Romaine Calm: Lettuce Varieties You Need To Know

Lettuce comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re crafting a summer salad or livening up a meat dish, choosing a complimentary lettuce variety can balance your budget and your plate. Draft the perfect green team with this guide.


This variety falls in the butterhead family, and is typically sweeter than other lettuce. Bibb lettuce is easily recognizable for its small size, making it perfect for lettuce cups! If you can’t get your hands on bibb lettuce, other varieties of butterhead make good substitutions.

  • Best For: Lettuce cups, sandwiches.


The new kid of salad greens, mâche is also known as lamb’s lettuce. Nutty yet juicy, mâche pairs particularly well with light salad dressings like vinaigrette or crisp vegetables like cucumber. When preparing mâche, always give it a thorough rinse, as the roots tend to hold excess sediment.

  • Best For: Airy, healthy salads.


Also known as crisp head lettuce, this variety is one of the most commonly consumed greens in the United States. Extremely crunchy and crisp, iceberg is a great economical choice, as it combines low-cost with a long shelf-life.

  • Best For: Salads, recipes that need large amounts of lettuce.


Rich in vitamins K and A, romaine keeps the focus on nutrition. Though originally popularized with the invention of the Caesar salad, romaine has been a long-running heavyweight in middle eastern cuisine. Look to romaine when you need a hearty, crisp lettuce that’s still strong in flavor.

  • Best For: Caesar salads, middle-eastern dishes, grilling.

Oak Leaf

Available in a multitude of colors, this popular loose-leaf variety lettuce is tender but slightly spicy. As this variety doesn’t form a compact head, it is more perishable than other varieties of lettuce. In terms of crispness, oak leaf falls in the middle-ground, which makes it a great base in salads regardless of dressing. However, only add your dressing until immediately before serving, as oak leaf wilts notoriously quickly.

  • Best For: Adding color to any salad