Lettuce sandwich

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Lettuce sandwich
Type Sandwich or sandwich wrap
Main ingredients Lettuce, bread or filling
Cookbook:Lettuce sandwich  Lettuce sandwich
A lettuce sandwich with salami

A lettuce sandwich is either a bread sandwich made with lettuce as its only filling,[1][2] or a breadless sandwich, with a filling optionally inserted between two leaves of lettuce or rolled inside one large lettuce leaf.[3][4] In the later case it is often referred to as a lettuce wrap.[5] It should not be confused with other sandwiches that use lettuce as one of many ingredients, such as the BLT sandwich or the tomato and lettuce sandwich. The lettuce sandwich has a long history in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It has been used as a metaphor to represent things like mundanity, weakness and poverty. There are allegedly health benefits to eating lettuce sandwiches, such as promoting weight loss and remedying insomnia,[6][7] and they are sometimes part of a vegetarian diet.

Shanghai-style lettuce wraps with sauces at Auburn Alehouse


The lettuce sandwich was mentioned in print as early as 1894 in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine.[8] The lettuce sandwich (bread with a lettuce filling) was a common food in the United States and England during the first half of the 20th century;[9][10][11][12][13] preferred by the youth[10][14] and served at fine luncheons.[10][15] Lettuce sandwiches have been served in schools in the United States.[16][17] The lettuce sandwich (bread with lettuce filling) is also an old-fashioned English food.[2] Lettuce sandwiches are still prevalent in the US and elsewhere.[18][19][20][21][22]


When making a bread and lettuce sandwich, the bread can optionally be buttered[2] or spread with mayonnaise,[12] and then lettuce is placed between the two slices of bread.[1] To prepare a breadless lettuce sandwich, roll any filling inside a large leaf of lettuce or place it between two leaves of lettuce. Other variations on the lettuce sandwich also exist, such as the pickled lettuce sandwich.[23] The west-coast hamburger chain In-N-Out offers a lettuce sandwich called "the Protein" or "Protein Style" on their hidden menu. It is a hamburger patty wrapped in lettuce instead of the traditional bun.[24]


The lettuce sandwich has also become a cultural metaphor to represent something unattractive, unappealing, weak, or mundane.[25][26] In this sense, the term "limp (or soggy) lettuce sandwich" is often used.[27][28][29] Being on a "lettuce sandwich diet" refers to getting by on the bare minimum with absolutely nothing more than the necessities of life. The lettuce sandwich is sometimes indicative of poverty or hardship,[30] and also represents lack of sufficient nourishment.[31] The lettuce sandwich is considered a humble,[32] tasteless[17] food. It can be used to represent disappointment as in "life was like a lettuce sandwich over the sink".[33]

Health benefits[edit]

A lettuce sandwich has been claimed to be a sleep-inducing remedy for insomnia.[6][7] This may be due to opiate-like chemicals contained in lettuce that help relax and sedate the body, along with the sleep-inducing effect of the carbohydrates in the bread.[7] Lettuce sandwiches (no bread) are also eaten to promote weight loss.[3] Lettuce sandwiches (bread filled with lettuce) can also be a good food choice for the health-conscious.[1][4][10][14] The lettuce sandwich (bread filled with lettuce)—which contains no meat—is mentioned in a book about vegetarian diets.[34][35]

Health risks[edit]

There have been deaths attributed to eating lettuce sandwiches, due to lettuce contaminated with the E.coli bacteria.[20][21]

In media[edit]

