What Is Butter Lettuce? A Quick Guide

If you’ve seen it in recipes or in stores, you may be wondering: what is butter lettuce?

Basically, it’s a Mediterranean lettuce with soft, buttery leaves. Easy, huh?

If you want something different for your salads and wraps, you should definitely consider butter lettuce on iceberg or romaine.

It adds an unexpected pop of flavor and texture, and it’s just a nice change from the usual greens.

Still not sure? Keep reading!

In this article I will tell you all about what it is, discuss the different varieties, its health benefits and how to prepare, store and use it.

What is butter lettuce?

Butter lettuce is a type of lettuce native to the Mediterranean. Also known as head lettuce, it features round heads of loose, tender, soft, bright green leaves. The plant gets its name from its soft, buttery texture and mild, delicate flavor.

Some varieties are more reddish-purple or a combination of purple and green. And it’s available in most stores as a head with roots attached.

Keeping the roots in place prevents the delicate leaves from wilting.

What does butter lettuce taste like?

As I mentioned, butter lettuce gets its name from its creamy texture, not its taste. (i.e. it doesn’t taste like butter.)

Butter lettuce has a mild, almost sweet flavor, although it is neither sweet nor fruity. Instead, it is a sweeter type of lettuce with light floral notes that pairs exceptionally well with fruit and nut summer salads. It also pairs perfectly with aged and aged cheeses.

Butter Lettuce Varieties

There are two varieties of butter lettuce: Bibb and Boston .

Some add Chalk Lettuce to the tally, but that’s just another name for Bibb lettuce.

Both varieties share the same silky, smooth texture, but they are slightly different:

  • Boston lettuce looks more like a flower. Although green, the head of lettuce is shaped like a flower in full bloom.
  • Bibb lettuce has a more restrained appearance. She is smaller, for one thing, and the shape of the head is also different. As a result, it looks less like a flower and more like a small cup.

Of the two, Bibb lettuce is the most widely sold in the United States.

Health Benefits

Once you try butter lettuce and feel how soft and creamy it is, that’s all you’ll need to get hooked.

You will now look for it in every product section you visit!

But if you’re not yet convinced, let’s look at some health benefits it can provide.

  • First, like all lettuce, butter lettuce is a fat-free, low-calorie food. You can eat a ton without worrying about it ruining your diet.
  • It also has no cholesterol or sodium and very few carbohydrates per serving. This also makes it a good choice for heart and keto diets.
  • Plus, butter lettuce is about 95% water! This helps keep you hydrated and fuller for longer. The high water content also aids weight loss efforts and digestion.
  • Finally, it is a good source of fiber, vitamins A and K and folate. It also contains all of the following:
    • Vitamin C
    • Manganese
    • Potassium
    • Iron
    • Various antioxidants

It can even help the body absorb iron better and improve eyesight!

I wouldn’t call it the new miracle vegetable or anything, but it’s definitely on the good side of health.

How to Prepare and Store Butter Lettuce

The main consideration when storing butter lettuce is whether its roots are attached. If so, storage is much simpler.

Whole lettuce:

All you’ll need to do is place the whole (still intact) head of lettuce in a plastic bag. (If it comes in a plastic bag, leave it in.)

As long as the roots are moist, the leaves should stay fresh.

Simply place the head of lettuce in the refrigerator and it should last 1-2 weeks.

Cut lettuce:

Storage is slightly different if the roots are gone or if you’ve already cut the lettuce.

Start by washing the leaves. Then dry them and wrap them in absorbent paper.

Place the leaves wrapped in paper towels in a plastic bag and seal it. Then place the bag in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

Make sure to place the lettuce near the front and middle of the refrigerator. This should keep it from wilting too quickly.

How to Cut Butter Lettuce:

Now let’s talk about how to cut butter lettuce when you’re ready to use it.

Start by washing the lettuce if you haven’t already. Then follow these steps to prepare it:

  1. Place lettuce leaves on a cutting board or other flat surface with the stem facing you.
  2. Hold the knife at an angle and insert it into the lettuce near the stem.
  3. Make the initial cut, then turn the lettuce over to cut a complete circle around the stem.
  4. Remove and discard the stem.
  5. Remove the leaves from the head of lettuce.
  6. Arrange the leaves in small piles and cut them into strips.

Then use the lettuce however you want!

How to Use Butter Lettuce in Recipes

There are several ways to use butter lettuce in recipes.

Salads are of course the most obvious. But that’s not all God does for this little wonder.

Here are some great ways to use butter lettuce:

  • In a sandwich or wrap
  • As a wrap for a low-carb substitute
  • In hamburgers, tacos and spring rolls
  • As lettuce cups

In short, you can use butter lettuce in any recipe that calls for lettuce.

It also makes a good substitute for cabbage in most recipes, especially those that use raw cabbage.

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