Any-kind-of-lettuce salad with parsley and heirloom tomatoes

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Any-kind-of-lettuce salad with parsley and heirloom tomatoes

Deborah Madison offers a wonderful new cookbook, Vegetable Literacy, and I offer you a fresh, easy, and tasty salad.  Her recipe calls for butter lettuce and green zebra tomatoes, but, unlike baking, where it helps to follow a recipe, I just used ingredients that spoke to me at the market.

For the last three months or so, I have been eating almost exclusively whole grains, beans, fruits, veggies, and legumes just to see what it's like. Basically, instead of looking for 50 different ways to do chicken breasts, I am finding 50 different ways to do a hundred different ingredients.

So many of my colleagues who are still practicing medicine now advocate for a more plant-based diet that limits meat and dairy — and some are doing guest posts on this blog. They are on to something. It is possible to eat a lot of good food and feel well in the process.

Servings: 4


  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely then macerated with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt with the flat side of your knife or in a mortar/pestle.
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely diced (I just used one "lobe" of the two or three that are usually stuck together)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced (remember the trick to get the pit out -- bring your chef's knife blade down sharply on the pit then twist 90 degrees and voila)
  • 1 big heirloom tomato or equivalent, cut into wedges

Tip: The trick to getting the pit out of an avocado is to bring your chef's knife blade down sharply on the pit then twist 90 degrees. Voila!


  1. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot, and some black pepper to the macerated garlic/salt in a small bowl.  
  2. Let stand while you wash and dry the lettuce then whisk in the olive oil. 
  3. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and the thinnest stems. Mix the dressing with the parsley in a big bowl. 
  4. Cut the lettuce leaves into thin strips and toss with the parsley.  
  5. Arrange the greens on a platter and tuck in tomatoes and avocado slices here and there artfully. 
  6. Adjust seasoning and eat.