Butterfly Salad Recipe

It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy foods, but one trick that parents have been using for a long time is to dress foods up so they look like animals or other creatures. I recently came across a fun hundred-year-old recipe for Butterfly Salad that is quick and easy to make.

The recipe called for asparagus, lettuce, pineapple slices, olives, and pimento strips. This combination of ingredients sounded a bit unusual to me, but it actually was very tasty. The olives added a nuanced saltiness to the other ingredients, but did not overwhelm them.

Here’s the original recipe:


Source: American Cookery (January, 1919)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Butterfly Salad

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For each serving:

2 flat lettuce leaves (I used the top portion of the outer leaves from a head of Romaine lettuce.)

1 slice canned pineapple

1 spear cooked asparagus (chilled)

2 – 3 stuffed green olives

2 strips pimento

2 tablespoons French dressing or mayonnaise (optional)

To make a butterfly set the asparagus spear in the center of the plate to represent the body.Β  To make the wings place the lettuce leaves on either side of the asparagus spear. To make the head, set an olive at the base of the asparagus spear. Cut the pineapple slice in half, and symmetrically set each half on a lettuce leaf.Β  Slice the other olive(s), and place slices on the pineapple to decorate the leaf “wings”. Put the strips of pimento above the olive head to represent the butterfly’s antennas. If desired, serve with French dressing or mayonnaise.

26 thoughts on “Butterfly Salad Recipe

  1. Now I’m remembering the Easter bunny salad made with a canned pear as the body of the bunny. As I recall, the whiskers were tiny carrot sticks, and the eyes were raisins. The only problem with it was that it was so cute I didn’t want to eat it. I suspect I’d have the same problem with this one!

  2. The butterfly salad is eye-catching!

    My mom made candles for us when we were little. She used lettuce as a base, pineapple ring as the holder, banana for the candle, a cherry for the flame, and mayonnaise as dripping wax. I hope I did this for my children and grandchildren, though I can’t remember a single instance.

  3. While this is adorable, I cannot imagine eating pineapple and pimiento-stuffed olives in the same bite. Those two flavors don’t belong together in my world. 😟

    1. Until I made this recipe, I had a similar reaction to you that olives and pineapple didn’t sound like two foods that go together. But I was pleasantly surprised when I ate this dish. The sliced olives did not overwhelm the pineapple – rather the pineapple just tasted slightly salty.

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the smile! What a wonderful creative way to try to get kids to eat vegetables. I think I, too, would love butterfly salad!

  5. It’s a perfect weekend to make this salad. Here in Mariposa (which means butterfly) we are celebrating the Butterfly Festival and the release of hundreds of monarch butterflies. πŸ™‚

    1. The Butterfly Festival sounds like so much fun. I learned a new Spanish word – or maybe I knew the meaning of mariposa back in the days when I was taking high school Spanish, but had totally forgotten it).

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