Iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce might look and sound like they are similar products, but they are different plants. It’s important to learn the differences between the two, so you know what recipes are better with which type of lettuce.
7 Differences Between Iceberg and Romain Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is a round lettuce, meaning the leaves grow on top of one another, creating a round shape. Romain lettuce grows more loosely, with each leaf growing separately, making a more spread-out plant without a specific shape.
Iceberg lettuce is light or pale green, while the color of romaine lettuce can vary. Romain lettuce is usually dark green, but purple or red varieties are also available.
3. Water Content
The reason iceberg lettuce is so light in color is because of its high level of water content. Romaine lettuce is darker because it holds less water in the leaves.
4. Nutritional Value
Both iceberg and romaine lettuce are a nutritional addition to any meal; however, because of its high water content, iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients than romaine lettuce. Those looking to get as many vitamins and minerals as possible should choose romaine lettuce.
5. Caloric Content
While iceberg lettuce may have less nutritional value than romaine lettuce due to its water content, it also has fewer calories, making it an excellent option for those trying to monitor their caloric intake.
Due to the high water content in iceberg lettuce, it doesn’t have a strong flavor and is crisper and lighter than anything else. Romain lettuce, on the other hand, has more of a bitter flavor, meaning it can change the taste of recipes.
Iceberg has a softer and more tender texture than romaine lettuce, making it easy to bend or stuff. Romaine lettuce is more rigid and thicker, allowing it to hold its shape in more situations than iceberg lettuce.
Can You Use Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce Interchangeably?
For the most part, iceberg and romaine lettuce can be used interchangeably. There are a few recipes, though, where one is better than the other.
For tacos or to add to a sandwich or wrap, iceberg lettuce is often preferred, as it adds a crunch and comes in easy-to-use shreds. If you are trying to use lettuce to replace bread, such as when you make a lettuce wrap or bun-less burger, romaine is preferred because of its large and sturdy leaves.
Additionally, romaine lettuce gets soggy less quickly than iceberg lettuce, making it ideal for tossed salads (like Caesar salad) or when you want to make a warm salad on the grill.