Lettuce - Optima Butterhead

Quick Facts

Type: Leafy Green Vegetable
Flavor: very tender, subtle bitter/sweet flavor
Availability: Fall
Quantity: Head
Use: Consumed raw or cooked
Grown:  Field
Grown by: Horticulture Research Station

Storage and Preparation

Short Term Storage: Butter lettuce is very fragile and its leaves wilt quickly. It should be stored unwashed in an open plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator (3-5 days)
Preparation: Wash leaves under cool running water to remove dirt before cooking or eating. 

Pairings and Nutrition

Pairing: Butter lettuce leaves are great to use as wraps for fresh cheese, tacos, or egg salad.  It also makes the perfect salad base and can be topped with almost any fruits, nuts, or dressing for a refreshing salad.  Butter lettuce is great on sandwiches as well.   It can also be used on top of pizza, or in stir fry, pasta, and soup dishes to add color and flavor.
Nutrition: Adults should consume 1.5-2 cups of leafy green vegetables per week according to the USDA MyPlate recommendations.  Red leaf butter lettuce is rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Butterhead Lettuce Recipes

BLT Chopped Salad with Corn, Feta + Avocado

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1 pint grape tomatos, quartered
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup sweet corn
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a large bowl, combine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, corn and avocado. Add in salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice then toss well to coat. Fold in bacon and feta then divide evenly amount 2 plates. Serve!

Chicken Mango Lettuce Wraps Recipe

1 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon cooking oil (a high smoke point oil would be best such as rice bran oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil)
2 green onions, chopped
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large mango, diced
1 head of butter lettuce, rinsed, leaves separated


Place the ground chicken, soy sauce, and corn starch in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
Heat a wok or a large sauté pan on medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Add the green onions and sliced shiitakes. Let cook for about a minute.
Increase the heat to high, and add the ground chicken, soy sauce, corn starch mixture.  Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground chicken and spread around the pan.  Stir fry in this way for 5 to 7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, and diced mango.  Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings (rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce) to taste.
Scoop spoonfuls into the cups formed by the lettuce leaves to serve.

Options - stir in a small spoonful of chili sauce, or add a few chili pepper flakes to the oil as it is heating. Top with some fresh cilantro leaves. Experiment with other meats such as lamb, turkey, beef, or pork. Try subbing out the mango with mandarin orange slices.


Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps


  • 2 teaspoons Vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablesoon Lemongrass, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 8 oz. can Water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons low-sodium Soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Vegetarian Chile sauce or Sriracha
  • 16 butterhead lettuce leaves


  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped Green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts (or cashews)
  • Hoisin and chile sauces


  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger. lemongrass and garlic and cook for 7-10 minutes until onions begin to caramelize
  • Add tofu and water chestnuts, breaking tofu into small crumbles and cook for 4 minutes until heated through
  • Stir in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile sauce, transfer into a serving bowl
  • Place lettuce leaves on platter, and set out garnishes in small serving bowls. Allow guests to top and garnish their wraps as they choose