Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden. It takes up very little space, it’s cold hardy, and if you sow every three weeks you’ll have easy access to greens through the season.
Lettuce is also unique in that it is one of the few vegetables that can tolerate some shade. For a lot of us growing in the City of Oaks, shade is an unavoidable factor when selecting plants. So lettuce is your vegetable!
If you’ve already planted the first of your lettuce packs, or sowed seeds, you’ll soon be beginning to harvest. What to do with all these greens? Here are a few sensational ideas to keep your salads interesting:
Roasted Beet and Pear Salad
½ head radicchio, chopped
3 red beets, washed and trimmed
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup gorgonzola
½ cup walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat beets lightly with oil, wrap them in aluminum foil, and place them on the middle rack in the preheated oven. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender.
- While the beets are roasing, toast the pumpkin seeds and nuts in a pan. This should only take a few minutes – they are done toasting when they become fragrant!
- Remove beets from oven and allow to cool. The skins should now slide off easily. Cut into wedges.
- Layer the greens in a bowl and top with the beets, pears, gorgonzola, nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
- For the dressing, combine the pressed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, honey and big pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Arugula and Butternut Squash Salad
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. feta, crumbled
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. fesh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss cubes of butternut squash lightly with oil, salt and pepper and place them on a roasting pan on middle rack in the preheated oven. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender.
- While the butternut squash is roasting, toast the pecans in a pan.
- Remove butternut squash from oven and allow to cool.
- Layer the greens in a bowl and top with the red onion, cranberries, pecans, feta, and bacon pieces.
- For the dressing, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, thyme and big pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.