If you're not a fan of leafy greens or are simply over regular summer salads, try this crisp green salad without lettuce. It combines juicy, buttery and crunchy vegetables for incredible taste and texture.
This no-lettuce salad is made with cucumber, avocado, green onions, edamame, pine nuts, and a lemony dressing with fresh herbs. It's the perfect alternative to healthified kale salads and traditional Greek salads made with fresh tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
It's a really simple side dish that you can make on the weekends, for BBQs parties or for your next family reunion. However, you can also make it for lunch or dinner by adding 1 or 2 ingredients to make it more nutritious. Check out our add-in ideas below.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- English cucumbers are crisp and juicy vegetables that make the base of this salad. A firm cucumber is key for great texture. Preferably buy organic cucumbers and leave the skin on.
- Avocados' smooth and creamy texture goes incredibly well with cucumbers. For tips on how to choose a ripe avocado at the grocery store, make sure to read our FAQ section below.
- The green part of scallions has a mild oniony flavor that really brings this salad to the next level. We prefer them over red onion as they don't leave a strong and pungent aftertaste.
- Edamame are totally optional but make this salad so much more interesting. You can use canned or frozen edamame.
- Pine nuts make the perfect addition to this salad with their sweet taste and buttery texture. I like to roast them in a pan first to add some depth of flavor. You can substitute them with sunflower seeds or pistachios.
- For the dressing, you'll need extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a little maple or agave syrup and some Dijon mustard (optional). Add in some fresh basil for a bright summery flavor. If you want to keep it more traditional, go for dill and fresh parsley.
See recipe card for detailed measurements and instructions.
STEP 1: Chop the cucumber. You can leave it whole or cut it in half or into quarters. I like slightly thicker slices of 0.2 inches (0,5 cm) to add texture and some bite.
STEP 2: Cut the avocado lengthwise in half and remove the pit. Score the flesh crosswise without piercing through the skin. Then, scoop out the dices with a spoon.
STEP 3: Add all the dressing ingredients to a small jar or bowl. Start with olive oil, dijon mustard and maple or agave syrup.
STEP 4: Shake or whisk until combined. You can add a teaspoon of your favorite salad dressing seasoning mix if you wish.
STEP 5: Add everything to a large salad bowl. Give it a good toss and make sure everything is covered in dressing.
STEP 6: Garnish with fresh mint and basil leaves. Serve right away.
Watch the video!
- Quinoa is a great way to add protein (14 grams of protein/100 g, USDA) to your salad and make it more filling.
- Canned white beans easily increase the protein, carbs and fiber content of any meal (USDA).
- Boiled and cooled potatoes match really well with this cucumber and avocado salad and turn it into the most delicious potato salad.
- Wild rice is perfect to make it way more satisfying.
- Raw broccoli is an amazing source of fiber, with 2.4 grams per 100 grams (USDA).
- Cooked and cooled green beans add an additional portion of vegetables.
If you made extra servings: Drizzle the avocado with a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from turning brown. Combine it with the other ingredients and store the salad in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Store the dressing separately and add it right before serving.
If you have leftovers: Pack them in an airtight container and consume them within the next 24 hours. The advantage of a salad without lettuce is that it won't get soggy.
Frequently asked questions
English cucumbers are often considered the best for salads. They have firm flesh, a slightly sweet taste and are seedless. However, all cucumber varieties work.
Ripe avocados usually have a dark green-brownish skin color. They feel slightly soft but not “mushy” to the touch. If they feel too soft when applying soft pressure, it's likely overripe or even spoiled. Another trick to evaluate ripeness is to check the stem. If it comes off easily and is green underneath, the avocado is ready to be eaten.
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Green Salad Without Lettuce
For the salad
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 avocados
- 3 scallions
- 1 cup canned or frozen edamame optional
- ½ cup pine nuts sub with sunflower seeds or pistachios
For the dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup sub agave syrup
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ bunch fresh basil sub fresh parsley
- Wash the cucumbers, scallions and basil.
- Cut the cucumber into quarters and into 0.2-inch (0,5 cm) slices. Finely slice the green part of the scallions.
- Cut the avocado lengthwise in half and remove the pit. Score the flesh crosswise without cutting through the skin. Scoop out the dices with a spoon.
- Rinse the edamame if you're using canned or thaw them in the microwave if you're using frozen.
- Roast the pine nuts in a pan without oil over medium-high heat until they turn golden brown. Stir regularly to prevent burning.
- Add all the dressing to a small jar and shake until combined.
- Add the cucumbers, avocado, edamame, scallions and pine nuts to a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing and garnish with basil.
More salad recipes without lettuce
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