The star of Caesar salad and one of the most popular of all lettuces, Romaine is versatile and has a crispy mild, sweet flavor. It is #2 lettuce type in terms of volume consumed in the U.S. and is particularly popular in restaurants. It’s crisp with a mild, sweet flavor.
As with all leafy greens, the sensory characteristics of Romaine can vary greatly based on variety, maturity, trimming of outer leaves and even what part of the leaf you are using. The ratings above are generalized but Romaine is one of the most diverse greens with endless opportunity for exploration.
Pro Tip: If you are looking to increase the amount of sweetness in your leafy greens, choose varieties that are inherently sweeter and use primarily the heart of the leaf. Outer leaves are generally more bitter and by removing them, the overall sweetness will be amplified.
Romaine delivers a 3 out of 5 for color but can range from 1-4 depending on the portion of the leafy you are viewing. For Example, the heart and ribs of the leaved tend to be more pale than the leaves and tips. Depending on how you purchase and prepare Romaine lettuce, could yield a different overall color.
Romaine delivers a 4 out of 5 for texture with the heart and ribs of the lettuce delivering the most crisp texture and the leaves radiating from more tender in the inner portion to moderate tenderness towards the outer portion of the plant.
Romaine delivers a 2 out of 5 for flavor with an even balance of Sweetness and Bitterness. This balance allows it to be used in a variety of applications with the ability to take on and complement other flavors and preparation techniques.
Romaine Lettuce Nutrition Facts
- Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin K
- Good source of folate
- Also provides lutein and zeaxanthin
- Learn more about Romaine Lettuce Nutrition.
Over 72,000 acres of romaine are planted and 1.1 million tons are harvested in California annually making it the second most produced lettuce type behind iceberg. Many different kinds of romaine are produced today and packaging is varied as well. One common offering is a consumer package containing three romaine “hearts.” For this product, heads are harvested by hand in the field using a knife. Outer leaves are removed and the heads are placed into a plastic consumer package and then into a carton. Whole bulk heads are also harvested this way, but placed directly into the carton in the field and then sold as individual heads in the store. A large volume of Romaine is also harvested for pre-packaged salads either as part of a mix or alone. For this use, the heads are harvested into bins in the field and then shipped to a processor for packaging. Baby Romaine is also something that often ends up in salad mixes. Like Spring Mix and other baby lettuces and greens, this product is mechanically harvested, or mowed, placed in totes and sent to a processing facility for packaging.
While romaine lettuce is most often consumed raw in salad, it’s possible – and even quite delicious – to cook it.
Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat romaine lettuce right now. Learn more about romaine lettuce here.
Romaine lettuce is very good for overall health. Learn what romaine does in the body here.
Both spinach and romaine lettuce are very nutritious. These leafy greens are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Learn more about romaine vs. spinach here.
It isn’t! In fact, romaine lettuce is very good for you. Learn why here.