Ham Salad Lettuce Cups

Of all the sandwich salads that I’ve made so far, ham salad is my family’s favorite. The first time I made it, we were on vacation in a little rental on Lake Murray in South Carolina. I had baked a huge ham for dinner the first night, then we used the leftovers for sandwiches with fresh tomatoes for a few days. I fried some up with eggs for breakfast.  I made a quiche. I used the ham bone for some nice stock and ham & potato soup one day. And then I ran out of ideas with a container of chunked ham still in the fridge. Out of desperation, I made some ham salad with a few other leftovers.  It was a hit, and I’ve been making it ever since.


  • Chopped ham.  Use whatever amount you have. Chop it as fine or as chunky as you like. We like it in teeny-tiny cubes, about the size of peppercorns. Use your food processor if you care to, then it spreads nicely.
  • Mayonnaise.  I like Duke’s. Scott likes Miracle Whip. If you’re watching calories, try greek yogurt instead, or 1/2 of each. Just add enough to bind it all together and adjust according to taste.
  • Dijon mustard. Use the good stuff. Just a taste. If not, then add teeny bit of vinegar for some snap.
  • Pickles. Claussen is really the only brand worth mentioning here. Or make your own.  Chop them about the same size as the ham. Use relish if you can find it.
  • Veggies. I like celery finely chopped and a bit of onion, too. We don’t like chunks of onion, so I’ll shred it or mince it.

*Some add hard-boiled egg to this. I’m a fan of that approach, but my family aren’t. I say add it and up the protein.


Just mix it all up and adjust ingredients as you care to. I generally just eat it by the spoonful out of the bowl before I ever serve it. I’m classy like that.


If displaying on the table for a serve-yourself presentation, sprinkle with some pretty, dark paprika. If serving as a salad on greens, do the same. The colors make a pretty combo.

You can make sandwiches with crisp lettuce and ripe tomatoes on fresh, soft bread for an out-of-this world lunch. I also use this for something different during the school year, but instead of the standard, run-of-the mill sandwich, I serve it up in fancy lettuce leaves.

Find some nice, sturdy romaine or butter lettuce leaves, glop a few spoonfuls into the center, and serve. If sending in a lunch pail, secure them with a toothpick and put them side-by-side in a sandwich container. Make sure to use ice-packs so they’re fresh and still chilled by lunch time. 

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