9 Different Types Of Lettuce & What Dishes They're Best For

No need to feel confused in the grocery store anymore.

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With so many different types available, choosing lettuce at the grocery store can be confusing

We've compiled a list of various lettuce and the best ways to enjoy each one, so you don't have to feel lost when doing your groceries.

1. Iceberg lettuce

Image via The Farmette

Iceberg lettuce has a compact round head with tightly packed leaves. The outer leaves are typically light green while the inner leaves are paler. They usually have the ability to stay crisp, making them a popular choice for adding crunch to various dishes.

Flavour: Mild and refreshing
Texture: Very crisp and crunchy leaves
Best used for: Sandwiches, salads, wraps, and stir-fried with oyster sauce and garlic

2. Romaine lettuce

Image via Dr. Axe

Romaine lettuce has long, upright, and tightly packed leaves with a ribbed texture.

Robust and slightly bitter. Inner leaves tend to be sweeter.
Texture: Crisp and crunchy, especially towards the centre
Best used for: Salads, especially Caesar's salad, wraps, sandwiches, stir-fried with oyster sauce and garlic

3. Butterhead lettuce (Boston or Bibb lettuce)

Image via PlantingMan

Butterhead lettuce has loose, round heads with tender leaves. It gets its name from its smooth, butter-textured leaves and are typically more delicate than other lettuce varieties.

It's often used as a base for salads, providing a soft and mild foundation for various ingredients.

Mild and sweet
Texture: Soft and buttery leaves
Best used for: Salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, spring rolls, stir-fry, and hot pot

4. Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce has loose, open heads with green leaves that are not tightly packed. The leaves also have a frilly appearance. They are usually more tender but less crisp than iceberg or Romaine lettuce.

They also come with red leaves.

Mild, slightly sweet, and peppery
Texture: Tender and delicate leaves
Best used for: Salads, sandwiches, wraps, Korean barbecue, hot pot, and spring rolls

5. Red leaf lettuce

Image via Measian Foods

Red leaf lettuce, which is a type of leaf lettuce, has loose, open heads with red-tinged, frilly leaves. The difference between red leaf lettuce and their green counterparts is mostly based on their visual appearance. Red leaf lettuce is good for a splash of colour, especially in salads.

However, there are slight differences in nutritional value, with the colour difference indicating different phytonutrients, but the overall health benefits are comparable.

Similar to green leaf lettuce. Mild, slightly sweet, and peppery.
Texture: Tender and delicate leaves, similar to green leaf lettuce
Best used for: Colourful salads, lettuce wraps, spring rolls, Korean barbecue, and pita pockets

6. Batavia lettuce

Batavia lettuce is similar to loose-leaf varieties but has a slightly more structured head and ruffled leaves. The overall shape is similar to other leaf lettuce varieties, with a rosette-like arrangement.

Mild and slightly sweet
Texture: Tender leaves with a crisp centre
Best used for: Salads, sandwiches, wraps, and spring rolls

7. Celtuce (Asparagus lettuce or Celery lettuce)

Celtuce has a unique appearance, with a thick, cylindrical stem that is the primary edible part. The leaves are narrow and elongated, resembling those of Romaine lettuce, but are generally less significant in culinary use compared to the stem.

Mild and slightly sweet
Texture: Crisp and crunchy, especially the stem
Best used for: Stir-fry, chicken soup, hot pot, pickle, kimchi, sushi, and spring rolls

8. Little gem lettuce

Little gem lettuce, a member of the Romaine lettuce family, bears a striking resemblance to a miniature Romaine. It develops tight, compact heads featuring elongated, upright leaves that gracefully taper towards the top.

These leaves are distinguished by a subtle ruffled and frilly edge, adding to the charm of this petite yet flavourful lettuce variety.

Sweet and mild
Texture: Compact, small heads with crunchy leaves, providing a satisfying bite
Best used for: Salads, sandwiches, wraps, stir-fried with oyster sauce and garlic, and Korean barbecues

9. Oak leaf lettuce

Oak leaf lettuce is a loose-leaf variety with deeply lobed leaves that resemble the shape of oak leaves, hence its name. The colour of oak leaf lettuce can vary, but it often includes shades of green, red, or a combination of both.

Similar to leaf lettuce, mild and slightly peppery.
Texture: Tender and delicate.
Best used for: Salads, sandwiches, wraps, or garnish.

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