Lettuce Allergy: Symptoms, Lettuce Alternative Recipes & More

Lettuce is a staple food for vegetarians, gluten intolerants, and health nuts alike. But what if you have a lettuce allergy?

That’s right, a lettuce allergy.

Lettuce isn’t a common food allergy, but it can be very serious. It’s unclear just how many people around the world have the allergy, but it’s something that should not be overlooked. This study outlines 14 people who suffered from a lettuce allergy, and some who experienced anaphylactic shock after coming in contact with lettuce. This would classify as an immediate, and in some cases, severe immediate lettuce allergy.

Rather than an immediate lettuce allergy, you may instead be suffering from a delayed hypersensitivity or delayed allergy to lettuce. A delayed allergy is a reaction caused by the immune system’s reaction to a food, causing distress and frequently severe symptoms. The immune system usually makes specific IgE antibodies to fight off the allergens found in these foods you have a delayed hypersensitivity to. This results in the release of histamine and other naturally occurring chemicals in the body, which then causes inflammation.

If you want to know if you’re experiencing a delayed allergy to lettuce, click here. If you want to get checked for an immediate allergy to lettuce, click here to get tested.


Here are symptoms of a lettuce allergy, lettuce alternative recipes and more about delayed allergies.


Lettuce Allergy Symptoms

Itchy and swollen lips
Itchy and swollen tongue
Itchy and swollen throat
Anaphylactic shock


Do I Have a Delayed Hypersensitivity/Delayed Allergy?

You may be suffering from a delayed hypersensitivity or delayed allergy to lettuce. A delayed allergy, also called “hidden” allergy, is the immune system’s overreaction to a food or chemical. These delayed reactions can occur 3 hours to 3 weeks after exposure to the item. If you have a delayed allergy to lettuce, when you eat or are exposed to lettuce, your immune system goes into action to “protect” you from what is really a harmless food. When your immune system stays in this defense mode for an extended period it becomes over-stressed and ultimately will not do what it should to protect you from real threats like viruses, bacteria, etc. Because of the delay between exposure and symptoms, a delayed allergy to lettuce is almost impossible to identify without a very precise blood test called the LRA.


If you are indeed allergic to lettuce, you’re going to want to eliminate it from your diet. Here are three lettuce alternative recipes you can use instead of lettuce in your meal plan.


Lettuce Alternative Recipes


Collard Greens

According to whfoods.com, collard greens were determined to provide the 4th greatest amount of antioxidant capacity related to overall dietary intake among 12 nutrient-rich foods done in a 2011 study produced by the Economic Research Service at the U.S.  Department of Agriculture. Also, intake of collard greens has been known to lower blood cholesterol levels, provide unique health benefits in the form of cancer protection, and rich in vitamins.

Here is our collard greens recipe for you to try:



1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 bunches collard greens, rinsed, leaves roughly chopped and stems discarded
1 ½ cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the cumin and red pepper flakes and collard greens. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens have wilted down, and then add the apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the greens are tender. If there is liquid in the pan, increase the heat and cook uncovered until the almost dry. Add maple syrup and lemon juice, stir well, and season to taste.


Kale and Clementine Salad

Kale is nutrient-dense, rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. Just 1 cup provides as much calcium as 1 cup of milk. It’s chock-full of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Calcum, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium and much more. It’s a great option if you have a lettuce allergy.

Below is our recipe for Kale and Clementine Salad:



2 cups kale, rinsed and chopped into thin strips
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
2 clementines, peeled and segmented
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
3 tbsp clementine juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp raw honey
Dash of vanilla extract
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Begin tenderizing the kale by compressing with a rolling pin or between two cutting boards. Then, in a large bowl, toss kale with 1 tbsp olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Rub kale between your hands for 2-3 minutes. Take a bite to check if the bitter taste has disappeared and if needed, continue rubbing for 1-2 minutes. This will tenderize and help the dressing settle into the kale more evenly. Add the clementine segments and sliced carrots.

In a small bowl, mix together clementine and lemon juices, honey and vanilla and drizzle over salad. Toss salad and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.


Mixed Spring Greens and Apple Salad

Mixed greens and apple, dressed with just olive oil and lemon juice make an excellent salad. For an added crunch, toss in some chopped olives, blanched broccoli florets, and toasted walnut halves.


8 cups of mixed spring greens, such as: watercress, baby arugula, baby spinach, pea shoots, dandelion, etc.
1 celery heart, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine the mixed greens, celery, apple slices, and lemon zest. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and season. Toss and serve immediately.


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For more information and a background on lettuce, click here.