When you think of lettuce, you’re probably envisioning the crispy, crunchy, juicy leaves of Romaine lettuce. Synonymous with salads, its starring role is in Caesar salads. Baby romaine leaves are often found in salad mixes and mesclun mixes.
You might also know it as: Cos lettuce (chiefly British), Little gem, Baby gem
Taste: slightly sweet, hint of bitter
How to buy: Opt for lettuce that is vibrant green in color and firm , upright leaves. Avoid lettuce that is droopy and yellowing.
How to eat: Its smooth, firm texture and full-bodied flavor means it’s incredibly popular in salads, whether served alone or combined with other salad greens. And it is an absolute must for any true Caesar salad. But its also superb in Nicoise salad and Chinese chicken salad.
Thanks to its firm texture it’s also great in sandwiches, burgers, in wraps and as wraps.
Romaine lettuce is excellent grilled. Simply cut lettuce hearts in half, brush with an herb vinaigrette and grill with the cut side facing downwards. Serve on its own or in a salad.
How to store: Don’t keep lettuce with or near apples, bananas or pears – these fruits are known to release ethylene gas, a ripening agent that will rapidly spoil the lettuce.
Health Benefits of Romaine Lettuce
Not only tasty, this salad green packs a pretty good health punch too.
Compared to other types of lettuce, the Romaine is the richest in beta-carotene,1 a potent antioxidant that can help prevent oxidative stress in the body by quenching free radicals and protect the skin against photo-aging, helping to reduce the risk of skin tumors.2
- Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S, et al. (2008) Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Hypertension.; 51(3):784-790.
- Dwyer JH, Navab M, Dwyer KM, et al. (2001) Oxygenated carotenoid lutein and progression of early atherosclerosis: the Los Angeles atherosclerosis study. Circulation. 19;103(24):2922-7.