A reference to a lettuce sandwich was made in the I Solemnly Swear episode of the Gilmore Girls TV series.[36] Celebrities such as Morris Graves[3] and Edgar Crook, author of Vegetarianism in Australia, have eaten lettuce sandwiches.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lotter, Michelle (22 November 2007). "Kids go on snack attack". North Shore Times, Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Slater, Nigel (10 June 2001). "This month". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  3. ^ a b c McGEE, CELIA (October 15, 2001). "MARIAH'S DIGS GET A 'GLITTER'-Y MAKEOVER TRIBECA TRIPLEX BY BUATTA IS SINGER'S GRAND GETAWAY". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  4. ^ a b Brabham, Brandy (Oct 17, 2002). "Prepare Safe Home-packed Lunches". The Times Record. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  5. ^ Keeler, Janet K. (October 22, 2003). "The hip, hot wrap". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  6. ^ a b Nevin, Charles (3 January 1999). "Captain Moonlight". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  7. ^ a b c Van Straten, Michael (April 25, 2004). "The secrets of sleep". Times Online. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  8. ^ "An Errant Wooing". The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. 1895. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  9. ^ Maxwell, Nellie (Jun 4, 1925). "Mother's Cook Book - Everyday Good Things". Madison Lake Times. Retrieved 2009-01-24. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d "Catering to Young Palates Does Adults a Good Turn Too". St. Petersburg Times. Jul 5, 1940. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  11. ^ "Woodcock on Chicago". Time Magazine. Oct 27, 1930. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  12. ^ a b "FINDS LONDON FOOD CHEAPER THAN OURS". New York Times. February 23, 1917. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  13. ^ Boyle, Hal (Jun 15, 1948). "Lord Drafts a Good Chef". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  14. ^ a b Rowell, Diana (Oct 14, 1938). "Lunch for Susie and Sammy May Be Both Interesting and Nourishing". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  15. ^ Pyatt, Edith Lincoln (Dec 24, 1912). "Mrs. Ennis Entertains". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  16. ^ "Hot Lunch Menu". Tri-County Tribune. Sep 25, 1969. Retrieved 2009-01-24. [dead link]
  17. ^ a b Coldsmith, Don (September 29, 2008). "End of the garden". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  18. ^ Schaaf, Miv (Nov 3, 1985). "Food for Thought Whatever Happened to the Plain Bread-and-Butter Sandwich?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  19. ^ "A LETTUCE SANDWICH SURE COULD TURN HEADS". Lexington Herald-Leader. March 18, 1993. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  20. ^ a b "WOMAN IS KILLED BY A LETTUCE SANDWICH; Mum, 57, victim of E Coli bug". Daily Record. June 21, 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  21. ^ a b "E.coli fears after death". BBC News. 21 June 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  22. ^ "Business Profile: If at Furse you don't succeed". The Telegraph. 10 Nov 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  23. ^ Raisfeld, Robin (Feb 5, 2006). "Restaurant Openings & Buzz". New York Media LLC. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  24. ^ Pomfret, John (January 30, 2006). "In Calif., Internal Lawsuits Served Up at Burger Chain". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  25. ^ Ghosh, Padmaparna (Dec 12, 2007). "Reporters’s Notebook: Protest props beat ‘Bali fatigue’". Live Mint Lounge: The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  26. ^ Swan, Norman (24 March 2003). "Diabetes - A personal story, part 3". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  27. ^ "Rename Mermaid Quay - Tiger Bay is better". WalesOnline.co.uk. 24 July 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  28. ^ "The sushi revolution is here; Don't let the thought of raw food put you off - this is the tastiest and healthiest fish supper you'll ever try". Glasgow, Scotland: Daily Record. May 10, 2000. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  29. ^ Musson, Chris (2007-12-28). "Sunseekers’ jet delayed 12 hours". The Evening Times. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  30. ^ Richler, Mordecai (1996). Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case.. Toronto, ON: Penguin Books Canada. ISBN 0-14-034609-0. 
  31. ^ "Foodless and Pointless Restaurants Close Shop". St. Petersburg Times. Jun 26, 1945. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  32. ^ Fahey, Anna (June 13, 2001). "Portrait of the artist". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  33. ^ Miller, Betty Jean (Mar 29, 1985). "Book Offers an Escape into the Past". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  34. ^ Whitehead, Daniel (May 26, 2006). "Kicking the meat habit". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  35. ^ Cawein, Elizabeth (3/11/2005). "Another Brick in the Wall: Veggie Tales: Meat hiatus too difficult". Retrieved 2009-01-24.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. ^ "Gilmore Girls: I Solemnly Swear". Retrieved 2009-01-24.