Oak Leaf Lettuce gets its name for one simple reason—it looks just like an oak tree leaf! This delicious lettuce is regularly used to heighten the sophistication of meals, both in restaurants and in kitchens in homes around the world.
In this post, we’ll talk about what makes this type of lettuce special, how to use it, and how to grow your own. Let’s get started!
Characteristics of Oak Leaf Lettuce
Each leaf of this tasty variety of lettuce is longer with an almost serrated edge. It is typically harvested as baby leaves but, if left to grow, will grow into a hefty head of lettuce.
It comes in two main colors— red and green. “Red,” in this case, really means a deep maroon, almost purple color. Both can be added to a salad mix to give it a gourmet feel.
What Does it Taste Like?
Oak Leaf Lettuce is notoriously tender, especially when harvested as baby leaves.
The texture of this variety of lettuce has been described as buttery. It is soft and easy to bite through, a stark contrast to other, more fibrous leafy greens.
Oak Leaf’s flavor is slightly sweet and a little bit nutty. It may be a bit on the bitter side to some palates, but it is still an enjoyable addition to many salads.
With What Does it Pair Well?
Oak Leaf Lettuce makes a great leafy bed for many other foods.
Because it comes in multiple colors, it is an easy way to add more color to plates of seafood like seared scallops or fish fillets.
Simply lay some Oak Leaf on a plate, place your seafood on top of it, and dress it all with a citrusy vinaigrette.
In fact, this type of lettuce pairs well with most vinaigrettes. Try a tasty balsamic or Asian-inspired one.
How to Cook with Oak Leaf Lettuce
Oak Leaf Lettuce isn’t commonly cooked in the traditional sense, but it’s a great addition to your culinary adventures.
It can be a flavorful addition to sandwiches, add some color to a salad, or be used as a pretty garnish on a plate.
Does it Make a Good Snack?
This lettuce absolutely makes a great snack! While snacking on lettuce may not be everyone’s cup of tea, throwing some Oak Leaf in a bowl with some grilled chicken and dressing can be a quick, delicious, and very nutritious snack.
Will Kids like Oak Leaf Lettuce?
Kids are more likely to try things they help prepare. If you can get your children involved with the preparation of an Oak Leaf Lettuce salad, chances are good they will at least try it!
Between the pleasant flavor and unique appearance, it’s a kid’s dream.
Health Benefits of Oak Leaf Lettuce
Oak Leaf lettuce offers a wide variety of nutritional benefits!
According to AEssense Grows, 3.5 ounces of Oak Leaf lettuce contains the following nutrients:
Calories— 55 calories
Dietary Fiber— 1.1g
Vitamins and Minerals
Just 3.5 ounces of Oak Leaf will give you 97% of the Vitamin K you need every day.
This vitamin is critical to the process of one’s blood clotting correctly. It also supports bone strength and has even been said to help improve memory in elderly adults.
A serving of this leafy green will give you 18% of the Folate your body needs every day.
Folate is used in our bodies to help with the production of DNA. It aids in cell splitting and regenerating. It’s especially important in the diet of pregnant women or women hoping to become pregnant.
One 3.5-ounce serving of Oak Leaf lettuce will provide your body with 10% of your daily need for Iron.
Iron is used by your body to produce healthy new red blood cells, which are used to move oxygen throughout your entire body.
Growing Oak Leaf Lettuce at Home
This variety of lettuce is incredibly easy to grow at home and is completely ready to harvest just six weeks after sowing seeds.
Planting and Basic Care Instructions
Like most types of lettuce, these plants do best in cool weather and need to be planted in Spring, after the last frost, or Fall, before the first frost.
To sow directly in the ground outside, choose a sunny location and dig shallow rows about three inches apart. Sow the seeds heavily in the rows and cover them with roughly 1/8″ soil.
Water the seeds gently and keep them moist until the seeds germinate and grow substantial roots.
For Baby Greens
Trim each leaf off the plant when it reaches around four inches. This is going to encourage the plant to grow more leaves and means you can enjoy several rounds of harvesting from the same plants.
Baby greens are generally ready to be enjoyed just 30 days after planting!
For Full Heads of Lettuce
If you want a fuller head of Oak Leaf Lettuce, thin out your germinated seedlings to where you’ve only got the fullest, strongest-looking plants left.
Roughly 60 days after planting, the heads of lettuce will be ready to be harvested. Simply cut the head from the base of the plant with sharp scissors or a gardener’s knife.
Pests and Diseases
Aphids, slugs, and snails are regular pests on lettuce plants. To completely eradicate each requires specific tools and tricks of the trade, but there’s one step you can take to help prevent most pests and diseases.
Water your lettuce plants at the base. Use something like drip irrigation or take time to make sure you’re limiting the amount of water hitting the leaves.
Most pests and diseases love damp, dark environments, which makes an overly wet head of lettuce their dream home!
Where to Buy Oak Leaf Lettuce Seeds
Seeds to plant your own lettuce at home are readily available online, even from Amazon.
If you want to skip growing your own, check higher-end grocery stores, like Whole Foods, for some fresh Oak Leaf lettuce to enjoy at home.
Wrapping up Oak Leaf Lettuce
An aptly-named variety of lettuce, Oak Leaf lettuce is easy to grow, fun to look at, and mouth-wateringly delicious to eat! Harvest your own or pick some up soon to elevate the next salad you enjoy.
For more information about lettuce varieties, check out our page all about Lettuce Plants.