Skip to Content

7 Substitutes for Little Gem Lettuce: Freshen Up Your Salads

Ever find yourself staring at your salad bowl, thinking it needs a shake-up? We’ve all been there.

Lucky for us, Little Gem lettuce isn’t the only green in town. We’re about to introduce you to seven fantastic buddies that can step in and spice up your salads.

Yes, you read that right. Seven fresh, crunchy alternatives that’ll make you forget why you even started with Little Gem in the first place. Now, we’re not knocking on Little Gem—it’s a classic, after all.

But variety is the spice of life, or so they say. And we’re here to bring the spice.

Through trial and error (and a few accidental kitchen mishaps), we’ve discovered these gems. Sharing them feels like passing on a secret. A salad secret, if you will.

Get ready to transform your greens game.

7 Easy Substitutes for Little Gem Lettuce

In this section, we’ll introduce each substitute and give you some ideas on how to use it. But feel free to let your creativity run wild!

Lettuce TypeTasteTextureSuitable Dishes
RomaineMild, slightly bitterCrisp, crunchyGrilled Caesar salad, wraps, sandwiches
Butter LettuceSweet, butterySoft, tenderSalads, sandwiches, lettuce wraps
IcebergMild, subtleCrisp, wateryWedge salads, tacos, burgers
ArugulaPeppery, slightly bitterDelicate, tenderSalads, pasta dishes, pizza
SpinachMild, slightly earthySoft, tenderSalads, smoothies, cooked dishes
KaleEarthy, slightly bitterTough, chewySalads, soups, smoothies
WatercressPeppery, slightly bitterCrisp, delicateSalads, sandwiches, garnish

1 – Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce steps up as a fabulous swap for Little Gem. We found its long, crunchy leaves perfect for a big, leafy salad. Its taste is mild, yet distinctly fresh.

It blends well in any salad mix, giving that satisfying crunch we all crave. Romaine survives dressing longer, keeping your salad perky. Personal experience? It’s our go-to for a last-minute dinner salad.

For every cup of Little Gem, use about a cup of chopped Romaine. This one’s a breeze to swap.

Ever tried making a Caesar salad with Romaine instead? Absolute game-changer. Check out other ways to mix it up with Romaine here.

2 – Butter Lettuce

Butter Lettuce makes salads fun again. Seriously. This leaf is all smooth edges and soft texture. We can’t get enough of it. Each leaf wraps up goodies in a salad like a hug.

It pairs with any dressing, sliding into your salad recipe without a fuss. We swap one cup of Little Gem for a similar amount of Butter. It’s that easy.

Had it in a wrap once; transformed the meal. No joke.

For those who like mixing things up, check out different ways to use Butter in meals right here.

3 – Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce brings the crunch like no other. Its crispy texture makes every bite memorable. We throw it into salads for that extra crisp. And it’s not just about the texture. This green comes with a cool, mild flavor. It’s the silent hero of the salad bowl, integrating seamlessly.

We often swap a cup of Little Gem for a cup of Iceberg. It fits perfectly. Our salads turn out just as full and fresh. And here’s a tip from us: try it in a wedge salad. The combo of blue cheese and bacon? Unbeatable.

For more on swapping your greens, check out iceberg lettuce substitutes.

4 – Arugula

Arugula steps in with its peppery zing. Each leaf adds a bold flavor unlike any other green. We toss it into mixes for that sharp twist. It shakes up any salad bowl.

You need less Arugula to make an impact. For every cup of Little Gem, try three-quarters of a cup of Arugula. It makes salads lively.

We once threw it into a pasta salad. The outcome surprised us. A simple switch can truly refresh a dish.

Arugula proves itself as more than just a leaf; it brings personality. See how to mix Arugula into your meals and find more greens that change the game here.

5 – Spinach

Spinach jumps into salads with guts. It’s green, leafy, and versatile. We throw it into the bowl and it fits right in. Not just a filler, it brings its own game.

Easy to chop, mix, or leave whole. Spinach likes any dressing we pick. In goes a cup to swap out a cup of Little Gem.

It’s been our go-to for a quick, fresh twist. Our sandwiches never saw it coming. Spinach turns the ordinary into extra.

Find out how spinach can refresh your salads and more here.

6 – Kale

Kale steps in as a sturdy green, ready to mix up salad scenes. Its leaves bring a crisp texture to any dish. We find it easy to tear into bite-sized pieces, blending into salads effortlessly. Kale requires a bit of massage to soften, making it a fun prep step.

We usually swap one cup of Little Gem for three-quarters cup of Kale. The swap is simple. Kale’s robust nature makes it a go-to for adding body to our bowls.

In our trials, Kale proved its worth beyond salads. Throwing it into smoothies or as a pizza topping added an unexpected twist. Check out more on incorporating Kale into your meals here.

7 – Watercress

Watercress steps in with a peppery snap, sending vibes of freshness through every bite. This green jazzes up salads unlike any other. We toss it in and boom, dishes sing. Its vibrant leaves light up the plate, making meals pop with color.

Watercress doesn’t just sit there; it elevates. We’ve thrown it into sandwiches and the result? A surprise hit. It’s a game changer for sure. With Watercress, a little goes a long way. Swap a cup of Little Gem with three-quarters cup of Watercress. You won’t regret it.

It’s perfect for those looking to add a zesty punch without the fuss. Sprinkle it into soups, and bam, a flavor lift. For recipes and how to make your dishes stand out with Watercress, slide over to this page on spicing up your meals with Watercress.