Tangy Herbed Lettuce Soup

One of the biggest ways I am trying to control our food budget is by not wasting anything. Far to much food is wasted in our country (and in my kitchen). Money aside, I feel that food rotting away in my fridge is not the best management of my resources, and I am on a mission to cut down waste. But sometimes that takes a little more thought and knowledge to do. For example, what do you do with wilted lettuce? Lettuce that is so wilted that even a plunge in a bath of ice cold water won’t revive?

If you are at all like me, one day you are going to find that that beautiful head of lettuce you bought from the farmer’s market earlier in the week, unwashed and wilted in the fridge. This is exactly what happened to me and I loathed the thought of wasting it. But then……I remembered.

Lettuce Soup! I looked up a few recipes, and (like always) using the general principles, came up with my own version. This must be one of the cheapest soups to make, and it is very good!

Quite frankly, we were amazed at how good this tasted. I was concerned that it would be bland, so I included fresh herbs and a bit of vinegar to give it a nice punch of flavor. It worked! The potatoes make it creamy without any cream, and the greens give a beautiful dark green color. My husband was so surprised at how flavorful it was, even without broth. This one is definitely going into the keeper pile. I think I will make it with fresh lettuce too (not just wilted!).

The amusing thing about this soup is that it has many of the same ingredients that you would put in fresh salad- lettuce, onions, garlic, oil, herbs and vinegar. I guess they are flavors made for each other!

Tangy and Herbed Lettuce Soup

You can certainly use whatever herbs you like. You can also use the outer, tougher leaves from romaine lettuce instead of a whole head. You just want about the amount of one head of lettuce. This would also be delicious with a bit of cream to finish it off, or served with a dollop of creme freshe or sour cream. Lemon juice would be another option instead of the vinegar. The balsamic adds richness, and a sweet tang. The lemon juice would a more bright tartness.

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced a minute or two
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head of lettuce, washed and cut into thin slices
5 cups of water (0r broth)
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onions and sprinkle with a little salt, reduce heat to medium and saute until onions become translucent. Then add the garlic cloves and saute for a minute or two.

Add the water and potatoes and some salt and pepper. . If you have thick, tougher lettuce leafs add now as well. If you have thinner, tender lettuce, simmer for ten minutes, then add. At this point, simmer for about another 7 minutes, then add fresh basil. Simmer until everything is soft and add vinegar. and blend in a blender or with a hand blender. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Mrs. Mordecai says

    This is really interesting! I can’t wait to try it. I think more lettuce goes bad around here than anything else.

  2. MommaofMany says

    I haven’t had wilted lettuce in a while, but I might try this with a fresh head. It sounds really interesting!

    I have been freezing most of our greens to use in smoothies. It works great and allows us to NOT have wilted ones in the back of the fridge. I can stick up at the farmers market for smoothie greens without fear of rotting!

  3. Anonymous says

    I read in the book Mediterranean Prescription to boil 2 heads of romaine lettuce with 1 teaspoon of salt for 3-4 minutes, drain and .
    reserve 1/4 cup water and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Put liquid mixture on top of Cooked romaine. Sicilians say this is how families treated stomach ailments Romaine with broth.

  4. Kimi Harris says

    So you use lettuce greens in your smoothies? I have used some different greens, but I never thought of using lettuce greens. It makes sense though! Some of the greens I used were to flavorful for a smoothie.

    I also never thought of freezing them before!

    That is so interesting! Who would have thought? But I could see how it would be gentle on the stomach. I wonder if there is some property in it that makes it especially good for the stomach. Thanks for the tip!

  5. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says

    This is awesome! I am well impressed by the ingenuity here and the commitment to not throwing away something that can be used! This is something really close to my heart.

    Great job! perfect for Frugal Friday!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  6. maureen plattner says

    I am a caterer and always have lettuce left over (new bags never opened as a back up) i am trying this recipe today and will let you know how it goes. thanks for the recipe.

  7. beck says

    I just made this- very tasty! Add some whole grain bread and it makes a nice, light meal. I garnished it with some scallions.

  8. Sylvia says

    Tasty recipe! I grow a lot of lettuce, and wondered if this would be a good way to use the plants that are beginning to bolt, and are too bitter for fresh eating. Well, it worked beautifully. I garnished mine with a little dollop of Greek yogurt. It sank to the bottom, so I just mixed it in –yum!

  9. Monika says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I had a rather empty fridge this morning, with the main ingredient being romaine lettuce and wondered if it’s possible there’s a romaine lettuce recipe out there. The soup is still cooking, and I made my own twist on it, adding carrots and pasta, but I’m really happy with it!

  10. says

    This turned out really well! Definitely a keeper. I don’t have lettuce go bad very often, but this is a great solution for when it does. Thanks! 🙂

  11. vickie says

    hmmmmm Simple recipie. I have some Sweet Potatoes and Romaine Lettuce that needs to be cooked before they spoil. I am going to try this tonight!


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