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