Lollo Rosso lettuce, sometimes called Lollo Rossa or red coral lettuce, is a beautiful red leaf variety that is sure to make a grand addition to your diet. Not only does this lettuce offer a unique flavor, but the brilliant color also brings a special flair to your table.
With so many things to appreciate about this variety, keep reading to find out all you need to know about Lollo Rosso lettuce!
History of Lollo Rosso Lettuce
The exact origins of the Lollo Rosso lettuce are unknown, but it is widely believed that this variety developed from the wild Lactuca serriola species, which is native to Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe.
This variety was likely popularized by its widespread growth in Italy, although it was initially cultivated in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians believed Lollo Rosso lettuce to be an aphrodisiac and also included this plant in many medicinal blends.
Lollo Rosso lettuce is a red loose-leaf variety that showcases an abundance of frilly leaves. At its edges, the leaves show off a purplish red color and have a lighter green tint at the base. The leaves grow to about six to eight inches on average. Lollo Rosso lettuce is a cut-and-come-again plant, meaning that it will continue to grow even as you harvest the leaves.
Eating Lollo Rosso Lettuce
Adding Little Rosso lettuce to your kitchen is sure to be a fun way to spice up your meals. This lettuce is best when eaten raw and is great for adding color to salads, giving a crisp flavor to sandwiches, and acting as a vibrant garnish for dinner plates.
Lollo Rosso lettuce has a mild nutty flavor and a slightly bitter taste. This variety pairs exceptionally well with pomegranate seeds, fennel, cherry tomatoes, gorgonzola, radishes, lemons, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and more!
To properly store Lollo Rosso lettuce, put the leaves in a sealed bag and place them in the fridge. This variety does not have a long shelf life, and the quality will start to decrease after about three to four days. Always check the freshness of your lettuce before you eat it!
The best way to enjoy Lollo Rosso lettuce is by experimenting with different types of salad. For some inspiration on fun ways to mix things up, check out these recipes below!
- Greek Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Red Leaf Salad with Roasted Beets, Oranges, and Walnuts
- Roasted Carrots and Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with Buttermilk Herb Dressing
The benefits of adding Lollo Rosso lettuce to your kitchen go beyond flavor and color – this variety of lettuce is a low-calorie option that contains folate, fiber, iron, and a high level of antioxidants.
This variety also has high levels of Vitamins A and C, which are great for improving vision and strengthening your immune system!
Growing at Home
Adding Lollo Rosso lettuce to your garden is the perfect way to ensure a steady supply of this delicious vegetable. The cut-and-come-again nature of this variety is perfect for gardeners who want to continuously enjoy fresh lettuce for months on end! This variety is also slow to bolt, making it a great low-maintenance option.
Lollo Rosso lettuce is not a fussy vegetable and can either be planted indoors or directly into the ground. The ideal temperature for sowing Lollo Rosso seeds outside is when the soil has reached at least 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you prefer to sow your seeds indoors first, make sure to plant your lettuce about three to four weeks before moving your plant outside. Outdoor temperatures should be between 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to maximize growth.
When planting your lettuce, make sure to space the seeds about six inches apart with at least eight inches of space in between rows. Overcrowding can cause the lettuce to develop an unwanted bitter taste. Seeds should be sown about 1/4 inch deep. Seeds will start to germinate within 7 to 14 days.
Although Lollo Rosso lettuce is a frost-hardy variety, full sun is needed to thrive in cooler climates. In hotter climates, however, this variety can actually benefit from having only partial sun. The shade will give the lettuce a chance to rest from the excessive heat – which can speed up the process of bolting.
Soil and Watering Needs
Moist, well-draining soil is best for lettuce plants. With a naturally weaker root system, ensuring that the soil is fertile is a good way to help the roots establish. Due to the high water content of lettuce, it’s important to give your plants the appropriate amount of moisture to help them thrive.
Once established, moderate watering a few times a week should be enough to keep your lettuce happy!
The cut-and-come-again nature of this variety is great for being able to control the size of your lettuce leaves. Wait until the leaves are at least three inches long, and then harvest once they’ve reached your desired size.
Make sure to harvest the outer leaves first, as these grow faster, and it’s important to give the inner leaves enough time to continue growing. Be careful as to not take too long when harvesting your lettuce – leaves that have sat for too much time can develop a bitter taste. It’s recommended that 60 days is the maximum time to let your leaves grow.
Where to Buy Lollo Rosso Lettuce Seeds
Lollo Rosso lettuce can sometimes be found at local farmer’s markets, but the easiest way to find this variety is by buying the seeds online.
For trustworthy seeds that will make a nice addition to your garden, check out these Lollo Rosso lettuce seeds from True Leaf Market!
A Lovable Lettuce Variety
With so many things to love about Lollo Rosso lettuce, there’s no doubt you’ll want to add it to your meals immediately!
Curious about other varieties of lettuce? Check out our other blog posts on the lettuce plant for everything you need to know!
- About the Author
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Spending her early childhood in the Hudson Valley region of New York, Alanna Singletary has wonderful memories of helping her uncle tend to his lush garden each year.
Rather than turning on Saturday cartoons, her winter mornings were filled with sap collection and maple syrup production; while summer days brought tomato picking and countless hours tending to a homemade tomato sauce.
Now residing in North Carolina, Alanna continues to assist with her father’s grand garden and is working on growing crops of her own. Her garden experience at an early age set her up for a constant desire to learn, something she continues to carry in all aspects of life.