Well, I did say I love lettuce....
July 25, 2013 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Help me find new, low-carb ways to use up my bounty of lettuce.

For the last few weeks a generous friend has been coming by after the farmers market and giving me veggies. So far it's mostly been a mix of greens, tomatoes, lettuce, and other various salad-y stuff, enough to fill a shopping bag. Yesterday he gave me two packed shopping bags which include at least 3 huge heads of Romaine and five or six of Butter/Bibb. I will, as usual, pass along anything I don't think I can eat before it would go bad, but I love lettuce and would like to try using as much as possible.

Things I know I can do:

• Grill Romaine w/olive oil and garlic
• Use it in a stir-fry
• Replace some of the Napa cabbage in egg drop soup to reduce gas issues
• Make a sort of lettuce/leek/cucumber vichyssoise
• Use it as a bed for things like taco salad, burger-in-a-bowl, and Chinese food (like a lettuce wrap)

Pretty much everything except starchy carbs is fair game. I have leeks, scallions, onions on hand, and there are a bunch of tomatoes, rainbow chard, and red cabbage in the bags. I have easy access to almost any other ingredient and just about any cooking method except outdoor grilling.

Main courses, side dishes, even deserts. Thanks all!
posted by Room 641-A to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Romaine is excellent for Caesar salad. Get Caesar dressing, fry stuff (pine nuts, bacon, chicken), mix and enjoy.
posted by meijusa at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Lettuce wraps! These hoisin-mustard tofu wraps are amazingly good.
posted by something something at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been making enormous salads for dinner of sliced romaine, crisp apples (braeburns), avocado/red onion/scallions/whatever else is around, loads of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt. It's the best. The absolute best.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:56 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know it's not romaine or bibb, but I do juice kale and I do add spinach to fruit smoothies. (see here) So in case they ever give you those.
posted by xicana63 at 8:57 AM on July 25, 2013

Is a pocket pita too carby? If not...

Salt and pepper the lettuce (more than you think you should), toss with a teeeeensy bit of olive oil, and let it just sit in a bowl for a while.

Then cram (like seriously cram into every nook and cranny) A LOT of lettuce, like way more than should fit, into the pita.


It sounds really plain, but it's actually delicious and crunchy and flavorful.
posted by phunniemee at 8:58 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Juice it, and drink it as a blend with something sweeter like freshly juiced apple juice.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:24 AM on July 25, 2013

I would try pureeing it together with other herbs/veggies into some sort of pesto / fresh green herb sauce.
posted by travelwithcats at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: The Butter/Bibb is perfect for delicate lettuce wraps with pretty much anything in them: taco filling, asian, chopped chicken. We also make more substantial sandwiches using 2 Romaine leaves for the "bread" and any sandwich filling. Chopped salad can use more lettuce as when well-chopped it is easier to eat more of it because more fits in each bite and really who can overeat lettuce.
posted by RoadScholar at 9:49 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: I use Romaine leaves for low-carb taco shells. You can double them up, or use the big outside leaves for the shell and shred the little inner ones for lettuce filling.

This principle works for pretty much anything - sandwich meat, chicken/tuna salad, meatballs (chop them up so they distribute better, same for felafel).

You can also chop the hell out of it (the crispier inner ones work best) and add TO chicken/tuna salad.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2013

With regard to the butter lettuce -two words:

Wedge. Salad.

With regard to the romaine - two words:

Taco. Buffet.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:57 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will pretty much wrap anything in butter lettuce or romaine lettuce. One of my favorites is buffalo tofu (use chicken if you eat meat).

I make a huge buffalo salad with lettuce, avocado, red onion, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, buffalo sauce (or just plain frank's red hot) and blue cheese dressing. Add any kind of protein you like.

Grilled romaine like you mentioned is pretty good, but even better is putting a few Parmesan cheese shavings on top when it comes off the grill/pan.
posted by inertia at 10:35 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: You could try making a romaine pesto-- olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper-- maybe add sauteed mushrooms or the leek for more taste and body. Then you can eat the pesto as a dip with crudites, or you could maybe make romaine pesto and egg-stuffed tomatoes.

For both, you could blend it in smoothies. If you add enough sweet fruits or carrot juice, you probably won't even taste it. Or you could blend either into a summery gazpacho.
posted by Dimes at 11:13 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I once had a delicious salad using Bibb lettuce, grapefruit segments, and garlic-herb boursin cheese.

To recreate it, I supreme some citrus (grapefruit or orange) over a bowl and either make a vinaigrette (to the juice, add a little neutral oil, mustard or mustard powder, salt, pepper, and maybe some sweetener to taste) or just dress the salad in the juice and some salt and pepper. I use a fork to break up little chunks of the boursin over the lettuce and fruit. You can add some slivered shallots or red onion to balance the sweetness if you're using oranges.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:35 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: I saute-braise the lettuce with garlic and good olive oil. Pretty good as is. Towards the end of the braise, you can also add some frozen peas and, after you turn the heat off, some finely chopped mint.
posted by scalespace at 7:28 PM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: Some friends made lettuce soup after their CSA gave them a bazillion heads of it. I can get their recipe, if you want, but the Internet reveals many out there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:27 PM on July 26, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been wrapping and braising and grilling and souping and salading and if I had a juicer I'd be juicing. Soup turned out to be a very easy, efficient, and tasty way to move the lettuce out of the fridge. Here's what I threw together, although there are tons of ways to do this:

Bring 1.5 qt chicken or veggie stock to a boil. Reduce heat.

1 chopped leek, sauteed with some thyme
~2 heads bibb lettuce
1 handful of Swiss chard, sauteed

Blend with immersion or regular blender. Add a touch of nutmeg and white pepper. Adjust salt. Finish with some butter and when the soup has cooled stir in a little bit of cream. Serve heated or cold.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:46 AM on July 28, 2013

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