Today, there are so many types of greens in the produce department that salad making can be an endless adventure in your kitchen. Read below on some of the different types of greens and their health benefits, how you can add them to your lifestyle, and lastly, enjoy a few recipes below using some of the different varieties of salad greens.
Arugula: Also called, rocket, it is slightly bitter green with a peppery note. It is usually sold in bunches with the roots shown. Arugula holds a lot of dirt, so be sure to rinse out the leaves and dry before using it. Look for bright green leaves when purchasing. Arugula is high in vitamins A, C, K, folate and thiamin. It contains iron, potassium, and riboflavin. It is high in antioxidants, builds healthy bones, prevents arthritis and anemia. Lastly, it protects against cancerous growths.
Green and Red Leaf lettuce: The most common lettuce of mixed greens in the produce department. These leaf lettuces have large flaring leaves that grow in loose bunches. The colors vary between bright green, red and nearly purple tips. Leaf lettuce is crisp when cold, but wilts rather quickly. It contains high amounts of vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, and folate. They also contain phytonutrients beta-carotene, omega-3, omega-6, fiber, and calcium. This salad green lowers cholesterol, has anti-inflammatory properties, and the more red leaf there is the more antioxidants.
Kale: A member of the cabbage family, kale is identifiable by the frilly edges. The dark green leaves and mild cabbage flavor is used in various dishes, salads, and chips. The center stalk is tough, so be sure to cut away the stalk before using the leaves. Also, if you are using kale in a salad, you will need to massage the kale to soften the leaves. This will make eating Kale much more appealing. Kale is high in nutrition, so try to add it to your dishes weekly for a punch of vitamin C, A, K, folate, and calcium. It detoxes the body, prevents bone loss, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Fact: per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk, and ten times more vitamin C than spinach.
Romaine: An elongated bunch of greens with coarse, crisp leave and thick ribs. Cut out and discard ribs before serving as they can be quite bitter. Romaine adds crunch to salads and is most commonly used in Caesar salads. Full of vitamins A, C, K, and folate; minerals of iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium; also, contains fiber, protein and all nine essentials of amino acids. Romaine promotes heart health, prevents stroke and builds healthy bones. Tip: Soak the roots in a small dish with water and place in sunlight as it will regrow. You can plant in the soil for summer growing.
Spinach: Vivid green leaves that are curly or smooth. Spinach is available all year. Similar to arugula, spinach can be gritty, so be sure to rinse out leaves before use. This plant has vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and thiamin. It has the same minerals as romaine, however, spinach also contains manganese and lutein. It maintains eye health, red blood cell function, strengthens bones and regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
Watercress: Pungent and peppery, it is sold in small bunches or found in pre-packaged mixed green salads. The leaves are dark green and are small and crisp. Use raw in salads, on sandwiches or as a garnish in soups. Full of vitamin A, C, K and contains calcium and manganese; it is extremely high in antioxidants and can help prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
** Tip: An easy way to clean and prepare salad greens is with a salad spinner. I love using my Pampered Chef Salad & Berry spinner for all my fresh greens and berries. It increases the store time too, offering longer days to enjoy my salads or snacks. Find the product here.
Click on the links below for recipes.