Summer baby gem lettuce salad with orange maple vinaigrette

summer baby gem lettuce salad cover

I generally don’t limit myself to certain food groups or try to go on a all-protein, no carbs diet, or any other diet fads.

While it may work for others, it would fail miserably on me. I love my food too much to  restrict myself.  And I know that I would probably eat twice as much of those sinful, forbidden food once the “diet” ends.

There was just one period in time, when I was in my late teens,  I attempted to go on a couple of diets. In my obsession to drop a dress size or two,  I’ve attempted  going on an all-protein diet (which barely lasted a couple of days because I couldn’t stand another day of poached chicken breast or oven-baked salmon), a no-carbs diet (which could have worked, but I love my sweets far too much) and the most extreme one (and the very last one), the Master cleanse diet

I went on the Master cleanse diet which is basically a liquid diet (no solid food) consisting of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for a whole week. I felt lethargic during the whole time. I didn’t even make it through the diet without cheating;  I think I sneaked in a few bites of solid food over the last two days.

I manage to lose some weight but quickly put it back on once I went back to back to eating normal food. After all that trouble, I decided that I should give up on fad diets once and for all.


Right now, I eat whatever I want to in moderation. On some days (like most weekends), I feast – bring on the rich, oily, sinful food.

During the rest of the week, I try to incorporate healthier foods into my diet – like fruits and greens. I have lighter lunches during the weekdays and eat a lot of salads. But salads don’t always have to be the boring or “healthy” choice – I don’t see it that way. In fact, I love these salads because they taste incredibly delicious.

On particularly warm days, I like having this baby gem lettuce fruit salad just because it’s so refreshing. I also love it that it is plateful of colours and that makes me particularly happy like a kid. I love using this orange maple vinaigrette; it is lighter than most vinaigrette because of the lower oil content  but the citrus and maple really makes the fruits and lettuce sing.

Enjoy warmer days with this favourite summer salad of mine!
Have a lovely week!



cutting a grapefruit (1)

cutting a grapefruit

Summer baby gem lettuce salad with orange maple vinaigrette
Serves two generously

I love using baby gem lettuce because it is both sweet and crisp which works very well with the rest of the fruits. Feel free to swap out fruits and nuts to your liking. I like to cut out my orange and grapefruit segments in this manner so it comes completely without the bitter pith. (see above pictures for reference) But you can cut it any way you like. Remember to dress the salad just before you are serving it.

2-3 heads of baby gem lettuce
1 grapefruit
1 orange
fresh strawberries, washed and hulled (Raspberries will work fine too)
1/2 pomegranate
a handful of lightly toasted almonds or pecans, roughly chopped
a handful of dried cherries or cranberries

Orange maple vinaigrette

3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Peel of the leaves of the gem lettuce gently and wash in cold water a few times. Using a salad spinner, dry the lettuce. You can tear the leaves into smaller pieces or cut them with a knife.
2. Leave it in the fridge to dry out while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. To remove the seeds of the pomegranate easily, cut it into half and use the back of a wooden spoon to hit the back of the pomegranate to release the seeds into a bowl of tap water. The membranes of the pomegranate will float to the top, making it easy to separate them from the seeds.
4. Slice the orange and grapefruit into segments (see above pictures for reference). Slice the strawberries into halves or quarters.
5. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette until well-amalgamated. Taste and season.
5. Place the baby gem lettuce into a salad bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds and toss with the salad dressing, and salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat. You may have extra dressing left (you don’t have to use all).
6. Scatter the strawberries, grapefruit and orange segments on top and add some dressing over them. Add in dried cherries/cranberries and toasted (but cooled) almonds.

summer salad 3


About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
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5 Responses to Summer baby gem lettuce salad with orange maple vinaigrette

  1. June Baby says:

    That looks delicious! Love all of the fresh vegetables in here. 🙂 Pinned!

  2. Beautiful. I’m with you on fad diets. I never bought in that the cleanse diet would give you energy but you always hear people saying how wonderful it is. You just confirmed what I thought might be the truth.

  3. I like your way of eating now. That’s how I eat and I find that it works for me! A beautiful looking salad I must say! 😀

  4. I’m bookmarking this for summer Jo! How deliciously refreshing and that dressing sounds divine!

  5. Such a pretty salad. I am with you on the moderation thing as fad diets never work. I might just give this salad tomorrow for lunch as I have everything on hand. Take Care, BAM

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