Cabbage vs Lettuce – The Differences

cabbage vs lettuce

Both cabbage and lettuce are leafy greens that are famous for their health benefits and are widely used in dishes and salads. However, people often ask about cabbage vs lettuce, which is better or if one can be replaced by another.

All vegetables are Nutritious and healthy and it’s not wise to say that one can replace another in terms of “existence” but yeah you can sometimes use one when another is not available. Both cabbage and lettuce can be replaced in a cuisine but they are widely different in terms of taste, nutritional profile and health benefits.

Let’s see how they are different from one another.

Cabbage Vs Lettuce

Nutritional Profile

Cabbage is rich in Vitamins like Vitamin C, K and B6 and minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Like all green veggies, it’s also loaded with fibre that is good for gut health. Cabbage is also filled with antioxidants that keep our body cells young and healthy and reduce inflammation. Moreover, we know all veggies are less in calories and cabbage has 25 calories per 100 grams so they are good for weight loss too.

Lettuce on the other hand offers us Vitamin A, K and C. However some folate and B6 are also present. It has a relatively smaller amount of iron, potassium and calcium as compared to cabbage. The antioxidants present in lettuce are Beta-carotene and lutein that is good for eye health. Also, the calories in lettuce are less than cabbage i.e. 15 calories per 100 gram.  

Here is a side-by-side nutritional comparison for your better understanding.

Macronutrients (Per 100g)

Nutrient Cabbage Lettuce
Calories 25 15
Protein 1.3g 1.4g
Carbohydrates 5.8g 2.9g
Fibre 2.5g 1.2g
Fat 0.1g 0.2g

Vitamins and Minerals

Nutrient Cabbage Lettuce
Vitamin A 98 IU 7405 IU
Vitamin C 36.6mg 9.2mg
Vitamin K 76mcg 102mcg
Folate 43mcg 38mcg
Calcium 40mg 36mg
Potassium 170mg 194mg

cabbage and lettuce

Cabbage Vs Lettuce Flavour Profiles

The taste of cabbage changes as you prepare it differently. For example, boiled cabbage has a milder taste than crispy fresh cabbage. Usually, it has a crunchy texture when it is fresh and softens when it is boiled or cooked. In terms of taste, it is slightly peppery and bitter.

Lettuce, on the other hand, has a mild and sweet flavour even in its raw form. The texture is usually buttery and tender.

Types and Varieties

Both veggies have multiple varieties and are used for different culinary purposes.

For example, purple cabbage is suitable for salads as it adds colour to salads with the same taste and nutrition as green cabbage. The most commonly used cabbage is green which we see and use quite often in our dishes. There is savoy cabbage that is best used in soups and has crinkled dark green leaves. Then Napa cabbage with elongated leaves is used in Asian cuisines.

The common variety of lettuce is iceberg lettuce which is used in sandwiches and salads. Then Romaine Lettuce is used in ceaser salads and has a slightly bitter taste. Butterhead lettuce has soft and buttery leaves. Then red and green leaf lettuce are flavourful and tender.

Cabbage Vs Lettuce Uses in Food

Both cabbage and lettuce are used in different foods and have different taste profiles.
cabbage is used in salads and coleslaw and you can also boil, stir fry, saute or steam cabbage leaves to use them in soups, rolls, and side veggies. You can also ferment Cabbage leaves to make Kimchi and Sauerkraut.

Lettuce has a different taste profile and is used in salads as a fresh add-on in burgers and tacos. It is also used as a layer in sandwiches and wraps to add crisp and freshness.

Cabbage Vs Lettuce Health Benefits

Both veggies are very healthy in their ways.
Cabbage is good for gut health and aids in bowel movements. The antioxidants in cabbage are good for heart health and it also protects against cancer. Cabbage also has compounds like sulforaphane that have anti-inflammatory effects.
Lettuce has a high water content and is very good for hydration. It is good for vision and eye health. Lettuce also provides vitamin K which is good for bone health and prevents osteoporosis. lettuce is a comparatively better choice for weight loss management.

leafy greens

Lettuce Or Cabbage, Which Is Easy To Grow And Store?

Cabbage grows best in the spring season. It requires full sun and well-drained soil. Lettuce on the other hand can be grown in spring and fall and requires full regular watering.
You can store cabbage for relatively longer periods. Lettuce on the other hand is used fresh. You can store cabbage for up to several weeks whereas lettuce stays fresh for only up to one week. That too if it is stored well and airtight in a refrigerator.

Some Tips

For cabbage, look for firm, heavy heads with crisp leaves. Avoid wilted or discoloured leaves. When buying lettuce choose heads with fresh, crisp leaves. Avoid those with brown spots or signs of wilting.
To store the cabbage, first remove its outer leaves and wash well. Then store it in a refrigerator in a plastic bag. Lettuce has usually a lot of soil and dirt on it so wash it well under water and then dry it before storing it in a plastic bag in a refrigerator. For better taste use lettuce fresh and raw.

In Short

In the cabbage vs lettuce debate, both cabbage and lettuce are very healthy and nutritious vegetables. However, they are not the same at all. Their texture, taste and nutritional profile are entirely different.

Using one in place of another will change the whole ingredient of the dish affecting its flavour and overall taste of the dish. For example, you may use lettuce in soup instead of cabbage but know that they are different vegetables and they have different tastes. Still, if you don’t have one available, switch to another to save the day.

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