Tamar Haspel says salads like iceberg lettuce are low in nutrition

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the generic salad is rubbish.

Dress it up however you want – with bacon, croutons, or a blue cheese dressing – when you take away the extra bits that make salad at least a tiny bit more edible you’re left with a bunch of soggy lettuce leaves.

So it’s probably good news that Tamar Haspel, a food columnist for the Washington Post, has asked us to start thinking of salad a little differently.

New food trends have brought in a variety of ways to make salads seem more exciting, and chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi are credited by many for popularising leaves and vegetables as a main dish rather than something to have on the side.

But salad vegetables are low in nutrition, Haspel says. "The biggest thing wrong with salads is lettuce, and the biggest thing wrong with lettuce is that it’s a leafy-green waste of resources."

In the US it's the top source of food waste for vegetables, and apparently also the chief culprit for foodborne illnesses.

Haspel argues that if we switched to more nutritious vegetables like tomatoes or green beans, we could free up the acres given to lettuce, reduce our usage of fossil fuels and the resources needed for transport and storage.