Spinach vs. Butter Lettuce – What’s the Difference? (ANSWERED)

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spinach vs butter lettuce

Butter Lettuce is all the rage, but have you wondered how it stacks up against other leafy greens. In this article, we will look at Spinach vs. Butter Lettuce to see how they compare.

Here we will explore,

  • What’s the difference between spinach and Butter Lettuce?
  • Taste differences between Butter Lettuce and spinach
  • How spinach and Butter Lettuce compare nutritionally.
  • Is Spinach healthier than butter lettuce?

What’s the Difference Between Spinach and Butter Lettuce?

butter lettuce origin

Butter Lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) are two completely different plants from different parts of the world. Spinach, also called Persian green, is native to Western and Central Asia, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Butter lettuce, also referred to as Bibb or Boston Lettuce, originates in the Mediterranean regions of Europe.

Appearance and Cultivation

butter lettuce flower

Spinach has smooth, oval, or triangular dark green leaves that can vary from 1 to 12 inches in size depending on the age at the time of harvest. Butter Lettuce has smooth-sided leaves that can range in color from bright green to a deep reddish-purple hue.

Spinach leaves grow in an alternating pattern along flowering stems that originate from a common root point. Butter Lettuce leaves grow in a loose rosette that looks much like a large flower. 

Both spinach and Butter Lettuce are cool weather plants that don’t fare well in hot weather. Prime growing conditions would be temperatures that fall in the 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit range. When temps are below 60, both enjoy direct sunlight but prefer filtered light in warmer environments.

Butter Lettuce well quickly bolt and go to seed, if it gets too much sun in warmer weather, while spinach will simply wilt.

Butter Lettuce and Spinach should be grown in well-draining, nitrogen-rich soil with a neutral pH for optimum production.

Uses

butter lettuce raw

Spinach is highly versatile for a green and can be eaten raw, dried, or cooked. It is equally at home steamed as a side dish, added to a smoothie, eaten fresh, or used in soups and sandwiches. 

Butter Lettuce is less versatile but still delicious in its own right. Normally its use is reserved for light salads, sandwiches, or wraps, and it really is at its best eaten raw. Occasionally it will be served wilted as a side dish. Wilting in hot olive oil further accentuates its sweetness. 

Nutrition

Per 100g Spinach Butter Lettuce
Calories 23 (1%DV) 12 (1% DV)
Fat 0.4g 0g
Carbohydrates 3.6g 2.4g
Protein 2.9g1.2 g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Fiber 2.2g 1.2g
Sugar 0.4g 1.2g
Iron 2.7mg 1.3mg
Vitamin A 469μg 0μg
Vitamin C 28.1mg 4.2mg
Vitamin B1 0.1mg 0mg
Vitamin B2 0.2mg 0mg
Vitamin B5 0.1mg 0mg
Vitamin B12 0 0
Biotin 0 0
Folate 194μg 29μg
Vitamin E 2mg 0.2mg
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin K 482.9μg 0g
Vitamin K1 0 0

Though Butter Lettuce does have a few things in its favor, nutritionally spinach wins hands. down, 

Butter Lettuce’s nutritional advantages include being higher in gamma-tocopherol and pantothenic acid while lower in sucrose and saturated fats.

Spinach, on the other hand, provides more:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese 
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Amino Acids

There is really little comparison between spinach and Butter Lettuce nutritionally.

Taste Differences Between Butter Lettuce and Spinach

butter lettuce name

Butter Lettuce does not taste like butter. It gets its name for the creamy texture that its leaves have. It is one of the few greens that simply melt in your mouth. On the tongue, Butter Lettuce has a gentle floral note and subtle sweetness that pairs well with light vinaigrettes and citrus-based dressings.

The taste of spinach is also generally sweet but much more robust. Spinach has an earthy element to its flavor that helps it stand up to heavier ingredients without being lost. Larger spinach leaves can develop a bitter edge, but many people actually enjoy the tang that older spinach can add to soups and smoothies.  

Is Spinach Healthier Than Butter Lettuce?

Without a doubt, spinach is healthier than Butter Lettuce. While Butter Lettuce is far from being unhealthy, it cannot compare to the nutrition and health benefits that spinach offers

Spinach has been shown to:

  • Lower blood pressure due to being high in potassium. 
  • Protect against age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts by providing the antioxidant lutein.
  • Improve cognitive abilities, including memory, verbal fluency, processing speed, and reasoning ability.
  • Aid in bone development and bone density retention.
  • Help assure healthy blood and skin. 

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