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Little Gem Salad with avocado, radishes, cucumber, pickled onions, pepitas, sunflower sprouts, in a Homemade Dilly Ranch Dressing.

Little Gem Salad with Dilly Ranch


Little Gem Salad with avocado, radishes, cucumber, pickled onions, pepitas, sunflower sprouts, in a Homemade Dilly Ranch Dressing. See notes for a vegan option. 


  • Little Gem Lettuce- 3-4 heads, leaves separated, washed (or sub 2 romaine hearts, torn)
  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced (watermelon radish is nice here)
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sunflower sprouts (or microgreens)
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onions, or pickled shallots (or sub thinly sliced red onion)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, optional
  • optional additions: thinly shaved fennel, thinly sliced kohlrabi or salad turnips, matchstick carrots, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, blanched green beans

Dilly Ranch Dressing (you won’t use all) see notes for vegan

  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 12 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped- optional
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white or Apple Cider vinegar


  1. If making the quick pickled onions or pickled shallots, start these first.
  2. Make the dressing, by whisking the mayo, buttermilk, and sour cream in a bowl until smooth, stir in the remaining ingredients, and place in the fridge- you want this cold!
  3. Separate the little gem lettuce leaves. Tear any extra-large ones in half, but leave any smaller ones whole. Wash and spin dry or pat dry ( or spread out on a towel on the counter and let air dry.
  4. Place the lettuce leaves in a big bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. At this point, you could refrigerate until serving. Right before serving toss with a little cold dressing- a little at a time- you will not need all. Just enough to coat each leaf generously.
  5. Taste!  Season the salad with a little salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. You want the salad to taste “punchy”, to balance out all those fresh herbs.


Substitutions: Yes, you can substitute full-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream- but I would add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to the dressing.

For a Vegan Version: Add fresh dill to this Vegan Ranch Dressing or try this Herby Hemp Dressing here.

Keywords: Little Gem Salad, Little Gems, Little Gems salad recipe, Little gem recipe

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