".
Soc P. February 16, 2016
We crisp up chopped up bacon. Chop up all of the leftover salad bits, and sauté in the bacon fat. Splash vinegar to perk it up and chow down. If ther is any left, into the soup pot for the next day. If there is no meat, we may stick an immersion blender in there and add some heavy cream for a creamy soup, if there is meat, then toss in a few noodles to make a hearty meal.