Lettuce and cabbage are two vegetables that, depending on the type, may look very similar. Despite their appearance, however, they are not actually the same. The primary difference between these vegetables is that they are from two different plant families. While this is the most significant difference, there are also other dissimilarities between them. This includes their nutritional values and how they are eaten.
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that is from the Brassicaceae family. There are different varieties of cabbage, however, the most common include the red, Savoy and green cabbage. Like cabbage, lettuce is also a leafy vegetable, however it is a part of the Asteraceae family. Although there are many different varieties of lettuce, there are four main groups or types that they fall under. These types are looseleaf, butterhead, romaine, and crisphead.
The difference between lettuce and cabbage can also be seen in the nutritional value of each. While both vegetables are considered nutritious, they are healthy in different ways. Most types of lettuce have less calories and more vitamin A and potassium than cabbage. Alternately, cabbage typically has more vitamin C and fiber than most types of lettuce.
Naturally, the nutritional value of each depends on the exact type of lettuce or cabbage that is being eaten. When it comes to romaine lettuce, one cup of shredded leaves has approximately eight calories, 4094 IU vitamin A, 11 mg of vitamin C, 116 mg of potassium and one gram of fiber. In comparison, one cup of chopped raw green cabbage has roughly 21 calories, two grams of fiber, 29 mg of vitamin C, 219 mg of potassium and 152 IU of vitamin A.
When it comes to preparing lettuce and cabbage, cabbage is typically the more versatile of the two vegetables. While both can be eaten in a variety of ways, lettuce is most often eaten raw in salads, on sandwiches or as a garnish for certain types of foods such as tacos. Cabbage is frequently eaten after it has been steamed, boiled, stir-fried, braised or sauteed. In addition to cooking, cabbage may also be eaten raw. Coleslaw is a popular side dish that is made using uncooked cabbage.
Another difference between lettuce and cabbage is in terms of smell. Most people do not associate lettuce with any type of odor, however many people think of cabbage as being a malodorous vegetable when cooked. The sulfur-like smell that can come from cabbage typically only occurs as a result of overcooking.