Last Updated on February 15, 2019
I've included this delicious lamb's lettuce salad already several times in my Christmas menu. But in fact, it will rock any menu throughout the colder season.
Doesn't this leaf salad just look gorgeous combined with the nutrient-rich walnuts and sprinkled pomegranate seeds? For me, these red seeds always resembled little shiny Christmas bulbs. Together with the green lambs lettuce rosettes, they create a festive Christmas impression.
Luckily my family tasted and approved the holiday salad and I'm happy to share the whole foods recipe with you…
What is mâche or lamb's lettuce salad?
This tender leaf salad can also be found under the name lamb's ear lettuce, mache lettuce, mâche rosettes, corn salad, corn lettuce, Rapunzel, field salad or the Latin name “Valerianella locusta”. It has spoon-shaped dark green leaves, and a tangy, nutty flavor.
While it is a very common crop in Europe, I realize that these mâche rosettes are not so present in American's kitchens. At least I didn't find many mâche recipes on Pinterest…But don't worry, I'll give you some tips where you can buy them in the US at the end of this blog post.
Why YOU need this vitamin bomb
Did you know that mache rosettes are one of the most nutrient dense leaf salads? So, if you are a health-conscious foodie – you are reading this blog, so you probably are – then mache lettuce is a must. I'll share more about its nutrition facts later.
My absolute favorite leaf salad ever
Let me just rave a bit and tell you that lamb's lettuce salad (in Germany we call it Feldsalat or Ackersalat) is by far my most favorite green leaf salad ever. I could eat these soft and tender leaves with a nutty taste all year round but…
In fact, it is a typical winter salad which is mostly sold from autumn until early spring. As I prefer to eat veggies in the season I often can't wait the opening of the “Feldsalat Season”. For a clean eating salad, I usually combine it with just some thinly sliced onions and a simple vinegar oil dressing. But for Christmas, it's nice to include some “whistles and bells”.
Where you can buy mache lettuce in the US
Although I'm not living in the USA I researched (with the help of a wonderful Facebook group) that you can buy Lamb's lettuce at your local Whole Foods, Bristol Farms or Meijers in the boxed salad greens section. The brand “Iloveorganicgirl” sells it under the name “mâche rosettes”. They are even washed so you don't have to. The only thing you have to remove is the tiny part of the root at each rosette.
If you can't get it in your region
You can mimic the look of this recipe and use baby spinach leaves instead. Lamb's lettuce is anyway often confused with baby spinach. Ok, you won't have the rosettes and all its nutrients but at least the leaves seam similar.
Lamb's lettuce has many nutrients, with 3 times as much vitamin C as lettuce it is super-charged with Vitamin C and it provides 14 times as much pro-vitamin A as iceberg lettuce. (1) Mache is also a great source of beta-carotene, B6, potassium, and iron. To reap most of its nutrients it is best to eat it in season and as fresh as possible.
Washing and cleaning
- First, fill your sink with cold water.
- Wash the salad thoroughly in water at least once, as the mache rosettes are often very sandy.
- Take it out, let it drip off or carefully spin it dry in a salad spinner.
- Check one rosette after the other: Cut off root ends and wilted leaves
- Halve large rosettes if necessary
Here is finally the recipe for my festive salad recipe.Print
Lamb's Lettuce with walnuts and pomegranate seeds
A nutrient-dense and festive leaf salad
- Prep Time: 20
- Total Time: 20
- 10.5 oz/300 gr. Lamb's lettuce/mache rosettes, washed and cleaned thoroughly
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium pomegranate, seeded
- 7 oz./200 gr. walnuts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
- salt, pepper
- Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat.
- Add walnuts and stir for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt.
- Toss to coat the walnuts.
- In a large bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Put washed lamb's lettuce in the bowl and mix well.
- Spread the lettuce with dressing on 8 salad plates,
- Garnish each salad plate with the walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Serving Size: 8
My hardest earned and most organic “Ackersalat”
When my daughter was in the kinder garden my father in law used to bring us lamb's lettuce growing wild right from the field. He called it “Sonnewirbeli” or “Ackersalat” and the rosettes were smaller than those you get in the store. When he came with his “treasure” I was of course very grateful but I also knew that I needed to carve out some extra time in my kitchen;)
Look, it took me almost an hour to thoroughly wash the salad as it was quite grainy and gritty. I can't even imagine how long it took him to find and pick all those tiny, small rosettes from the field. I know what you are thinking…But hey, that was probably the freshest, most organic and nutrient-rich lamb's lettuce we've ever eaten.
Don't run away yet…
Before you run away and forget about this vitamin bomb, let me reassure you…the mache rosettes you get in the store nowadays are for sure much larger, cleaner and especially in the US they are offered prewashed. So, don't you think it's time to include this precious little greens into your whole food's nutrition?
Storage: Consume it quickly
Lettuce can be kept for a few days in the vegetable compartment of the fridge. The ingredients and flavor, however, are lost during storage and the leaves wither quickly.