Southern Killed Lettuce

Killed lettuce
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 4 mins
Total: 19 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
23 Calories
1g Fat
2g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 23
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 53mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 2g
Calcium 19mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This killed lettuce is an authentic mountain recipe. See the notes below the recipe for detailed instructions. You can use watercress, spinach, lettuce, or arugula in the recipe.


  • 1 package lettuce (or spinach, or salad greens. See notes below)
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • Optional: Diced cooked bacon
  • Optional: Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Optional: Texas Pete hot sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash greens thoroughly. Set aside in a colander to drain, then pat dry with toweling; put them in a serving bowl.

  3. Put the sliced onion and bacon drippings in a small skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until it is softened.

  4. Pour the onions and hot bacon grease over the greens; toss to coat the greens thoroughly.

  5. Add cooked diced bacon, crushed red pepper flakes, or Texas Pete, as desired. 

  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • Lettuce/greens will wilt, thus the ‘killed' effect. In the Appalachian Mountains, the lettuce of preference for this is branch lettuce (watercress, which grows wild in North-facing creek beds in early spring). Any sturdy green will work, I have had good success with arugula and butter crunch lettuce, also spinach greens.
  • A traditional mountain supper would be lettuce, pintos, fried potatoes, corn bread, biscuits, chow-chow, and buttermilk.

Recipe Variations

  • You can add chopped bacon, or crushed red pepper or a dash of Texas Pete, to make it lively.
  • I have used Italian dressing in place of the grease. It tastes quite a bit different, but it's very good. My grandmother used to keep a grease pot on the back of her stove, where she would save any leftover bacon drippings for cooking with, so as not to waste.