How to Chop Lettuce

Sorry to keep you waiting everyone! Let’s get back to cooking some refreshing summer dishes!

Lettuce is an ingredient that it took me a while to learn to love. I used to only like lettuce in one specific sandwich, but now I enjoy it in a range of dishes.

Hand drawing of two heads of lettuce

I say ‘lettuce’, but there are actually a whole range of lettuces – my favourites are iceberg and little gem. Different varieties of lettuce can look quite different, but they all share the same basic structure: larger leaves on the outside, getting smaller and smaller until you reach the stem in the middle. This means you can use the same technique to cut them all!

If you’re using a whole lettuce, the easiest way to cut most of them is to just cut slices about 1cm thick.  Start from the top, and work your way down to the stem. Because of all the layers, you’ll get beautifully shredded lettuce. (If you’ve got a big, round lettuce like iceberg, first chop it in half from top to bottom, then place it on its cut side to slice.)

Hand drawing of a little gem lettuce with cutting guidelines (grey dotted lines)

However, once you’ve cut a lettuce like this, it won’t keep for long. So if you only want a little lettuce, start by peeling off the leaves you want by hand. To make slicing easier, pile them up, and then slice as before.

Hand drawing of a pile of lettuce leaves with cutting guidelines (grey dotted lines)

For some dishes, you don’t even need to chop your lettuce! I like whole lettuce leaves in sandwiches because they fall out less easily.

And finally, there’s nothing worse than a limp lettuce leaf, so let me share with you a secret technique! If you chop a thin layer off the bottom of the stalk, and place it in a glass or bowl with a little water, it will suck up the water and crisp back up again!

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