Iceberg Lettuce – The Name Alone is Refreshing

by Tiffany Kail on June 21, 2013

Iceberg lettuce is the lettuce my mom always used when I was growing up and I continue using it for my family. There are lots of lettuce species you can pick up in your local market or farmer’s market, but iceberg lettuce is the most popular and the least expensive. It contains a lot of water which is good for you, but also has a blander flavor and fewer nutrients than a darker, leafier lettuce like Romaine or Green Leaf lettuce.

Preparing Iceberg Lettuce

cool off with iceberg lettuce

Cleaning and coring iceberg lettuce is quick and easy. To get the core out, hold the head of lettuce, core side down, and gently but firmly bang it on the counter top. This should break the core apart from the rest of the head; grab it and pull out. Then run the head under cold water, rinsing out all the crevices and around the outside.

Some people prefer iceberg lettuce because of its lighter flavor and crispness. It’s also a favorite because of its value in these tough economic times. Here are some great things you can do with an inexpensive head of iceberg lettuce to enhance any meal.

Burger Topping

My favorite use is to top a hamburger with a nice, crispy leaf of iceberg lettuce. This gives the burger some extra texture, color and flavor. After washing the lettuce, I tear off nice size leaves and dab them with a paper towel so my buns won’t get soggy.

Tossed Salads

Of course when talking about lettuce, we all think of salad. Iceberg lettuce is a great for a traditional tossed salad. After washing and coring as recommended above, chop or tear the head into a large salad bowl. Chop your favorite raw veggies and toss. Some suggestions are: tomato, onion, green pepper, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots. Serve in individual bowls and top with your favorite dressing, croutons, bacon bits or other salad toppings. Serve as a side dish, or appetizer, or as an entrée.

Main Dish Salads

Speaking of using salad as an entrée, this is a great way to have a low calorie, highly nutritious meal for lunch or dinner. Just add some grilled chicken or steak, cut into strips, and place atop the salad before adding any other toppings. I like mine with just dressing; I try to choose a vinaigrette or balsamic to keep the calories and fat down.

In Place of Bread

For a healthy and tasty twist, use two nice size leaves for a sandwich instead of bread. Simply place your favorite sandwich meat, a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato between two iceberg lettuce leaves for a tasty, crunchy and healthy meal. Tuna works and tastes great too lying between two crisp leaves. Try an “open face” sandwich using a leaf or two of crispy iceberg lettuce as the base. Layer your favorite lunch meat, cheese, tomato, cucumber, peppers, etc. and enjoy with a fork.

Garnish or Decoration

A couple of iceberg lettuce leaves placed as a base under any meat or rice makes a lovely dish to serve as well. And since iceberg lettuce is inexpensive, it’s great to use as a decoration for just about any meal. Other ideas for using iceberg lettuce as a decoration are to place it under a scoop of chicken salad for a healthy lunch or place it under a bed of couscous as a side dish.

There are many uses for iceberg lettuce, go grab a head of crispy iceberg lettuce and let your creative juices flow.

photo credit: arbyreed

About the author...

 is a personal trainer, certified yoga instructor, and certified health coach, and most importantly, a mom. She's a proponent of the clean eating approach because it's a complete lifestyle solution and she's seen her clients thrive on it more than any other healthy eating plan.

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