With the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak, some of you may be missing your salads. Never fear, now is a great time to branch out and try some different lettuce varieties. You never know, maybe you’ll find something you really love and break away from the boring status quo of a romaine lettuce salad. Here are several romaine lettuce alternatives readily available in most areas.
This green, also known as salad rocket, has a slightly peppery taste. It originates from the Mediterranean and is great by itself or combined with other lettuce varieties. Arugula contains vitamins A, C, K. and calcium.
As a fat-soluble retinoid, Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant. It supports healthy immune function, cell growth, and eye health, as well as maintaining kidney, lung, and heart function.
Vitamin K, or potassium, is needed to maintain healthy blood pressure, which in turn influences the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Evidence is also accumulating of the protective effect of adequate dietary potassium on age-related bone loss and reduction of kidney stones.
As the name implies, the texture of butter, or bibb, lettuce is indeed smooth. It is slightly sweet and adds a smooth texture to a mixed salad. Like arugula, a serving of butterhead has hefty doses of vitamins A and K. It also contains folate.
Folate is a B vitamin and is necessary for the synthesis of red and white blood cells, as well as the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. Folate is especially needed during pregnancy, as it is used in the production of DNA and RNA.
Green or Red Leaf
These large-leaved greens are tender, so they tend to spoil faster than some other varieties. Their ruffled texture and vivid color create an especially aesthetic salad. Similar to bibb lettuce, these looseleaf lettuce varieties also contain vitamins A, K, and folate.
Also known as lamb’s lettuce, mâche grows in lovely little rosettes of bright green leaves. These sweet, slightly nutty leaves are tender and juicy. It has a delicate flavor that pairs well with more robust greens, such as arugula or endive. Or try it alone with a light vinaigrette. In addition to vitamins A, K, and B, it also contains almost as much iron as spinach. Mâche also contains copper, which we need in trace amounts to support a healthy liver.
Considered a “power food”, the health benefits of spinach are enumerable. Among these, spinach is noted for its antibacterial, anticonvulsant, anti-diabetic, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-ulcer, and antiviral activities. It is also useful for the prevention of nervous, hepatic, and respiratory diseases. This brain food actually helps synthesize and regulate neurotransmitters in the brain, which can protect against cognitive decline.
Endive comes in a few different varieties. The most common are frisée, or curly endive, and french endive. both of these have a firm, crisp texture and add are slightly bitter. They are best paired with other greens because of the characteristic pungent flavor. Once again, we have vitamins A, K, B, and C in endive, but it also has vitamin E and choline. Choline plays a role in the synthesis of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter, as well as lecithin, which helps maintain cell membranes, transmit nerve impulses, and process fat and cholesterol.
The Possibilities are Endless
These are just a handful of the lettuce varieties available. What are your favorite healthy greens?
Love healthy vegan recipes? Come check out The Clean Slate Cleanse!