We ship all sorts of warm-weather lettuces, and sometimes they can look pretty similar (looking at you, green leaf and escarole). Learn how to tell them apart and some new ways of prepping them beyond salads.
Compared to other varieties of chicories, escarole is only mildly bitter and delicious when used in salads. That’s not to say it’s not substantial enough for cooking—we love it in Italian bean soup.
This intricately textured and crunchy green can actually be used two ways: the more tender inner leaves work well raw in salads and the hardy outer leaves sautéed with lemon and garlic.
Don’t be fooled by its purple leaves. Radicchio is more than just a pop of color on your plate, its bitter leaves are a great way to add sharpness to recipes. Try it roasted with balsamic vinegar.
This versatile green closely resembles escarole, but with slightly greener leaves. You’ve probably had it in salads, but it also holds up well when marinated with balsamic vinegar and grilled.
The go-to for the classic Caesar salad, it has a crunchiness similar to iceberg lettuce but with a slightly bitter bite that makes it ideal for creamy dressings. Pro tip: the inner hearts are great for cooking, too.
This crisp, refreshing lettuce is one of the most popular in the U.S. It comes in a globe-shaped head in shades of light to dark green. Try it in a wedge salad or shredded on tacos and sandwiches.
The peppery, almost spicy bite of arugula gives this green its unique taste. We love to use it as a pizza topping, tossed into pasta, or even blended into a pesto with some Parm, nuts, and olive oil.
Red leaf is similar to its green sibling, but with a red hue, and can be used the same way. The leaves are a bit more delicate than green leaf, so use it first since it will wilt quicker.
Speaking of the inner hearts, romaine hearts are the densely packed inner leaves of the leafy romaine. Slice in half lengthwise and throw them on the grill or caramelize them in a cast iron pan—they can take the heat—with fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Delicious both raw and cooked, spinach is versatile and nutrient rich. Its herbaceous leaves pair well with sweet and savory ingredients like dried cranberries, blue cheese, and mustard vinaigrette.
Endive’s crunchy, bitter leaves grow in a variety of colors from yellowish green to deep burgundy. It’s great for “lettuce” wraps or pan-seared to a crispy finish with lemon and olive oil.