Martha’s Vineyard Salad

This is one of my favorite salads with a Raspberry-Maple Dressing.  Since the first time I tried this house salad at the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor after I graduated from college,  (my Dad took the family there to celebrate my Bachelors Degree in Education) to the many times I have made this recipe for family and friends it is always welcomed on its own or with a meal.

I am especially enjoying it now as I am harvesting a bunch of my Fall lettuce that I grew from seed  from the Ann Arbor Seed Company.  A salad could not get any better 🙂


Lettuce ‘Pirat’,   Lactuca sativa    Ann Arbor Seed Company

1-DSC_4381 Lettuce ‘Forellenschluss’, Lactuca sativa    Ann Arbor Seed Company


The Gandy Dancer is a special restaurant as shown in the pictures below as it is in the old Michigan Central Railroad Depot in Ann Arbor.  The idea of a restaurant began in 1969 and after some restoration it opened the week of Christmas in 1970.

It was an immediate hit for many reasons including service, simply prepared food and the nostalgia of the historic depot. The cobblestone road is pretty neat too.   Plus you can get some of the best seafood/fish in the area; actually the whole menu is full of lots of good things to eat.  If you are lucky you will be dining when a train comes by – that is quite a thrill!

There is a picture below of the new train station – no charm whatsoever, just a modern building!  It is located next to the historic building that is home to the Gandy Dancer.

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As this is a follow up to my post last week, Homegrown Fall Lettuce, I wanted to take one of my favorite salads over to the party at The Novice Gardener today.   I just found out Angie is celebrating her birthday, so instead of “something sweet” I am contributing a product of my two passions, gardening and cooking.   Growing my own lettuce from seed (still is beautiful even though the temperature dipped to 29° this morning) and making one of my favorite salads from one of my favorite hometown restaurants.  Please go check out  Fiesta Friday #39 and the  two co-hosts; Suzanne @puginthekitchen and Sue @birgerbird who are helping with this week’s special celebration.

Raspberry-Maple Dressing

  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar – store bought or make your own below
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Michigan maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. dried tarragon or 4 tbsp. fresh, minced (my tarragon plant still had some good leaves on it)

Homemade Raspberry Vinegar

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red raspberries

Combine the above ingredients, cover and let sit at room temperature for 48 hours.  Drain the raspberries and you have your own raspberry vinegar!

Recipe by cooking with aunt juju

Martha's Vineyard Salad

  • bibb and red leaf lettuce or homegrown like below (see comment)
  • blue cheese, crumbled
  • red onion, sliced thin
  • pine nuts toasted (I always toast my nuts in a dry skillet until I can smell the nuts), you can use walnuts too

Combine the dressing ingredients.  This dressing can also be used as a marinade for seafood or poultry.  The maple syrup (can use honey) caramelizes grilled food and gives it a great flavor.  Prepare the salad ingredients and you can leave the condiments on the side which is what I like to do.  Not everyone likes blue cheese!  Serve and enjoy one of the best salads made, extra special when I can use my own lettuce and tarragon.


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I always wash my lettuce in a clean sink to get rid of the dirt and any little critters that might be hiding in the lettuce and then spin it dry!

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63 thoughts on “Martha’s Vineyard Salad

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Birthday Edition (FF39) | The Novice Gardener

  2. Good lord, 29 degrees already! Thank you for going out in the cold and harvesting this absolutely gorgeous lettuce for Angie’s birthday party salad. I am increasingly incorporating sweet elements such as fruits and fruit vinegars into salads these days and I really love the contrast with deep greeny-ness and earthiness of the lettuces. Have a great weekend!


    • It’s cold but we are having beautiful Fall weather – it does warm up into the 60’s eventually! You will not be disappointed with this dressing – just looking at the ingredients makes me say “yum” 🙂 Enjoy your weekend…


  3. Holy smokes, that raspberry maple dressing. I think I’m in love!!! This salad looks great to go with some nice juicy grilled meat omg yes please.


