Are you ready for your new favorite summer salad? I’ll warn you, once you’ve made this, you won’t want to go back to regular salad. It’s been my go-to for over a year now. I call it “Aunt Betsy salad” because I was introduced to it staying at my Aunt Betsy’s house in Santa Ynez (just outside of Santa Barbara) last year. June and I recently visited her again this year (we’ve made it an annual “Cross sisters” tradition with my mom’s sisters!) and it reminded me I had yet to share this, ahem, LITTLE GEM of a salad with you guys. (Sorry, I had to. The joke wrote itself.)
Aunt Betsy salad has become a go-to favorite that is so delicious that all you need to make it into a lovely dinner is a perfectly grilled protein to serve alongside it. While it tastes like summer, it’s also totally doable to make year round. (Although, when its made with fresh, locally grown lettuce, it’s really hard to top.)
It’s got a bit of sweetness, a little saltiness, and a good amount of crunch. It’s so fresh and easy to whip up, you’ll want to make it multiple nights per week, but it’s special enough that it will wow company, too.
How to make Aunt Betsy salad:
Start with fresh, locally grown baby gem lettuce. (I sub green leaf lettuce if baby gem isn’t available, or you could do a combo of the two). If you can pick it up at the farmer’s market, that will make a big difference, too!
Then, add diced fruit of your choosing: Aunt Betsy loves pears, but I often make it with diced apple, and last time I visited, she made it with mango. (Pictured above!) Listen, I have never been a big fruit on salad girl, but don’t skip this. It’s phenomenal.
Ripe avocado and cucumber: The avocado gives it some creamy fattiness, and the cucumber some fresh crunch. A delightful combination. (Remember to put your avocados in the fridge once they ripen–they’ll keep for SO long that way!)
Diced nuts (I love almonds): For added crunch, nuttiness, and salt. My favorite are almonds, but pecans could work! I used to be very skeptical of salads without croutons but believe me, you won’t miss them!
Dressed with Briana’s Poppyseed dressing (can get it at any grocery store in the salad dressing aisle) and a fresh squeeze of citrus (I love Meyer lemon or mandarin orange). This combo is really essential. The poppyseed dressing is SO GOOD. No other poppyseed dressing will do–it must be Briana’s. (And I don’t even usually like poppyseed dressing!) But it’s a bit thick, so drizzling some fresh squeezed citrus juice over the top to cut it really gives it a little something extra.
For a real Aunt Betsy twist, you can serve it in a super cool serving bowl. (She has the best dishes!) But honestly, I’d eat this straight out of a metal mixing bowl and skip the plates and it would still taste 10/10.
That’s all! Simple, but perfect! I hope you love it as much as my family does. Thanks to my wonderful Aunt Betsy for sharing it with me! I love you! ♥️
P.S. Want more food and drink recipes? Head over here!