A star ingredient in burgers and salads, lettuce is a go-to for many people looking to add some greens to their diets.
Despite its popularity, not everyone is a fan of this leafy green.
While some find the taste of lettuce too bitter or bland, there are others who can’t help but fall in love with the leafy green every time they take a bite.
Regardless of the group you fall into, it’s important to learn the different kinds of lettuce and what does lettuce taste like so that you can make the best choices for your own taste buds.
What is Lettuce?
Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the family Asteraceae.
They’re marked by their large, blade-like leaves that can be either deep/bright green, yellow, or red in color.
Lettuce is often used as a garnish or a base in salads, but you can also add it in soups, sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
The vegetable is low in calories but high in water content – making them a great choice for those looking to stay hydrated.
There are roughly over 100 species of lettuce.
The most common ones are the Arugula, Iceberg, Butterhead, and Romaine, just to name a few.
Different species may vary slightly in taste, but they all have a similar flavor profile and can be used interchangeably in recipes.
What Does Lettuce Taste Like?
Lettuce connoisseurs might know the taste of different types of this green leafy vegetable.
But for beginners, it might be confusing as some lettuce taste bland, while some taste bitter.
It has different types and thus leading to variation in taste.
Despite the difference in taste, they have mild flavor.
It’s an ideal ingredient in various dishes because of its subtle taste.
Besides, the bitterness in lettuce might be due to immaturity or poor growing conditions.
Types of Lettuce and their taste.
Iceberg lettuce: It’s a common lettuce type used in sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Iceberg lettuce has round heads and whitish inside. It has a crisp texture and mild flavor.
Romaine lettuce: Romaine lettuce is known for its crispy texture with a slight hint of bitterness.
It has long leaves and is dark green. This variety is used in Caesar and Greek salads.
Leaf lettuce: Leaf lettuce is a common variety found abundantly and is quite popular in various dishes. Like any lettuce type, it has a mild flavor and sweet undertone.
It’s used in tacos, sandwiches, or mixed with other vegetables.
Arugula: This dark green leaf is a staple in different salad types. It’s also quite popular among health enthusiasts.
Arugula has a peppery flavor compared to other lettuce types. It has different varieties, and the taste may vary depending on it.
Frisee: Frisee lettuce slightly has a bitter flavor with a crunchy texture, and its leaves are frizzled and curled.
Batavia lettuce: This lettuce type has good resistance against warm climates compared to other types. It is crispier and has a nutty flavor.
How to Cook with Lettuce?
Lettuce is best enjoyed fresh and raw. All you have to do is wash it properly, chop, or eat it as a whole.
The most common way to cook with lettuce is to use it as a salad green.
It can be chopped and used in salads or even cooked as a side dish.
Here’s a quick refreshing salad recipe for you to try:
- Start with a base of chopped lettuce.
- Add in your favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Top with a light dressing, like vinaigrette or lemon juice.
- Serve and enjoy.
Besides salads, lettuce is also widely used as a wrap for sandwiches, burgers, and tacos.
It has become a hit among health-conscious eaters because it makes a healthy alternative to bread.
If you’re looking for a low-carb or keto option, lettuce is your best bet.
The Asians, especially Koreans, are known for their love of lettuce wraps.
They often use it as a wrapping for grilled meats, like bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) or grilled chicken.
The wraps are then dipped in a sauce before being enjoyed.
Here are some more inspirations to cook with lettuce:
- Use iceberg lettuce to make mini tacos at your next party.
- Stir-fry chopped romaine lettuce with garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce.
- Add chopped lettuce to your next soup for some extra crunch.
- Wrap grilled chicken, bacon, and avocado in red-leaf lettuce for a delicious dinner.
How to Buy Lettuce?
Lettuce is readily available year-round at most supermarkets.
However, if you want to enjoy the best and freshest lettuce, it’s best to buy them during their peak season, which is spring and early summer.
When buying lettuce, always look for crisp and brightly colored leaves.
Avoid those that are wilted or have brown spots.
Also, make sure to smell the leaves before you buy them.
If they smell rank or sour, it’s a sign that they’re past their prime, and you should look for another head.
Nowadays, you can even find lettuce online, from your trusted grocery delivery service, or even on Amazon.
But we think it’s best to buy them fresh from the store so you can see and smell them for yourself.
Once you’re home, wash the lettuce properly and let it air dry.
Then, dab them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before storing them in a freezer bag or air-tight container.
This will help to keep them crisp and fresh for up to a week.
Lettuce is a popular leafy vegetable used in varieties of dishes.
Because of its mild flavor, it blends well with any dish type.
It has different varieties that may lead to variation in taste.
Regardless, they share similar flavor profiles except for one or two varieties.
You can refer to the list above if you are confused.
There is more to it, but the common lettuce types are mentioned.
Nonetheless, it is a nutrient-packed green leafy vegetable, quite popular among health enthusiasts.
Adding this to your meal routine would be great if you plan to eat a balanced diet.