From iceberg lettuce to baby arugula to Belgian endive, there are greens for every taste. Raw or cooked, in salads, appetizers, sides and mains, leafy greens can star virtually anywhere on the menu.
You’ll find three different kinds of lettuce in your produce department--head lettuce, romaine, and loose-leaf lettuces. Head lettuces can be soft, with tender leaves like Boston or Bibb, or crisp, like iceberg. Romaine is crisp and grows in tall, elongated heads with closely packed leaves. Loose-leaf varieties have a more delicate texture and a fresh, slightly bitter flavor.
All leafy greens and lettuces are low in calories and many have excellent nutritional benefits. They provide nutrients like vitamins A, K and C, as well as fiber, antioxidants and folate (varies by variety). Greens like spinach offer an excellent source of iron. In general, the darker or greener the leaf, the more nutritional benefits they offer.
Peppery and slightly bitter. Great for waking up a boring salad. Arugula is very low in calories (2 calories per half-cup serving) and is high in vitamins A and C.
Crunchy, with slightly bitter leaves. Serve with robust dressing, or braise as a side dish. Select heads with yellow tips; those with green tips are more bitter. Endive is high in fiber and rich in folate and vitamins A and K.
Also called “butterhead” or “butterleaf” lettuce. Subtle and sweet with soft, tender leaves. Pairs well with a light vinaigrette. It's terrific in salads and sandwiches, or as a bed for other dishes. An excellent source of vitamin K, it contains some carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene and is also a source of folate and vitamin A.
Also called “watercress.” Tiny leaves with a peppery punch that's great in salads, sandwiches, soups and garnishes. Cress is highly perishable, so try to use it as soon as possible after you buy it.
Also called “frisée.” The crisp outer leaves are green and somewhat bitter; the pale inner leaves are more tender and mild. Try it in salads or cook as a side dish. An excellent source of vitamin K, it also contains folate and manganese.
Sturdy, bitter leaves. Best used in salads when very young, or can be cooked in side dishes and soups. An excellent source of vitamin K with folate and manganese.
Crisp and sturdy, it lasts up to two weeks in the fridge, but is a bit short on flavor and nutrients. Try using leaves as low-carb wraps. To keep iceberg lettuce crisp, cut the core out, fill the center with cold tap water, then drain for 15 minutes. Contains some carotenoids such as lutein and beta carotene (300 µg for 100g), and is also a source of vitamin K.
Mild, ruffled texture with a subtle taste of hazelnut adds interest to salads. High in antioxidants, it contains carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein (4 000 µg for 100 g), and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folate and manganese.
Pretty leaves enliven salads with bright color and slightly bitter tang. Great combined with other salad greens. Can also be used as a base for hors d'oeuvres, or sautéed for a side dish. Especially high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenylic acid, it also provides vitamins A and C and phosphorus.
RED LEAF LETTUCE
Although it contains more antioxidants than green leaf, red leaf lettuce has similar nutritional values such as being an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folate and manganese.
Crisp, refreshing and flavorful, with a good shelf life in the refrigerator. The classic green for Caesar salad. High in dietary fiber, it is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K and folate. It also contains some carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene (3 500 µg for 100 g).
Delicious raw in salads or cooked in sides and soups. Look for young, tender spinach with small, narrow stems. Spinach is packed with nutrients; rich in iron, fiber, and Vitamins A, C and K.
Choose heads or leaves with deep coloring, crisp texture, and no wilt, rust or brown edges. For the most delicate flavor and texture in spinach, opt for “baby” spinach.
- Greens are highly perishable; wrap and refrigerate unwashed immediately. Iceberg and Romaine can last up to a week but the more fragile greens are best eaten within a couple days.
- To wash greens, immerse in cool, not cold water in a sink or bowl. Swish gently, remove from water, and transfer to a colander to drain.
- To crisp up salad greens, tear into bite-sized pieces and soak in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Drain, blot in terrycloth towel, and refrigerate two hours.
- To avoid discolored lettuce leaves, tear into bite-sized pieces rather than using a knife.
- Store spinach in a plastic bag or other airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.
- Bunch spinach can be gritty. To clean, swish in a basin of cool water, lift leaves out and drain in a colander, then blot dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- To trim leaves from bunch spinach, fold leaves in half vertically, pinching sides together where leaves meet the stem, then pull stems away and discard.
- Cut spinach with a stainless steel knife. Carbon steel blades may cause bruising and discoloring.
- Nutmeg and spinach were made for each other. Add nutmeg to spinach dishes near the beginning of cooking time.
READY IN: 30 MINUTES
This refreshing salad is great for lunch or a light dinner.
You deserve the best quality fruits and veggies and we're committed to bringing them to you. Remember though that certain crops may not be available due to weather conditions and selection may vary by store.