One optional item for hamburgers and cheeseburgers is lettuce, but let’s be real. Most people are going to want to have lettuce added to their burgers.
This is because it’s such a staple item, much like onions or tomatoes.
In this article, we will break down the best types of lettuce to add to your burger and how the heck you can slice it. Trying to find the best way to cut lettuce can be difficult, so trust us on this.
Best Lettuce for Burgers
One of the most common types of lettuce people buy is Iceberg. This can be because it’s so easily available and accessible.
Nutritionally, Iceberg lettuce does little for the body due in part to its high water content. It has as much as 96% water content in its DNA.
Its crispiness when you bite into it gives you that crunch you desperately want in your burger. This is where its strong point lies, and it will enhance any other spices, flavors, etc., you add to your burger.
Taste-wise, it leaves a lot to be desired because it doesn’t have a very strong taste. If you want lettuce that adds some flavor or taste to your burger, Iceberg Lettuce is not where it’s at.
Another common type of lettuce people like to buy is Romaine Lettuce. It has a lot more flavor than, say, Iceberg lettuce and offers a lot more nutritional value as well.
Specifically, it offers a lot of fiber and vitamins C and A for your body.
So now we know the benefits of Romaine Lettuce, but what about burgers? This is where I am sad to tell you that if you are going with regular, plain ol’ Romaine lettuce, it will end up soggy on your burger.
The reason for this is because of a low heat threshold when it is heated.
We aren’t saying you can’t use Romaine Lettuce on your burger. If you want to use this rich-in-flavor lettuce, you need to use what is called the romaine heart part of the lettuce.
You can find this part of the lettuce by searching for the parts that are a lighter green and almost pale yellow or white.
The lighter it is, the bigger chance it is the romaine heart.
Are you wondering what exactly butterhead tastes like? Well, the answer can be found right in the name! Butterhead lettuce has a buttery taste.
Another name it has is cabbage lettuce because it has a round shape, but trust us when we say it’s lettuce and not cabbage in a lettuce costume.
This buttery lettuce has a soft taste, so it might not give you that crunch you are looking for when you bite into it.
However, it truly does enhance the natural juices of a burger and holds up well on the burger because of its shape.
Think lettuce can’t come in purple? Well, think again because Radicchio Lettuce is here to prove you wrong.
This lettuce is a dark purple or red color that has a very bitter taste compared to some of the lettuce out there.
The most interesting part is it comes in 8 different colors, all of which have some amount of bitter flavor to them.
When Radicchio is added to a burger, it delivers an intense flavor that is a kick to your taste buds—in a good way, of course.
The bitterness has the right amount of spice to it to add to the existing flavors of the burger.
Summer Crisp lettuce is a type of lettuce that has a little of everything. It’s crisp and sweet, with not an ounce of bitterness.
Some other names Summer Crisp can go by are French Crisp or Batavia Lettuce. Whatever you want to call it, this lettuce is going to bring a large amount of nutritional value to your meal.
Choosing Summer Crisp lettuce for a burger is a great choice. It’s rich in flavor, and the best part is the crispiness stays no matter how hot it gets on the grill.
You find that it won’t get soggy like Romaine tends to get after being heated, which is always a plus.
Who doesn’t love some crisp to their lettuce?!
When you first see Green Leaf lettuce, you may think we are just talking about Romaine Lettuce under a different name.
The thing is, you couldn’t be more wrong. This type of lettuce is a type of lettuce that is the third most common type of lettuce sold to customers behind Romaine and Iceberg.
Once you put this on a burger, you’ll find that it could have either a sweet or bitter flavor depending on what part of the lettuce you use.
It’s very crisp, so you’re going to get that crunch when you bite into it. You also don’t have to worry about it getting soggy.
This type of lettuce also is very nutritious, so this should appeal to all those healthy food nuts out there.
Green Vegetable Lettuce Alternatives
If lettuce doesn’t appeal to you, then these green veggie alternatives will taste great on your burger.
They look similar to lettuce, but they aren’t lettuce!
Mizuna Lettuce is a green vegetable you probably have never heard of but need to know about. It’s from Japan and is often used in Asian cooking.
However, it is a great substitute for lettuce that comes from the mustard plant family.
It has a spicy kick to it that is on the mild side, so for those who don’t like a lot of spice, this is an option for you.
Consider trying this leafy green on a burger—you might find that you like it!
Another leafy green alternative is called Arugula, which is a part of the cabbage and mustard green family. It’s often used in salad mixes, so this is usually where you may have seen or tasted it before.
Taste-wise, Arugula has a taste that is a mixture of spice and pepper, with a little of tartness.
Throw all of this together, and you get an interesting combination. Consider the natural flavors of the burger and then think about how it will taste combined with arugula.
As the popular chef Guy Fieri says: welcome to flavor town! This combination is certainly going to bring you straight there with no detours.
One of the more popular leafy green alternatives to lettuce you have heard of or even use is Spinach.
It is originally in spinach and belongs to the amaranth family, home to beets and quinoa. Spinach is overall very healthy and good for you (hey, Popeye loves it for some reason).
Taste-wise, spinach has a robust taste and truly does blend well with the natural flavors of the burger.
It can be high in sodium, so for those who are on the lookout for that, this option probably isn’t the best for them. If this sounds like you, try looking for other options.
The last leafy green alternative to lettuce is Kale, which is probably right behind spinach in how popular it is as a lettuce substitute.
Looks wise, it looks like cabbage and is on the nutrient-rich side, so it’s great for any healthy food but looking to keep their burger as healthy as possible.
Taste-wise, it has a very earthy taste that leans on the strong side. This will only strengthen the natural flavors of the burger that are already there.
It also has high heat resistance, so it doesn’t matter how high the grill gets. This leafy green will stay crisp and not get soggy and wet like, say, Romaine Lettuce does.
How to Slice Lettuce
So, now you know the best options of lettuce or leafy green alternatives to put on your burger, but one question remains. How on earth do you even slice lettuce in the first place?
It does sometimes depend on the type of lettuce or leafy green you are using, but there is a general way to cut lettuce.
- Once you have your knife and cutting board out, place the vegetable on the board, so the stalk is facing you.
- Remove the stalk by cutting it off and then any wilted or bruised leaves you see.
- Cut the lettuce in half, and then cut those halves in half. You can keep cutting until you are satisfied with the size.
And there you have it, all your burger lovers out there. These are the best options for lettuce you can have on a burger and leafy green alternatives that are just as tasty as the lettuce options.
One of the biggest difficulties with lettuce is trying to cut it. After you’ve decided on what to put on your burger, you’re going to have to know how to cut it.
At least now, with our simple and quick guide, you’ll know how to do exactly that!
You might also be interested in the following:
- Best Tomatoes for Burgers
- Best Wine for Burgers
- Best Buns for Burgers
- Best Pickles for Burgers
- Best Sides for Burgers
- Best Ground Beef for Burgers
- Best Cheese for Burgers
- Best Onions for Burgers
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.