  4. Your homegrown salad looks beautiful, as does your salad. Love that you got inspiration from a restaurant that holds so much memory for you. Enjoy your weekend, and stay warm. 🙂


    • It is a special restaurant as my Dad did not have enough cash to pay for the meal so we pooled all of our resources together. It was well worth it and even back then it was expensive but one of the best restaurants around. We all had a good laugh 🙂


  5. How wonderful, and to be able to pick your own lettuce from your backyard in those cold temps, wow!!! You share two of my same passions – gardening and cooking. Wonderful post!


    • Thanks a lot Loretta – I have always admired your yard and what you do with it. Sometimes I wish I had a bigger garden to grow more things but I make good use of my growing season and what space I have 🙂


      • Thank you, I don’t have my big yard anymore, we’ve moved to the city, so the space is limited. I like the idea of raised beds though, I’ll have to look into that, and see which area gets at least 6-7 hours of sunlight for veggies. Nothing like stepping into your backyard and getting fresh veggies eh?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That is one hell of a train station. It looks breathtaking. Many train stations are so old…and unwelcoming. The photos of those Lactuca sativas are so lovely and your salad is amazing. I love all the photos you’ve shared. The blog looks awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much Liz for your sweet comments – I do appreciate them especially from you. This was a fun post where I could include my lettuce, a great salad and a special restaurant where I dined there first with my family. Also, fond memories of Dad not having enough cash and we all chipped in 🙂


  7. Oh wow Judi…you have me craving a salad. THIS salad, as a matter of fact. Thank goodness I decided to scumbag it today, and not go out grocery shopping.. I’ll add those ingredients to my list to pick up when I go tomorrow! Awesome post.. gorgeous lettuce.

    Maybe you can answer a question for me… my mom bought this lettuce bowl about two years ago, and it had a few different lettuce varieties in it. One lettuce in particular was a dark green, but it had these deep red veins running through it. When you took a bite, it took a few chews, and then the heat hit. It was a almost like eating horseradish… Such a wonderful lettuce! We haven’t been able to find out what that lettuce was…and we haven’t been able to find it again since. At least she had it for the summer that year.. Would you happen to know of that type of lettuce?


    • Thanks Prudy – my first thought was arugula as it does taste like horseradish when the leaves are young but your description of the leaves being dark green with red veins ruled that out. Baby beet greens have red veins. Wasabi, mustard and horseradish leaves have that taste but not the red vein or color. Swiss chard on the other hand fits your description but I am not sure about the taste. Anything can taste bitter depending on where it is grown, how old, etc. There are so my new varieties that it would be hard to guess. My answer – “I am not sure” without seeing the lettuce itself. Good luck and I hope you do find it – keep asking people and maybe you will eventually get your answer 🙂


  8. I love cobblestone roads! When I was a kid, I lived on a street where every house’s driveway had to have cobblestone, namely because our street name included the word “cobblestone.” It was pretty cool. The food looks tasty too, I love the salad bowls! 🙂


  9. Your lettuce looks beautiful! I put some seeds in for fall lettuce but something went wrong so am now back to store bought and it doesn’t look as nice as yours! The dressing sounds divine and unique, I will make it! 🙂


    • Thanks – I start my lettuce seeds indoors under gro lights so I can control it. When it is a decent size to transplant I will harden it off up to a week and then into the garden it goes. That is what I do every spring and fall; works every time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will try that, I have a greenhouse so planted some late lettuce in there but will try your version next year 🙂


      • How lucky you are to have a greenhouse – that is perfect to start your own lettuce and then transplant when they are big enough. I use to have a sunshed, kind of like a greenhouse, and I just loved it as I grew things in their almost all year long 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful salad and that dressing – oh my!! I love how pretty The Gaudy Dancer looks too – it’s always nice to preserve these sorts of buildings. Nice to see your Majolica bowls again xx


  11. I’ve had this salad at the Gandy Dancer too, Judi! Thanks for sharing a “must make” at home recipe! ❤ (Though I'll have to make do with store bought lettuce!)


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