Lettuce Soup ♥ Unusual Recipe!

Lettuce Soup
Today's soup recipe: Simple soup made from leftover lettuce that's no longer fresh enough for a salad (or even lettuce that's been dressed for salad the night before and is too soggy to enjoy as a salad again) and new potatoes. Surprisingly tasty! Weight Watchers 2 or 3 points.

"Supper contrived from air" is what comes to mind with this soup recipe. Seriously, I used nothing more than less-than-perfect romaine and bok choy and some completely wilted radish leaves. And still? Delicious – a great recipe to have in your back pocket when looking for ways to use up leftover lettuce, especially lettuce too sad for a salad. This soup really hit the right note on a wet, chilly spring day.

NUTRITION NOTE The recipe yields four cups of soup, for which I'd normally allow just a tablespoon of fat. But I was intrigued by the inspiring recipe's technique of stirring in a last tablespoon of butter at the end, flavoring the water-based broth. Next time, I'd skip that butter. It does add richness but it also adds calories and clouds the broth. Because of the idiosyncrasies of how Weight Watchers points are calculated, however, either way, a cup of soup counts as 2 points.

"It's a lovely soup ..." ~ Annie


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 4 cups

1 tablespoon butter (reduced from 2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (I used onion and shallot)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Several grinds pepper
1/2 pound new potatoes, sliced into thin batons or cubed (these will take the longest to cook so cut small)
8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce (include the ribs, too, I used romaine, red leaf and radish leaves plus one baby bok choy)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter, optional
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter until shimmery in a large pot on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the garlic and onion, cook til just soft, stirring to coat often. Stir in the coriander, salt and pepper, cook a minute. Stir in potatoes and lettuce. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often to coat with fat, until lettuce begins to wilt. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes. If desired, stir in another tablespoon of butter, stir until it melts. If desired, purée.

A reader asks about using "rotten" lettuce. No, don't use rotten lettuce! But don't we all end up with wilted lettuce that's not fresh enough for a salad but is too good to throw away? At my house, that lettuce sits around until it's rotten and THEN I throw it away. Now there's another choice: lettuce soup.
The inspiring recipe called for puréeing the soup in a blender although an immersion blender would work, too, so long as the liquid isn't so shallow that the immersion blender will spit up soup all over. I chose not to blend the soup, since I think it's good to be able to identify food. Plus, who needs to wash an extra dish?!

Still Hungry?

~ Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup ~
~ 15-Bean Soup ~
~ more soup recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Hamburger Soup ~
~ At Last! Black Bean Soup ~
~ Lentil Soup Vincent ~
~ soup recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

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© Copyright 2008
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. AnonymousMay 29, 2008

    This really looks good - the name didn't sound so good, but yeah, it looks good now.

  2. We are so programmed to think of lettuce as a salad base, but it's a wonderful veggie for cooking. I use the end bits of lettuce in stir fry dishes, sometimes with black bean sauce, other times with oyster sauce. And always with my favorite chili paste with garlic!

  3. I wanted to let you know that I saw this recipe and immediately made it because I had so much lettuce in the fridge starting to wilt. It's a lovely soup--I pureed about half of it for a nice mix of thickness and texture. I used russet potatoes and they worked just fine. Thanks for posting it!

  4. Hi Annie ~ You so completely made my day, thank you! I bet yours is record turn-around for ANY recipe :-) let alone one that sounds as weird as 'lettuce soup'.

    But it's that kind of recipe, soooo fitting just the moment you found yourself in, with wilting lettuce that otherwise would be thrown into the garbage!

    Love it, love it!

  5. AnonymousMay 30, 2008

    do you mean wilted because it's cooked or because it's decomposed? so are decomposed greens worth eating? is it safe to eat roting food?

  6. No, don't eat rotten greens. But you know how lettuce gets some times when it's 'past due'? It's past using for a salad and is on the verge of rotting or being thrown away, as is. And lots of time there may be one section that's too far gone but the rest of it goes to waste unless there's something to do with it, like, well, lettuce soup.

    Hope this helps!

  7. I just made this soup, sort of. And it is awesome! I've joined a CSA and got a bunch of greens this week, not unexpected because that's what comes in early. Looking for some new recipes I found this. I started with browning a few pieces of turkey bacon in a dutch oven. Took that out and reserved for another recipe. Added the butter, an onion, and spring garlic from the CSA. Next were half a head of lettuce (red) and a bunch of dandelion greens from the CSA along with parsnips instead of potatoes. I used some fresh thyme (didn't have any coriander) and grated some nutmeg over the top when it simmered. Yumm! Thanks for posting this recipe. Yes I modified it, but I never would have known where to start without it.

  8. Bill ~ “”Sort of” -- you’re my kinda cook! Some times it just takes a germ of inspiration, doesn’t it?! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! It made my day!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna