Why You Should Consider Cooking Your Lettuce

The cool, crisp, and refreshing tastes of lettuce make it ideal for sandwiches and a plate of lettuce wraps that gives P.F. Chang's a run for its money. And while it may seem that all lettuce is the same, Sow True Seed would beg to differ.

The outlet discusses the varying types of lettuce, the likes of which include the classic iceberg, butterhead, romaine, and looseleaf. Most types of lettuce work beautifully as a base for salads while others, like cress, are ideal for pesto sauces.

Lettuce, of course, also has varying flavor profiles. According to Kitchn, the wide range includes peppery, bitter, sweet, and butter-like, and certain flavors will pair well with certain dishes. For instance, if you're making a batch of savory soup, some young kale leaves might balance this out with an element of sweetness, per Honest Cooking. Or, if you have a few hamburger patties on hand, wrapping them in iceberg lettuce leaves will add some contrasting crunch to the softness of the patties, explains Kitchn.

In short, lettuce doesn't just spruce up an avocado BLT salad. It can be used in a myriad of dishes for flavor balance. And, on that note, some of those flavors (and textures) can be enhanced by way of fire, aka cooking your lettuce. As strange as this may seem, we've found a few reasons why cooked lettuce tastes supreme.

Elevate your salads and side dishes

When you think about it, cooked greens are not all that unusual. Kale is often roasted into crunchy kale chips, bok choy is delectable when stir-fried for Asian-inspired dishes, and one of the most well-known side dishes of all, sautéed spinach, consists of heated spinach that's tender and super flavorful.

So hopefully, it shouldn't be too big of a surprise that lettuce is also quite tasty when seared, grilled, stir-fried — you name it, per Kitchn. Speaking of stir-frying, stir-fried lettuce is actually a Cantonese recipe comprised of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, iceberg lettuce, and a host of other spices and seasonings, via The Woks of Life. It's refreshing, savory, and somehow retains that beloved crunch after softening in a wok.

Some types of lettuce, such as romaine or little gem, are also great for the grill. As Great British Chefs discusses, you'll get some pretty tasty charred flavors without losing the freshness of the greens. If anything else, there's also a lovely aesthetic appeal that may make your next dish of grilled chicken caesar salad stand out at a party.

Think of the above suggestions as a new, refreshing way to enjoy the bounty of greens on this planet. Cold dishes that utilize lettuce will always be around, so why not switch things up by exploring new flavors and textures within cooked lettuce?