When it comes to salads, there are so many different kinds of greens that you can use in salad recipes; it’s truly remarkable, and each of them possesses unique sources of nutrients that make them excellent base ingredients in any salad.
From the immune-boosting kale to the detoxifying and digestion soothing watercress, no one type of green can completely overshadow another; it primarily depends on what health benefit you want to add to your diet.
For your convenience, I’ve compiled a list of 15 types of the best salad greens and what makes each special.
Check out some of the most popular types of lettuce and other greens for your salad!
Arugula, a small leafy plant, is a lively addition to any leafy salad with its fresh, almost tart-like peppery flavor.
In addition, arugula is an excellent source of various nutrients such as folate and calcium, and just one serving is enough to provide the daily requirement of the bone-building vitamin K.
However, I find this type of salad green is best when not used as a base ingredient in salads but as a flavor enhancer to other more nutritious salad greens.
In addition, this super veg is a known weight shifter. In many places, it’s known as rocket.
Watercress, another small leafy plant, is a spirited addition to any leafy salad with its robust, peppery taste.
Watercress possesses some of the most potent anticancer nutrients of any plant.
However, I find this type of salad green is best, like the arugula, when not used as a base in salads. The watercress is a known detoxifier.
Endive, the longleaf version, not the curly version, is an excellent base for any salad with its crisp texture, sweet, almost nutty flavor, and subtle bitterness.
Although the endive is one of the most challenging vegetables to grow, it is still available year-round.
I find the longleaf version of endive an excellent option for a rollup instead of a grain.
Romaine, another type of lettuce, is an excellent base for any salad with its crunchy texture, succulent taste, and mild bitterness.
Romaine lettuce is available year-round, but its peak season is winter.
As with any salad green, the darker the green, the more health benefits it possesses; because of this, romaine lettuce is an excellent source of fiber and vitamins A, C, and K.
Chard, also known as Swiss chard, is another superb base for any salad.
I find the chard to have a mild, vegetable-like kind of sweet taste to it.
Packed with incredible health benefits such as heart-protecting properties with excellent antioxidants and beta carotene that helps prevent DNA damage. The chard is a known life lengthener.
Iceberg lettuce was, for a long time, the standard base ingredient for salads, that is, until it was later determined to possess very little nutritional value.
However, since the Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have a robust taste, the rest of the ingredients in any salad that uses it can genuinely pop.
It also has a nice crunch to add some texture to your plate.
Spinach is another fantastic base for any salad. I find the spinach’s subtle sweet taste surprisingly good in any salad, even those with a meat protein addition.
Spinach is another excellent salad green with incredible health benefits such as antiaging properties, anti-inflammatory qualities, and many other nutrients.
This vegetable is known as a fitness enhancer and superfood.
Beet greens, unlike the beets they grow on, have a surprisingly mild sweet, earthy taste, making them an ideal base for salads.
In addition, with its high concentration of nitrates, beet greens are an excellent way to help lower blood pressure, improve oxygen levels and enhance your fitness routine.
Collard greens are similar in taste to kale but, thankfully, not as bitter, making them an excellent base for salads.
In addition, thanks to its high levels of soluble fiber, collard greens are a healthy way to reduce cholesterol levels while keeping your digestion on track.
Dandelion greens might seem like a strange green to use in salads; however, its mildly bitter and kind of tangy flavor make it a great addition to any salad.
I find that dandelion greens are best when paired with other salad greens like kale or spinach.
Mustard greens have a similar pungent, peppery taste to mustard, which is unsurprising since the seeds of the same plant are used to make the popular condiment.
Thanks to its high concentrations of antioxidants like beta carotene, mustard greens help protect your skin from free radicals.
Kale is the super veg. However, I find kale’s earthy bitter taste and crunchy texture especially strong as a base in a salad.
Its strong taste cannot overshadow kale’s incredible health benefits.
Since its peak season is winter and it possesses fantastic immune-boosting properties, kale is an excellent base for any salad to keep you healthy during those cold winter months when you’re less active.
Butter lettuce is another superb base for any salad, with its beautiful green color, soft butter-like texture, and subtly sweet taste.
I find butter lettuce especially good when used as a wrap filled with lean, high-protein meats.
Leaf lettuce grows with loose clusters of leaves instead of firm heads.
I find its mild sweetness and soft, tender texture perfect as a base in a salad.
In addition, leaf lettuce possesses high concentrations of potassium and vitamins A and K.
Radicchio is round and similar to cabbage but has a mauvish-crimson coloring.
I find its powerful, bitter, spicy taste a bit strong in a salad if used as a base; however, it does balance out the sweeter types of salad greens quite well if paired together in a salad.
In addition, radicchio possesses many different health benefits, such as fighting cancer and keeping your skin looking great, thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants and complex B vitamins.
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Beet Greens
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Butter Lettuce
- Leaf Lettuce
In this article, I’ve provided you with some of the best salad greens available, helpful information about each, and how I’ve enjoyed them myself.
Don’t forget to get the best nutritional value from your salad greens; consume them when they’re in season.
We’ve covered more common salad greens, like the Romaine and the Kale, and the less common but no less nutritious ones, like the Dandelion green and Radicchio.
You’re now prepared to make healthier, wiser eating choices. Bon appetit.