Red Leaf Lettuce vs Green Leaf Lettuce – What’s the Difference?

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Red Leaf Lettuce VS. Green Leaf Lettuce

Have you ever asked yourself, red lettuce vs green lettuce, what’s the difference? It turns out that red and green leaf lettuce are more dissimilar than you might have believed. In this article, we will look at the main differences between green leaf lettuce and red leaf lettuce. We will also discuss which is better for you, which tastes best, why they look so different and why they should be handled differently.

red and green lettuce

What Are The Main Differences Between Red Leaf Lettuce And Green Leaf Lettuce?

The differences between green and red leaf lettuce are more substantial than you might have thought. Though closely related, they have different nutritional profiles, feel, look and taste different and most noticeably are different colors.

How Does The Nutrition Of Green And Red Lettuce Compare (h3)

All members of the lettuce family are healthy for you to eat but that doesn’t mean they are all equal in terms of nutrition. The general rule is that the darker green the lettuce leaf the healthier it is for you. 

Red lettuce is obviously darker but the operative word is ‘green’. Except for the amino acid Tryptophan, the anti-oxidant anthocyanins, and some healthy fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6, green leaf lettuce trumps red leaf in every nutritional category

Green lettuce is higher in all major vitamins including immunity building C and cancer-fighting A and K. It also delivers more fiber and higher levels of micro-nutrients than red leaf lettuce.  

lettuce variety

Red Lettuce vs Green Lettuce Taste

Green and red leaf lettuce have very similar taste profiles but do possess subtle differences. Both are considered savory vegetables that display a mild sweetness and understated nutty flavor. 

However, as red lettuce matures it has a greater tendency to develop a bitter edge that can be dominating when used in salads or for veggie wraps. This can also happen with some varieties of green leaf lettuce but to a much lesser degree. 

torn red lettuce

Green Lettuce vs Red Lettuce Texture

Green leaf lettuce and red leaf lettuce are both considered loose-leaf lettuce varieties and from a distance appear to be almost identical other than their color. On closer inspection, though you will find that green lettuce has thicker leaves with sturdier ribs. 

Red leaf lettuce tends to be frillier and more fragile. Some chefs consider red lettuce to be the most delicate of all the lettuce varieties. This is why red lettuce tends to deliver less crunch than green lettuce.

torn green lettuce

Handling Red and Green Lettuce

Green lettuce has thicker leaves with more water content than red lettuce. This helps it have a slightly longer shelf life. All varieties of leaf lettuce should be used within several days of purchase or gathering but red leaf lettuce is most prone to wilting and turning dark from oxidation. Even when stored properly with good air circulation in a moist environment it can often be lost in 1-3 days.

Never store greens in a sealed box or bag. For maximum freshness place them in an open container, in a cool area. Placing damp paper towels at the top and bottom will help them stay fresh and crisp.


Wrap Up

To sum up, green leaf lettuce and red lettuce are closely related but have several important differences. Green lettuce offers higher overall nutrition, has a longer shelf life, delivers a greater crunch, and is milder in taste. Red leaf lettuce can be more pungent, adds a lacy texture and visual excitement to dishes. Both offer high nutritional value with very few calories and are great for salad, using as wraps or puréed and added to soups.