Skip to Content

Stir Fried Lettuce

Stir Fried Lettuce is a quick and easy vegetable side dish that you can make in under 10 minutes. All you need is romaine lettuce, garlic, and fish sauce. Super simple and packed with flavor. Great with rice or noodles!

Plate of stir fried lettuce.
Stir Fried Lettuce, ready to eat ^_^

Why This Recipe Works

Whenever someone in the family goes to Costco (fyi: make sure to check out Costco Hawaii), we often end up with a giant 6-pack of romaine lettuce. It’s purchased with the best of intentions. We’ll definitely finish it all! We can make salads everyday!

The first two heads of romaine lettuce goes by quick and everyone is happy and excited. But then everyone gets tired of lettuce by the third head. Fast forward a week later we are left with two to three about-to-wilt heads of romaine lettuce that everyone pretends to not see in the refrigerator.

But we also don’t want to waste the lettuce. So what to do? Make stir fried lettuce! Many people don’t know that you can stir fry lettuce. It’s delicious. I actually prefer cooked lettuce over raw lettuce. It’s hot, fresh, and crunchy. And most importantly, good with rice!

We pair the lettuce with garlic and fish sauce to make it super flavorful. You can use anchovies in place of fish sauce if you prefer. The whole dish comes together in under 10 minutes and is easy to put together.

Bonus part is that the flavors feel quite complex! Garlic and fish sauce is a very popular ingredient combo that we use for other vegetables like ong choy and my most favorite eggplant dish in the world.

This makes a great vegetable side dish, or just eat it with a big bowl of rice for a simple lunch.

Stir Fried Lettuce

We always use romaine lettuce for this recipe, but you can also make it with iceberg lettuce. I wouldn’t do it with butter lettuce or any of the “softer” types of lettuce.

The idea of stir frying lettuce might sound unusual, but it’s actually pretty popular in Chinese cooking. I didn’t grow up eating too many salads, so my natural inclination is to always cook a vegetable ^_^

Ingredients for stir fried lettuce laid out on a countertop.
Ingredients for Stir Fried Lettuce.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Sautéing minced garlic in a pan.
Oil and garlic in the pan.

Step by Step Directions

Let’s get cooking!

Prepare lettuce.
Wash, dry, and chop the lettuce into 2-inch pieces.

Brown garlic.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and the minced garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until garlic is just starting to turn golden.

Tip: We use one head of garlic for every two heads of romaine lettuce. It’s quite a bit of garlic, so I hope you love garlic as much as we do. For super garlic lovers, you can add even more garlic.

Stir fry lettuce.
Add all the lettuce to the pan. Turn the heat to high. Let the lettuce sit for 1 minute in the pan (to get some color on the bottom). Then stir fry for 30 seconds until the leaves start to wilt but are still crunchy.

Add fish sauce.
Add the fish sauce to the pan, stir fry for 1 minute.

Tip: This dish comes together very quickly! You don’t want to overcook the lettuce or else it will get soggy. You want it *just* cooked, only slightly wilted and still crunchy.

Enjoy!
Slide onto a plate. Eat hot and enjoy ^_^

Sautéing lettuce in a pan.
Adding the lettuce.

FAQs and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

Best to eat this dish hot, as soon as you’re done cooking it! Leftovers will keep in the fridge 2-3 days, you can just warm it up in the microwave. But definitely try your best to eat it hot and fresh.

Don’t have fish sauce (nuoc nam)?

We always keep a giant bottle of fish sauce at home because we use it in many recipes. But if you don’t have fish sauce, you can substitute 2-3 anchovy fillets (just for this recipe only). Add the anchovies the same time you add the garlic and saute it together.

P.S. Here are a few other recipes using fish sauce, it’s worth buying a bottle because you will use it up for sure:
Garlic and Fish Sauce Ong Choy
Garlic and Fish Sauce Eggplant
Thit Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs)
Pancit Bihon
Steamed Pork With Salted Fish
Cha Trung (Vietnamese Egg Meatloaf)
Yang Chow Fried Rice

What other dishes to pair with stir fried lettuce?

Oh there are many! We love it most with a big bowl of rice and another meat or fish or dumpling/wonton dish. Here are a few pairing ideas:
Pork Hash
Meat Jun
Steamed Ginger Chicken
Pork Wontons With Sesame Sauce
Local-Style Chicken Tofu

Plate of stir fried lettuce.
Stir Fried Lettuce, ready to eat.

Stir Fried Lettuce Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Plate of stir fried lettuce.

Stir Fried Lettuce

Yield: Side dish for 2-3 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Stir Fried Lettuce is a quick and easy vegetable side dish that you can make in under 10 minutes. All you need is romaine lettuce, garlic, and fish sauce. Super simple and packed with flavor. Great with rice or noodles!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash, dry, and chop the lettuce into 2-inch pieces.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and the minced garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until garlic is just starting to turn golden.
  3. Add all the lettuce to the pan. Turn the heat to high. Let the lettuce sit for 1 minute in the pan (to get some color on the bottom).
  4. Stir fry for 30 seconds until the leaves start to wilt but are still crunchy.
  5. Add the fish sauce to the pan, stir fry for 1 more minute. Slide onto a plate. Eat hot and enjoy!

Notes

Tip: If you don't have fish sauce (nuoc nam), you can substitute a few anchovy fillets. Add the anchovies the same time you add the garlic and saute together.

Skip to Recipe