Sandwiches are both versatile and delicious. They can be very simple, or they can include multiple layers of meat, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments.
Whether they’re simple or more elaborate, sandwiches often include lettuce, which provides nutrition and texture to liven up your sandwich.
But what is the best sandwich lettuce?
Iceburg lettuce is generally thought to be the best sandwich lettuce. It has a wonderful crunch, which adds texture to any sandwich. Its mild flavor also complements the sandwiches’ other ingredients without overwhelming their taste.
Still, there is no firm answer – it comes down to personal tastes and to what you seek in lettuce.
What Are Some Varieties of Sandwich Lettuces?
There are many types of lettuces, and some of the most popular for sandwiches include Iceberg, Romaine, Boston, and Butter.
Boston Lettuce is often referred to as a Butter lettuce, but, although the two are closely related, there’s a slight difference. Butter lettuce, which has a larger head, is generally deeper green and has a very soft, silky texture.
Boston, Butter, Iceberg, and Romaine lettuces are all referred to as head lettuces because their leaves form a head.
So what’s the difference, and what can each add to your sandwich?
Iceberg lettuce, which forms a very firm head, is extremely crisp and has a very, very mild flavor. If you want lettuce for the crunch, this may be your best choice.
It adds texture, but its subtle flavor won’t detract from your savory meats and cheeses. It’s particularly crunchy when it’s shredded, and its light green color makes it an attractive addition to any sandwich.
Butter lettuce and Boston lettuce produce loosely-wrapped heads, and their leaves are usually very tender. Butter lettuce, in particular, has a very soft, silky texture that, in fact, almost resembles butter.
While Boston Lettuce, tends to be more flavorful than Iceberg lettuce, its leaves are also more tender.
They blend well on a sandwich and are particularly delicious on a sandwich that includes other veggies such as mushrooms or spinach.
Romaine is also considered leaf lettuce, but its leaves grow upright so that it has a long, loaf-shaped head.
Also known as Cos lettuce, Romaine has a bolder flavor, so if you’re preparing a vegetarian sandwich, you might consider adding the bold flavor of Romaine.
Leaf lettuces, including Red Sails and Lollo Rosso, don’t form a head, and often produce curly leaves that are attractive on sandwiches. They’re very versatile and flavorful, and they also work well on vegetarian sandwiches.
If you want color, go for the red cultivars. They add a nice splash of bold color that will brighten up your weekday lunch or casual dinner.
A Splash of Color
Romaine lettuce is available in a red variety, and other red lettuces include Red Sails, Lollo Rossa Lettuce, and New Red Fire Lettuce.
Of course, you can always combine different lettuce cultivars to create your own colorful sandwich.
Nutritional Value of Lettuce
Adding lettuce is a good way to enhance your sandwich’s nutritional value because it adds vitamins and minerals.
According to WebMD, Vitamins K, A, and C are abundant in lettuce. Butterhead lettuce and Red Leaf Lettuce are particularly high in Vitamin A.
The United States Department of Agriculture also ranks lettuce as very high in Vitamin A as well as in important minerals, including potassium and phosphorus.
Lettuce is also a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
For a Low-Carb Sandwich, Wrap With Lettuce and Forget the Bread
If you’re trying to cut back on carbohydrates and calories, or you just don’t like the taste or texture of bread, you might consider wrapping your sandwich ingredients in lettuce.
The right kind of lettuce works well for binding and holding in sandwich ingredients, but you want to select your lettuce carefully.
You’ll want to use the big-leafed lettuces such as Boston lettuce or Romaine lettuce, and make sure that the leaves are crisp enough to hold the sandwich ingredients in place.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is my lettuce turning brown?
Lettuce leaves might be bruised during harvesting or shipping, or you might accidentally tear or bruise the leaves when you are unpacking it at home.
They often develop brown spots where the bruising occurs. These brown spots are harmless, but if they bother you, just cut them away.
Lettuce will also turn brown as it ages, and very cold refrigerators can hasten the process. Store the lettuce in a lettuce crisper rather than on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.
And remember that lettuce that has a few brown spots is still safe to eat!
Of course, discard lettuce that’s too discolored or which has a slimy texture.
2. I Want to Grow My Own Lettuce. What is the Best Type to Grow?
Lettuce is easy to grow, and it grows well in containers, so even if you live in an apartment, you can still grow your own lettuce in a container.
The best type to grow depends on your personal taste and on your climate. Lettuce is a cool weather crop, so you want to plant it in the early spring or in the early fall.
Romaine is more heat tolerant than most varieties and can survive some hot weather without bolting. I’ve found Red Sails to be very cold tolerant, and in a mild climate it might live all winter.
3. What Other Leafy Greens Can I Eat On a Sandwich?
Of course, lettuce can be combined with other leafy green vegetables for extra nutrition, flavor, and texture.
Spinach works particularly well on sandwiches, and it’s very nutritious. Try combing the very tender, deep green baby spinach leaves with red and green Romaine for a great variety in taste and texture.
If you want more texture and crunch, try kale. For a little spice, add mustard leaves.
Or, you can combine a variety of greens for a particularly flavorful, colorful sandwich. My favorite combinations include Red Romaine, combined with a sweet Kale such as Tuscan, and a little mustard.