From Arugula to Watercress: The Ultimate Guide to Every Type of Lettuce

Oh, lettuce. It beefs up salads and adds a final healthy flourish to our plates. But honestly, it can get a little boring. So we’re making a case for putting a little more thought into your leaves. Because here’s the thing—the right kind of lettuce will turn an average salad or sandwich into something truly exceptional. Here, the ultimate guide to the most delicious varieties.

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arugula lettuce leaves in bowl
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Also known as rocket in Europe and Australia, these peppery leaves are dark green in color and delightfully peppery. With their distinctive flavor, arugula can handle tangy dressings and big flavors, so don’t be shy when pairing it with other ingredients. Arugula also makes a great addition to a sandwich or pizza when you want an extra kick.

iceberg lettuce
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Crisp and refreshing, this is the go-to lettuce if you want it to stay crunchy in the fridge for a while (hey, no judgment). Unwashed iceberg lettuce that’s stored in a plastic bag will keep two weeks in the refrigerator—twice as long as most other lettuces. Cut into wedges and drizzle with a lemony vinaigrette for a fresh appetizer or side dish.

green leaf lettuce
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Green Leaf

Spot this guy by its delicate leaves coming out of a single stalk, rather than a head (handle with care, the leaves bruise easily). With a buttery taste, this one’s great mixed with other leaves in a simple yet satisfying side salad. Top tip: Don’t dress this one until just before serving to keep the leaves crunchy.

red leaf lettuce
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Red Leaf

Just like its green cousin, but with pretty red tips that make it an excellent choice for your Insta-worthy dinner party salad.

romaine lettuce
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With long and sturdy leaves and a mild and slightly sweet flavor, Romaine is traditionally found in a classic Caesar salad. But it’s also delicious when roasted—try this one-pan salmon, potatoes and Romaine recipe and see for yourself.

endive lettuce
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Don’t be fooled by their size—these compact heads pack a lot of flavor and crunch. Serve on their own with a punchy dressing or use them as boats for tasty fillings and elegant appetizers. If you find their taste a little too bitter for your liking, try gently braising them until they’re golden to add some sweetness.

frisee lettuce
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A favorite in French bistros, this member of the endive family is slightly milder than its Belgian cousin and has curled leaves tinted with yellow and green. Its peppery flavor makes it an excellent companion to richer ingredients like bacon and egg.

watercress lettuce
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Features delicate, dark green leaves with tough stems that can be bitter. Bright and peppery with a mustard-like flavor, watercress pairs beautifully with salmon and egg.

plateful of ma 770 che lettuce
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Also known as lamb's lettuce, mâche has dark green leaves in bunches of four or five attached to one root. With a sweet and creamy flavor, we like this one served on its own and lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. In France, it’s often paired with beetroots.

radicchio lettuce
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Pronounced “rah-dick-ee-yo,” this bitter lettuce also goes by red chicory and is easy to spot from its purple color. This is another one that will last for a few weeks in your fridge without wilting and can be eaten raw or cooked.

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Alexia Dellner

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...
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