We’re never far from a salad craving here at Blue Apron. Whether we’re aiming to highlight seasonal ingredients or balance out a rich meal, a bowl of crisp greens beckons us. If you’re a salad fiend (or you want to be one), this is your moment to discover new types of lettuce. Here are a few that we love, and the salads we adore making with them. Plus, how to make any salad dressing from scratch.
9 Common Types of Salad Greens
Green Leaf or Red Leaf Lettuce
These two types of lettuce are packed with bright leafy flavor. They arrive in robust heads, and the leaves are never papery. We especially love how all the nooks and crannies of the ruffled leaves hold onto whatever delicious dressing we’ve whipped up. We love tossing green leaf lettuce with seasonal ingredients, as in this Chopped Salad with Sweet Potato, Apple, and Blue Cheese, or using them in place of bread in our Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
Arugula has a peppery bite to its lacy and delicate leaves. That edge makes it a great candidate for the simplest-ever salads–just greens and vinaigrette–and, apparently, irresistible to yuppies in the 1990s. That history aside, we love to pile the greens atop fresh pizza, just as they do in Italy.
Napa cabbage, with its crinkly leaves and elongated shape, has a milder and somewhat sweeter flavor than regular green cabbage and is a nice crunchy change of pace from your regular leafy green. It’s the main event in many Asian salads, a move we borrow in our Chopped Napa Cabbage Salad with Creamy Ginger Lime Dressing.
Bibb, Butter, or Boston Lettuce
This lettuce, which goes by any of the above B-prefaced names, has a buttery yet crisp texture. There’s a nice crunch when you bite in, followed by near melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. We love to pair Bibb/Butter/Boston with more delicate mains, like Shakshouka or Mushroom-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwiches.
Frisee & Chicory
Frisee and chicory are similar greens, both spiky and a little bitter, and, as a result, ultra nutritious. As with escarole, we like to pair these two greens with stronger, heartier ingredients. They may look delicate, but they can stand up to beef, warm goat cheese, and purple potatoes.
Escarole is a hearty green with a bitter flavor whose strong leaves stand up to any number of full-bodied ingredients, like bacon or strong cheeses. We especially adore it combined with warm ingredients, as in this Cannellini Bean & Escarole Salad with Crispy Potatoes; the crispy potatoes wilt the greens, making them even more enjoyable to eat.
The cool crunch of Romaine makes it a favorite for light, summery salads. It’s also the go-to for the traditional Caesar, since it’s a perfect contrast to the creamy, cheesy dressing. We also use the likable lettuce as the base for our Baby Vegetable Nicoise.
No lettuce list would be complete without cool, crunchy iceberg lettuce. Though it lacks the nutritional value of a red leaf or an arugula, we’d argue that it makes up for that with old-school charm. Paired with a pizza, it makes a brings in refreshing crunch. Plus, it keeps for a while in the fridge, meaning you’ll always have a vegetable on hand.
Wholesome baby spinach salads were all the rage in the first decade of the 2000s, often topped with everything from sweet fruit to crunchy nuts. Spinach has an earthy attitude and, like escarole, is particularly awesome beneath warm toppings (it almost melts beneath a steak). Anyway, there’s a reason that food trends happen, and this is one we’d like to continue, especially when we pair the green with strawberries, almonds, and a balsamic vinaigrette as in our Flank Steak with Strawberry-Spinach Salad
Now that you love these types of lettuce as much as we do, it’s time to get cooking!