Also called as salad greens, lettuce is often consumed raw and as a bed for other salad fixings. Whether you’re consuming them cooked or raw, different kinds of lettuce can add texture and flavor to any food. However, if you plan on cooking them, make sure that you will only do a quick saute or else it will cause the lettuce to lose their crisp and other characteristics. If you’re going to eat them raw, remember to wash them thoroughly.
Not so many years ago, lettuce was considered exotic or fancy. Still, they slowly made their way into the mainstream food scene. Today, you can now find them in your local grocery store and shopping for them may look easy, but it can be quite confusing. That’s why we listed down the popular types of lettuce to help you determine each one on your next grocery trip.
Types of Lettuce
There are four types of lettuces, namely butterhead, romaine, loose-leaf, and crisphead. One good example of crisphead lettuce is the iceberg lettuce. It has a round head that is made of tightly packed leaves. Butterhead lettuce is also round, but they have a smoother texture and more loose leaves compared to the crisphead lettuce. Romaine lettuce has elongated leaves and thick white ribs. While loose-leaf lettuce grows like a rosette and they are loosely gathered.
Also known as chicory or curly endive the Frisée lettuce has curled leaves with green and yellow color. They have a slightly bitter taste along with a crunchy stem. Their stem has a white, pale green, and yellow color, which is a result of shielding them from the light during their growing process.
Also called rocket and Mediterranean rocket, the arugula is probably one of the most popular varieties of lettuce. In fact, arugula is usually the basis of several salads. This type of lettuce originated from the Mediterranean, and it has a more peppery taste. It is often associated with Italian dishes such as pesto.
Also called witloof, Belgian endive, and French endive, this type of lettuce has a unique oval shape with a soft satin-like texture. It has a slightly bitter taste which makes it a great addition to almost any salad. Its scoop-like texture makes it perfect for small appetizers.
Also known as red chicory or Chioggia, this type of lettuce has a deep red, purple color. You can find them in your local supermarket as a small round hear or shaped like endive. Its bright color makes it stand out from other lettuce. It turns brown when cooked, and its bitterness is replaced with sweetness.
The escarole lettuce is related to the frisee lettuce. It has a mildly bitter taste with a large green crispy leaf. This type of lettuce is often paired with beans and used in soups. It is popular in Italian cuisine.
The butterhead lettuce is a type of head lettuce that has soft leaves. As its name implies, the texture of the butterhead lettuce is very smooth like butter. This type of lettuce is usually sold in a plastic container to protect their delicate leaves.
This type of lettuce has large stiffer leaves compared to other types of lettuce. It also has a thick center leaves which makes it even crunchier when you bite it. However, its thick rib is what also gives the romaine lettuce its slightly bitter taste. This type of lettuce was the one that is used to create the Caesar salad.
The leaf lettuce is a kind of loose-leaf lettuce, and the shape of its leaves looks like an oak tree’s leaves, hence, its name. If you look at this lettuce from a distance, you can possibly mistake it for a green leaf or red leaf lettuce. But if you will look at it closely, you will clearly see their differences when it comes to their shape and texture. Oakleaf lettuce has a softer leaf texture compared to red and green leaf lettuce. This type of lettuce is an excellent bed for food because it certainly won’t compete with other flavors.
The loose-leaf lettuce is very pliable even if they have a crunchy stem. They also have a milder flavor compared to other types of lettuce. They have uneven ruffled surfaces that perfectly add texture to salads. They have large leaves which is why it is best to tear them up into bite-sized pieces if you’re going to cook them or eat them raw.