Not all salad leaves are created equal!
As you’ll probably agree, there’s nothing like a fresh salad to start or accompany a meal. And with a bit of creativity and a few additions, they can be a light dish all on their own.
Each has its own flavour and texture, and with so many varieties to choose from, salad will never be boring.
Today we look at 15 different types of salad leaves that we supply to highlight their characteristics and flavour profiles to perhaps inspire you to try something new.
15 Types of Salad Leaves
Also known as frisée, the curly, spiky leaves range from yellow-white to dark green with a full, bushy appearance.
It has a bitter, peppery flavour and a robust texture, meaning it can stand up to other ingredients well.
It also won’t wilt when served with hot foods.
One of the prettiest members of the chicory family, Castelfranco has pale yellow leaves, dotted with spots and veins varying in colour from burgundy-red to pale-violet.
The flavour profile is similar to radicchio and endive, which are also types of Chicory.
It has a mild, bitter flavour with sweet undertones and can be eaten raw or cooked.
With its dark reddish-purple leaves and white veins, radicchio is a traditional ingredient in the Mediterranean diet.
Also known as Italian chicory, it’s often referred to as a lettuce, though it’s actually chicory or endive.
It has a crispy, bitter and spicy flavour and is great for adding colour to a mixed leaf salad or served as antipasti griddled and then tossed in olive oil.
Rocket is a very ‘English’ leaf and has been used in salads since Elizabethan times.
Also known as rucola, arugula or Roquette, this aromatic leaf with a zesty, peppery taste can brighten up a salad, top a pizza, make a pesto, make hummus or be added to pasta, soups and stews.
This versatile salad leaf is also high in vitamins A, C & K and is a good source of folic acid and minerals.
With its loose heads of finely frilled leaves and colourful crimson edges, Lollo Rosso is classic Italian lettuce.
It has a sweet, slightly bitter and nutty flavour and is a colourful addition to summer salads.
Romaine or Cos Lettuce
With long slender leaves and a mild and slightly sweet taste, it’s best used in salads thanks to its incredibly crunchy, crispy texture, which adds plenty of freshness.
It’s probably best known for its inclusion in a classic Ceaser salad.
The leaves are crisp, succulent and crunchy with a mild, slightly bitter taste and as well as raw in salads, it can also be used in stir-fries and is excellent in sandwiches.
With a striking rich red colour and beautiful notched leaves, oakleaf lettuce has a buttery texture.
The flavour is an incredibly mellow, nutty and sweet flavour.
In fact, it’s known for its sweetness.
A cross between the Romaine and butterhead lettuce types, the little gem has succulent looking green leaves.
These surround its centre commonly referred to as the “heart” which is pale green in colour.
It has a mild flavour and crispy texture with the typical Romaine crunch.
Sweeter than many lettuce types.
Mix Baby Leaf
Ok, not technically a particular salad leaf, however, still worth mentioning as one of our best sellers.
This baby leaf salad is a mixture of mild and tender baby leaves with both green and red in colour, including rocket, spinach, lollo rosso, lollo bionda, endive and others.
Washed and ready to use.
One of the most common salad leaves used in cooking is spinach.
With a sweet, nutty flavour and tender texture, it wilts beautifully.
Used to add flavour and colour to all sorts of dishes.
The most important thing to remember with spinach is that it needs hardly any cooking at all! It’s also great raw, naturally!
As the name suggests, Lollo Bionda is closely related to Lollo Rosso.
It has the same slightly bitter and nutty flavour only with green leaves.
As with it’s red counterpart, it has loose heads of finely frilled leaves.
Native to northern Italy and a member of the chicory family, treviso is a mild variety of radicchio.
It has a mildly bitter peppery flavour and is used to add a wonderful depth of flavour to everything from salads to bakes and braises.
It has long, compact, dark purple or maroon leaves with thick, bright-white veins.
Butterhead or Bibb Lettuce
As the name implies, the texture of butter lettuce is indeed smooth like butter.
Its leaves have a crumpled look that resembles flower petals and is usually deep green.
Red varieties also exist.
Broad Leaf Endive – Escarole
A member of the chicory family, this leafy green has a mildly bitter and crisp flavour.
It has wide, green leaves with slightly jagged, crumpled edges that cluster into a rosette.
Tardivo radicchio has long and curled leaf ‘fingers’ that are burgundy and white in
They have a crisp, strong and bitter flavour.
Can be eaten raw or cooked – great when grilled or roasted with olive oil and garlic.
We hold a daily stock of most salad leaves so please talk to your account manager about pricing and ordering or get in touch to arrange a meeting with one of our Account Managers.