Making Salad Without Lettuce

No offense, but do we not all get a little sick of lettuce? I love a salad, especially in the summer months, but there are only so many ways to vary your greens from spinach to arugula to romaine and back again. Then one day recently, it dawned on me that LETTUCE IS REPLACEABLE. You can totally make a healthy salad without lettuce. As long as my base was green and crunchy, who cares what it was? Brussels sprouts, broccoli slaw, cucumber… the sky’s the limit. 

Here’s how I made the lettuce-less salad that changed my world. It is either revolutionary or completely random but either way, it was the happiest salad discovery I ever had. 

It Started With an Air Fryer

Last week I was making my favorite haricots vert in the air fryer. It was one of those days when I actually had time to do it right – i.e. – put the beans in a bowl and add oil/spices rather than just dump them in. I even got fancy with some garlic-infused olive oil and truffle salt. While my first batch of haricots vert were in the air fryer, I munched on one of the raw ones still in the bowl. HOLD UP… this was the tastiest green beans of all time.  

To be fair, I love haricots vert in any variety, but my mind was blown. It proved to me two very simple things. For starters, fat and salt are critical flavor enhancers – and EXTRA FANCY fat and salt make simple ingredients that much better. If you do not trust me (because I am also the person who brought you totchos) take it from the incomparable Samin Nosrat who breaks this down in her best-selling book and hit show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

You could easily throw in whatever additional vegetables you want. I promise the crunch of the beans alone makes it a heartier experience so whatever you want to add will be amazing. 

Green Bean Summer Salad


  • 6 oz haricots vert, chopped**
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced 
  • 1/8 – ¼ c red onion, diced (use more if you like the bite) 
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ Tbsp lemon olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp Truffle salt
  • 4 oz cooked protein or fat (chicken, avocado, goat cheese… make it your own!)

**I recommend blanching them so they are al dente and letting them cool.


  • Chop the veggies for easier/smaller bites. Mix it all in a bowl and drizzle with oil and salt. Enjoy! 


What else do you use as a salad base instead of lettuce? Tell me in the comments!