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Jul 18, 2008 10:08 AM

Why Do We Need To Use Iceburg Lettuce In Salads?


I just finished a disappointing flank steak salad. The meat and cheese (feta) were very good. But the lettuce was iceburg. Why do we need to use Iceburg lettuce EVER in a salad?! I mean what exactly does it bring to a salad except for water? I get using Iceburg for maybe some textural contrast in a BLT or a tuna salad sandwich. But in a salad, NEVER.


  1. I tend to agree. I loathe iceberg lettuce, especially when I order a meal-sized salad and half of it is iceberg. There are plenty of other leaves with more flavor and nutritional value to put in a salad other than iceberg. At least it adds some crunch to a sandwich, but even then I'd rather put cucumbers and spinach instead of iceberg.

    1. Every once in a while I enjoy a retro treat of iceberg wedge with chunky blue cheese dripping down its sides.

      1. I agree. I would much rather have a spinach salad than "mixed" greens, which all too often features a lot of iceburg.

        1 Reply
        1. re: joshlane4

          i have never once had a salad boasting mixed greens that contained iceburg.... ew.

        2. Well, in my opinion, the texture/crunch it provides, is a nice contrast to leafy greens in a salad. I like combining leafy greens/mesclun, etc or spinach, with nice fresh crispy iceburg for the contrast.
          Also, and again because of the texture and crispness, a wedge of fresh iceburg lettuce is often the perfect foil for a creamy dressing (ie ranch or blue cheese or thousand island).

          9 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              I'm sorry, what is the question about frisee?

            2. re: pescatarian

              Can you make a chopped salad without iceberg? I like chopped salads with tons of blue cheese, and they always use iceberg.

              1. re: pescatarian

                you beat me to it pesky pesca

                poor iceberg lettuce, demonized way beyond belief.

                it has a nice crunch and a good fresh green flavor and works as a fine foil for the softer darker "better" greens

                leace poor iceberg alone
                it never hurt anyone (except the titanic)

                1. re: thew

                  Me three. After years of dutifully passing up iceberg like a good little foodie, I recently decided to be a true chowhound and eat what I want, instead of what people tell me to, and started adding iceberg to my "spring mix" type greens. As pescatarian said, it adds body and crunch sadly lacking in softer greens and keeps the salad from going flat, especially if you are adding any significant amount of other veggies. The cool sweetness is a nice balance to the bitterness of some greens as well. I don't remember ever getting as enthusiastic a response to one of my salads until the first one I served that included iceberg with the other greens.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Me four for iceberg -- if it's really fresh and hasn't sat in some supermarket chilled distribution center for a couple weeks, it's sweet!

                    Iceberg's long shelf life allowed it to be shipped worldwide from the Salinas Valley and earn a bad rep.

                    1. re: Stephanie Wong

                      Count me in, too. Crunchy, refreshing and a great counterpoint to a lot of flavors and textures that work wonderfully in a salad. As mentioned above, the classic wedge wouldn't work quite the same way with romaine. It plays well with a real blue cheese dressing like few other lettuces can.

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I love a nice ice cold quarter wedge of crispy iceberg lettuce with homemade chunky blue cheese dressing. Served with a rare ribeye and a baked potato filled with butter and all the usual sides.
                      I also enjoy and old fashioned crab louie, sf style with thousand Island.
                      In addition to all the other salad greens, arugula, spinach, frisee red oakleaf, and mesclun I really appreiate the crunchy stuff, maybe its the texture and temperature that I enjoy so much, but I would surely miss it.

                  2. re: pescatarian

                    I agree. Sometimes it provides the perfect crunch, and if it is good, it has a subtle sweet flavor I enjoy.

                  3. I love iceburg lettuce - it's cool, crunchy and sweet. I don't think iceburg should be used in *every* salad, but it has its place - and I, personally, love iceburg with steak salads and blue cheese as mentioned by another poster. Lots of "mixed" green salads are less pleasing to me because the greens aren't crisp and/or are bitter.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: akq

                      Completely agree. I love when iceburg is really firm and cut into chunks and the pieces stay together. Very satisfying.