18 Types of Lettuce

Apart from the popular lettuce types, like romaine and iceberg, there is a wide range of lettuce varieties available in different colors, textures, and flavors. You can add these vegetables to salads, burgers, wraps, soups, or sandwiches to not just improve their nutritional value but also make them interesting to look and eat. Regardless of the variety, lettuce is full of antioxidants, dietary fiber, water, and other essential nutrients while being low in calories.

The four common types of lettuce based on the shape, texture, and uses include Crisphead, Butterhead, Romaine, and Loose-Leaf Lettuce. In addition to these four main lettuce types, a fifth variety of lettuce, called asparagus lettuce or celtuce, is grown for its thick stems that are commonly used in Chinese cuisines. There are also several cultivars of lettuce produced by mixing these popular lettuce types, some of which are mentioned below.

List of 18 of the Best Lettuce Varieties

1. Crisphead Lettuce

Crisphead Lettuce

It has curved, overlapping leaves forming crispy, round heads. The leaves are creamy-white on the inside and are tightly-packed, having a mild flavor and crunchy texture.

Other names: Head lettuce, iceberg lettuce

Uses: Shredded in salads, on sandwiches, and garnished in snacks

2. Butterhead Lettuce

Butterhead Lettuce

The butterhead lettuce has soft, buttery-textured leaves forming small, loosely-folded heads, while having a sweet, delicious flavor.

Other names: Round lettuce

Uses: In salads and wraps

3. Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

It has long, dark green leaves forming an elongated, loaf-shaped head. It is crispy-textured with a slightly bitter taste and is sold as ‘hearts’ or whole heads in North America. Its vase-shaped heads can grow to a height of 12 inches.

Other names: Cos lettuce

Uses: Its outer leaves are added to Caesar or Greek salads and sandwiches

4. Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Loose-Leaf Lettuce

One of the most fast-growing lettuce varieties, the loose-leaf lettuce contains large, moderately crispy, loosely-packed leaves that do not form compact heads. It has a mild, sweet flavor.

Other names: Leaf lettuce

Uses: Mixed with other vegetables or cooked meat, shredded in tacos, added to sandwiches

5. Arugula

Arugula Lettuce

Originating in the Mediterranean and southern Europe, Arugula is now grown in most countries around the world. It has a peppery flavor and contains dark green leaves that are either shorter and rounded or long and spiked. Wild-harvested variety is the most pungent, while the cultivated type varies in the strength of taste.

Other names: Italian cress, roquette, rucola, rocket, Mediterranean rocket

Uses: In tangy dressings like lemon garlic vinaigrette, for adding bold flavors in blue cheese, or mixing with other lettuces for a stronger taste

6. Batavia Lettuce

Batavia Lettuce

It is more resistant to a warmer climate, staying crispier than other lettuce varieties. Batavia consists of red-tinted or green leaves that are crunchy and nutty-flavored.

Other names: Summer crisp, French crisp

Uses: As a topping with balsamic vinegar or honey mustard vinaigrette

7. Frisee

Frisee Lettuce

Frisee comes with curly, frizzled green leaves tinged with yellow and has a slightly bitter flavor along with a crunchy texture.

Other names: Curly chicory, curly endive, chicory endive

Uses: As a base for French bistro salad, also included in pear salad with walnuts and blue cheese

8. Mache

Mache Lettuce

This lettuce variety has small, delicate leaves, and it imparts a slightly mild, sweet flavor to salads. Since grit and sand tend to collect in the tiny nubs of roots, mache needs to be cleaned carefully.

Other names: Lambs’ lettuce, field lettuce, fetticus

Uses: Mixes well with shallot vinaigrette

9. Radicchio

Radicchio Lettuce

Pronounced “rah-dick-ee-yo”, this purple vegetable has either an oval or compact round shape. When roasted or grilled, its taste becomes sweeter and its color turns brown.

Other names: Red chicory, Chioggia, red Italian chicory

Uses: Typically added to salads, pasta, and risotto, the leaves are also stewed

10. Mizuna

Mizuna Lettuce

An Asian type of leafy greens, the Mizuna is characterized by spiky, green leaves, alongside a delicate texture and spicy, peppery flavor. It is sold loose or as a pre-made mix at specialty shops or the farmer’s market.

Other names: Spider mustard, Japanese greens, California peppergrass, potherb mustard

Uses: Sprinkled with sesame seed dressing or light vinaigrette or added to Japanese mocha soup

11. Oak Leaf Lettuce

Oak Leaf Lettuce

It has a loose-leaf arrangement and comes in different colors, including green, bronze, and red. Unlike iceberg lettuce, its leaves are attached only at its base.

Other names: Oakleaf lettuce

Uses: Makes excellent salads, can be served with a variety of dressings

12. Batavian Endive

Batavian Endive Lettuce

Like Frisee, this endive lettuce variety has large green leaves, along with a crispy texture and mildly bitter taste.

Other names: Escarole, broad-leaved endive

Uses: Popular in Italian cuisine, often paired with beans and added to soups

13. Belgian Endive

Belgian Endive Lettuce

Characterized by tight, compact leaves, the Belgian endive with its fresh crunchy texture is an excellent addition to any salad. Because of its slightly bitter taste, it should be sparingly used when mixed with other leafy greens.

Other names: French endive, Belgium chicory, witloof

Uses: As small appetizers, with goat cheese, walnut, apple, and orange salads

14. Boston Lettuce

Boston Lettuce

It is a type of butterhead lettuce containing soft, supple, and pale green leaves forming small, round, and loosely-bound heads.

Other names: Round lettuce

Uses: Because of its large, tender leaves, it makes excellent cups for ground shrimp or chicken

15. Bibb Lettuce

Bibb Lettuce

Another butterhead variety with soft green leaves that are smaller than Boston lettuce, the Bibb’s head is equivalent to the size of your fist. It is twice more expensive than iceberg lettuce.

Other names: Limestone lettuce

Uses: Works well as a salad green and a wrapper

16. Cress

Cress Lettuce

Available in bunches, watercress is mostly popular in the US. It has small green leaves, along with sturdy, fibrous stems, imparting a peppery taste to the food in which it is included.

Other names: Watercress, curly cress, land cress, upland cress

Uses: For salad dressing with mustard vinaigrette

17. Tatsoi

Tatsoi Lettuce

An Asian leafy green with a slight mustard-like taste, the Tatsoi is sold at specialty gourmet shops or the farmers’ market. It is characterized by small, rounded leaves and has a baby spinach-like texture.

Other names: Spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy, spoon cabbage

Uses: Cooked in stir-fried Chinese dishes

18. Little Gem Lettuce

Little Gem Lettuce

Its soft leaves add a bit of crunchiness along with a delicate flavor to salads and dressings. This type of lettuce works well with spears of steamed asparagus and thinly sliced radishes.

Other names: Little Gem Romaine

Uses: Sprinkled with lemony dressings and ginger vinaigrette

The lettuce varieties included in the list above, packed with calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins, help you meet the daily requirements for nutrients. The powerful antioxidants help improve your immunity, while vitamin A revitalizes skin, and vitamin K boosts hair strength.

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  • November 26th 2019

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