If you think of salads as rabbit food – just raw vegetables tossed in a bowl with dressing as the only benefit of the mix – we have good news for you. A recipe trending on social media takes salad to the next level—it’s full of flavor, has a warming element to lightly wilt tough greens, and it’s so good you might want it.
It’s an Appalachian staple that has made its way onto social media everywhere: Videos of killed lettuce have garnered more than two million views on TikTok, and a recipe for the dish has been in the Allrecipes archives since 2011 .
What is killed lettuce?
Allrecipes member Shann submitted her family’s Killed Lettuce and Onion recipe over a decade ago, saying, “Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, everyone knew what Was the lettuce killed and how to fix it. This is my mother’s recipe, and it is very simple and basic. In the South, it is usually served with pinto beans and cornbread.
TikToker @lakynsappalaichainlife explained how to make the dish in a video, saying all you need is fresh lettuce, green onions, and bacon (or heated bacon fat). “Pour all that bacon grease right on top and it will literally wilt the whole thing,” she said. “This is probably the most Appalachian dish I’ve had on this channel, but I’m telling you it’s the best.”
How to Make Killed Lettuce
This recipe couldn’t be simpler! It only takes three ingredients: bacon, green onions and lettuce.
Cook the bacon in a pan, then remove the strips and let them drain on absorbent paper. Add the chopped green onion to the hot bacon grease to cook it slightly, releasing the aromatic flavor, then pour it and the bacon grease over a bowl of lettuce and toss. That’s it!
Why is it called killed lettuce?
“Killed lettuce” may not be the most appetizing recipe name you’ve ever heard: where did it come from anyway? Well, when you add the hot bacon fat to the lettuce, it wilts it slightly (i.e. it kills the lettuce).
But don’t worry, the lettuce isn’t actually dead or even soggy: The fat coats the leaves with flavor and softens them slightly, making the salad easier to chew and digest. Not to mention all that bacon grease that permeates every bite for a truly flavorful salad.
I tried to kill the lettuce
Intrigued, I decided to try this unusual recipe in my own kitchen. After gathering the list of simple ingredients – bacon, green onions and lettuce – I got to work.
What was most surprising was the sizzle created by pouring hot bacon grease over freshly chopped lettuce. It was clear that adding bacon fat to lettuce wilted (or killed) the leaves, making them limp and eliminating most of the crunch. I added a little salt and pepper after combining the ingredients because the only flavor I was getting at first was oily bacon grease. However, adding a little seasoning was all the dish needed to take it to the next level in terms of flavor.
This salad reminds me of a steakhouse wedge salad, so I took the recipe a step further and added some blue cheese crumbles from my fridge. Accompanied by a ribeye, it was an incredible dinner.
Am I a killed lettuce convert? I think so. With a little salt, the dish became surprisingly delicious, similar to a sauteed spinach dish, but wilted right in the salad bowl with the help of bacon grease and my trusty salad tongs. Once I mixed the ingredients together, I had a unique salad that was very flavorful and really took our steak dinner to the next level.
I would also pair it with cornbread and pinto beans like Shann suggested, or even serve it as a side at a potluck. The bacon fat and added salt made for a delicious vinaigrette-style dressing that I kept coming back for more bites of.