Everyone is familiar with basic romaine lettuce that’s used in caesar salads and other well-known dishes.
But did you know romaine comes in other colors?
Cimarron lettuce has everything that makes other types of romaine so popular, plus a stunning red color and added disease and bolt resistance.
Learn all about Cimarron lettuce, what makes it unique, recipe ideas, how to grow it in your own garden, and where to find it.
What Is Cimarron Lettuce?
Cimarron lettuce is an heirloom variety of romaine, sometimes also referred to as “Cimmaron” or “Cimmarron”.
This lettuce has deep red leaves, usually with a bit of green, that are 10 to 12 inches long. Instead of a compact round head or stem with looser leaves, Cimarron is tall and upright.
It has a mild, sweet flavor with a lot of crunch, making it a perfect alternative to more typical romaine.
Using Cimarron Lettuce in the Kitchen
This is such a fun vegetable to cook with because of its spectacular red color.
The most classic recipe you can try with Cimarron lettuce is a caesar salad, but with a colorful twist. Add grilled chicken and roll your salad up in a tortilla as a wrap.
Roughly chop the leaves and create a crunchy layer in sandwiches, wraps, and burgers,
Put together a convenient and satisfying snack that anyone will love. Whip up your choice of chicken, tuna, or egg salad and spoon it into whole leaves. Plate and enjoy!
Growing Cimarron Lettuce
Cimarron lettuce is a great addition to your garden.
It grows well in most zones and tolerates both heat and cooler temperatures.
You can also grow it as tender and sweet microgreens. Like other microgreens, they have anti-inflammatory properties and are great for heart and eye health.
This is a very beginner-friendly crop and low maintenance for experienced gardeners.
It has some disease resistance and does well whether you grow it in the garden, in soil and containers, or hydroponically.
Like other lettuces, this variety is an annual and will need to be replanted yearly.
Decide if you prefer to start your seeds inside with seed trays and transplant them or sow them directly into the garden. Just make sure you don’t put seeds or seedlings outside if you’re still expecting a hard frost.
Each plant will need to have enough space to grow, and they can take on a more bitter flavor if they’re planted too close to each other.
Choose a spot in full sun or partial shade. Depending on where you live, you may want to plant shade crops or add sun protection if it gets very hot.
Use well-draining soil and add fertilizer about a week before planting seeds or seedlings. Fertilize your plants again around 3 weeks later.
Seeds prefer cooler soil temperatures and less light in order to have the best chance of germinating successfully.
Drop your seeds 1/8 inch deep and lightly cover them. If you’re direct sowing in the garden, leave about a foot between each seed and row. Pat the soil down to gently pack it.
Keep the soil consistently moist, and you should start to see sprouts within 8 to 10 days.
If you want to grow microgreens, start with a tray of damp soil. Spread your Cimarron lettuce seeds across the surface of the soil, then mist them with water and cover them.
After 2 to 3 days, they should sprout. Remove the cover and put them under a grow light, watering regularly. Try not to overwater them.
A great way to have greens ready to eat at all times is to stagger starting seeds. This works with both microgreens and full heads.
If you’re transplanting your seedlings, harden them off so they have a chance to adjust to outdoor conditions.
To do this, reduce the temperature and amount of water for a few days before planting your seedlings in the garden. If done correctly, your lettuce plants will be able to survive temperatures below freezing.
As your Cimarron lettuce grows, continue to water it well. Use mulch to help keep the roots hydrated.
This variety likes to grow up from a mound of soil. Pull out any weeds that pop up as frequently as possible.
Stay vigilant and regularly check your plants for white mold, cutworms, aphids, grasshoppers, and earwigs.
If you notice any mold, you’re probably overwatering. Let the soil dry out a bit more between waterings and use a fungicide if needed.
Remove any pests you see by hand and apply a pesticide. It’s a good idea to plan your garden with nearby trap crops that will draw pests away from your more vulnerable plants.
Harvesting Your Cimarron Lettuce
After 14 to 16 days, you can start to harvest your microgreens. Taste them each day to figure out how long you prefer to let them grow.
If you let them grow for 21 days or longer, you can harvest baby greens. Pick off individual leaves to use the same day to keep them fresh.
You’ll be able to harvest full heads in 60 to 70 days after planting. Since this variety is very slow to bolt, you don’t have to worry about getting the timing just right.
For leaves you want to use right away, you can pick them off from the outside and leave the rest of the head to continue growing. You can also cut the base and leave a little bit of the stem to let a new head of lettuce grow in.
Otherwise, you can pull up the whole plant. Full heads will keep longer in the refrigerator than loose leaves.
Where to Find Cimarron Lettuce Seeds
True Leaf Market is a great place to get vegetable seeds.
Grow gorgeous heads of red lettuce, or try these seeds for tender microgreens.
Cimarron lettuce is a popular variety that’s easy to spot, but it’s not always commonly stocked at supermarkets.
Check around at the grocery stores and specialty markets in your area to see if any of them carry it or can order it for you.
If you can find local farmers to talk to, they might have this variety on their crop list.
Cimarron Lettuce Is Always a Crowd-Pleaser
You’ll be blown away by how gorgeous and tasty Cimarron lettuce is.
Whether you want to make an attractive snack platter or grow it fresh in your backyard, this is the perfect variety for everyone.
Don’t miss all the other amazing types of lettuce and head over to our Lettuce Page to learn more!