Ditch the Iceberg: Go Green With Leaf Lettuce

If you’re looking to up both the nutrient quotient andthe flavor of your salads, try switching from iceberg to leafy greens.

Rich in beta-carotene and other healthful compounds, leafy greens can help protect against cancer, circulatory diseases and many problems linked to aging. As to which greens are the best, a simple, if imperfect, rule is this: The harder they are to pronounce and the more they cost, the better they taste. They are available at most supermarkets in bunches and, often, loose in bins.

Green Appearance Taste
Long, medium-green, sometimes scalloped leaves Aggressive peppery taste
Beet Reddish stems with tender leaves Mild cabbage flavor
Belgian endive Tight, elongated head with blanched white to pale yellow-green leaves Slightly bitter flavor
Chard Narrow, fan-shaped loose green leaf, with white or red veins and stems Taste slightly of mustard
Chicory Bushy, frizzy head made of thick, crisp, narrow leaves with curly, frilly edges Ranges from slightly bitter when young to extremely bitter when old
Collard greens Large, smooth, silvery green leaves Tastes like a cross between spinach and watercress
Dandelion Jagged, medium-green leaves Young leaves have a pleasant, slightly bitter flavor; older leaves are more pungent
Escarole Broad, curly-edged, dark green leaves with pale, yellowish heart Bitter flavor
Kale Very curly, dark green, coarse leaves with frilly edges Fresh, grassy flavor
Lettuce, butterhead Small, round, loosely formed head of soft leaves Buttery, slightly sweet flavor
loose leaf
Curly, loose, coarse leaves Mild flavor
oak leaf
Narrow leaves with rounded edges in an oak-leaf pattern; in red and green Extremely mild flavor with just a hint of sweetness
red leaf
Red tinged, large, loose leaves Delicate flavor
Elongated head with large, medium to dark green leaves that branch out from a white base Mild, sweet, nutty flavor
Light green, lacy leaves Mildly bitter, with a slight mustard taste
Radicchio Red, cabbage-like leaves Sweetly bitter flavor
Sorrel Bright green, tongue-shaped leaves Sour flavor
Spinach Dark green, tender leaves Mild but musky flavor
Watercress Dark green, dime-size glossy leaves Spicy, peppery flavor


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