Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad pairs tender lettuce, juicy berries, crisp pecans & sweet poppy seed dressing. A perfect spring or summer salad.

Lettuce Strawberry Salad

You may already be familiar with today’s Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad. There is a popular version circulating on the internet, prepared with spinach. 

But I prefer my mother’s version–made using butter lettuce.  It’s a little simpler and I love the way the delicate mild lettuce pairs with the juicy berries and crisp pecans.  All topped with a delicately sweet poppy seed dressing. Yum!

Whenever I think of this salad, I remember how it was the hit of my mother’s retirement community party group.  They had regular potlucks and always (“ALWAYS,” she complained with a smile) ask her to bring this. 

Finally, I asked her to bring it to a family potluck. Why should the seniors have all the fun! 

So give this version a try while the strawberries are abundant.  ‘Cause dozens of retired party animals can’t be wrong! 

Lettuce Strawberry Salad

Why You’ll Love This!

Flavorful.  The butter lettuce has less bitterness than the customary spinach for a delightfully subtle flavor combination.

Easy.  With just a few salad ingredients and a dressing that comes together in a flash, this salad is as easy as it is tasty.

Crowd-pleasing.  From most requested senior pot luck dish to a highly requested family recipe, this salad has a lot of friends.

Lettuce Strawberry Salad

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter lettuce.  This forms the base of the salad. Another lettuce can work as well.  Or even spinach if you must.
  • Strawberries.  This adds fruity goodness and flavor.
  • Pecans.  This adds crunch and flavor.
  • Scallions.  An optional add in for more flavor.
  • Red wine vinegar.  With the oil, this forms the base of the dressing.  You can substitute another vinegar if you prefer
  • Extra virgin olive oil.  With the vinegar, this forms the base of the dressing.  You can subsitutue another oil if you prefer.
  • Sugar.  This adds sweetness to the dressing and helps it complement the strawberries.  You can use a “measures like sugar” substitute if you prefer.  This has been tested with sugar and with allulose sweetener.
  • Dry mustard.  This adds flavor to the dressing.
  • Dried minced onion (or onion powder).  This adds flavor to the dressing.
  • Poppy seeds.  This adds flavor and visual interest.

Special Tools

  • No special tools required!

Step by Step Directions

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

mix dressing

Toss the lettuce with the dressing.

dress lettuce

Top with the strawberries and pecans.

Lettuce Strawberry Salad

Serve immediately.

How to Serve

This salad is a perfect starter with any lunch or dinner entrée, but it’s especially nice as a lunch first course, with its light bright flavors.  Or serve it with a light soup for a delightful pairing.

And Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad works beautifully on any brunch or buffet table, perhaps for Mother’s Day or a shower.  Yes, I think it’s been served at more of our family gatherings than any other salad I can think of!  Well, maybe tied with my Classic Caesar Salad.

While it’s a little light for a main dish salad, adding some feta cheese and maybe a little seafood or chicken, would turn it into a full lunch entrée.  

And if you happen to have wild strawberries in bloom, the blossoms can make a cute garnish!

served with fish

Variations and Special Diets

Many of the spinach versions also add feta cheese.  If you’re looking to increase the protein—or to make this an entrée salad, go ahead and add some cheese. 

There is a Panera Strawberry Salad (using romaine lettuce!) that also includes chicken, blueberries, pineapple, and mandarins.  That sounds good too!

If you are trying to reduce carbs in your diet or go sugar free, I have tested this using the sweetener allulose instead of sugar in the dressing and it came out perfect!

This salad is vegetarian, vegan and dairy free as written.  Just don’t do the feta or chicken variations then. 

Lettuce Strawberry Salad


Once dressed, this salad should be eaten within hours, or it will wilt.  If you think you might not finish it, serve the dressing on the side, and let your guests add it themselves. 

Tips & FAQs

In case you missed the news, Strawberries made #1 again on the most contaminated fruits and vegetables list from the Environmental Working Group.  So try to buy organic strawberries if you can.  Happily organic berries are getting easier to find, even in my small town!

And just as an aside, strawberries can be surprisingly easy to grow.  While mine are having a bad year this year (my husband used 8 inches of heavy mulch over the winter—oops), a lot of my friends are harvesting them in abundance–without using any pesticides. 

Lettuce Strawberry Salad served with fish


Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad

Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Sweet-tender butter lettuce pairs perfectly with juicy strawberries and crisp pecans. All topped with a rosy poppy seed dressing.
Author: Inger
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 220 kcal


  • 3/4 lb butter lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces (about 2-3 heads)
  • 1 pint strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans (ideally) toasted
  • 2-3 scallions sliced, optional


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion or onion powder
  • 1/2 cup mild olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds


  • Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  • Toss lettuce with dressing. Top with sliced strawberries, toasted pecans and scallions, if using, in a large salad bowl.
  • Serve immediately.


Calories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 149mgPotassium: 234mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1419IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Updated from original, published on June 18, 2016.

14 thoughts on “Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

  1. grace

    poppy seed dressing is PERFECT for this salad! i had butter lettuce for the first time only a few years ago, and i love it so much it makes me sad to think of all those years i wasn’t eating it. 🙂

    1. Inger Post author

      I was so grateful for those retirees for pushing me into trying it again after a lot of years!

    1. Inger Post author

      Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame–even in the retirement community I guess!

  2. Kathy

    Inger, butter lettuce is one of my favorites so this recipe caught my eye immediately. Can’t wait until our strawberries are on, to try it. You really do a nice job of photographing your culinary delights.

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks so much Kathy–I love your photography too! I was so happy to see butter lettuce from my CSA–it really is special!

  3. David

    I agree with you, Inger – butter lettuce is a much better choice for this salad. And thanks for the tip on strawberry buying. I haven’t had any since they were in our farmers market, but know now to be on the lookout for organic!

    1. Inger Post author

      Our CSAs have always been organic, but I am happy to be able to get them organic now when the aren’t in season here.

      1. David Scott Allen

        I don’t think I’ve ever told you that this dressing has become one of our favorites! It goes really well with most nuts and craisins, though we tend not to use a lot of fresh fruit in our salads.

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