Come summer, it’s time to swap some standbys for the fresh flavors of a new season. Here’s a list of some lean, mean, fabulous greens to pick up from your local co-op. Spice up your summer salad AND impress your friends! Experiment with combining textures (crunchify!) and colors (red leaf, anyone?).
A wild and exotic green, dandelion greens are packed with nutrients. With more calcium, vitamins, and iron than most greens, dandelions are great for a detox and they add a roarin’ flavor to salads and sautees. The bitter, strong taste of dandelion is best served up with a bold vinaigrette. Don’t be afraid to feed on this weed.
A richly flavored, nutty green that’s versatile for cooking, arugula makes a perfect pizza topping and is great on a grilled burger or steak. Major culinary snaps if you pair it with mozzarella and garden fresh tomatoes at your next picnic or party. Plus, it’s fun to say. Arugula!
Less bitter than its cousin kale (but trust us, just as “in”), and more peppery than arugula, mustard greens are a fab addition to Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cooking. These greens play well with strong and silent types, like ginger, garlic, and chilies. Slow-cooking mustards with collards and kale coaxes out a yummy mild flavor that is a staple for American southern cuisine.
The first U.S. cultivation of the Italian lettuce, radicchio, happened in 1988. Not to be confused with red cabbage, radicchio is a brilliant red leaf with white veins. Radicchio has a bittersweet bite and juicy crunch eaten raw, and its kick mellows nicely when grilled or roasted.
This sweet little head lettuce has soft, round, floppy leaves that look just like a baby’s bib. Tender, buttery and delicate, Butter Lettuce makes a wonderful bed for soft meats like tuna or crab. Like all good things in life, Butter Lettuce doesn’t last long, so eat it up while it’s fresh!
The most popular lettuce in salad bar history is a favorite for its mildness and satisfying texture. Major crunch action here! If you grew up in the Midwest, this is also known as “Taco lettuce.” Ole!
Bringing more than a splash of beautiful bronzy color to your salad, this frilly red leaf lettuce is full of antioxidants and boasts a sweet, tender flavor.
Iceberg for grownups, Romaine lettuce has an elongated central rib that brings the ultimate crunch. Its dark, leafy green shade also makes it the most nutritious of all lettuce varieties. Bonus! You may recall Romaine from salads such as: every Caesar salad ever made.