Little-Known Greens to Perk Up Your Salad Plate
Photo credit: StockFood, illustration credit: Jen Fox
Salad made with plain old lettuce? A chore. (Even spicy arugula can induce yawns when it’s overplayed.) The same goes for mundane cooked sides that too-often rely upon garden variety greens such as spinach and kale. Zzzzzz.
No more, we say! Countless under-appreciated greens are waiting to be discovered and tossed into salads, stir-fries, soups, and stews. Bitter, spicy, mild, and sweet, these greens run the flavor gamut.
Take a look at some of our favorite unsung greens:
Photo credit: StockFood
Perhaps you’ve heard of amaranth seeds, which have been a hit with the quinoa crowd in recent years. But amaranth leaves are enormously popular in Asian, Mediterranean, and Caribbean cuisine, where cooks use them for everything from stir-fries to soups. They tend towards bitterness when raw, but the leaves mellow when cooked. Serious Eats suggests sautéing a mound of the greens in oil with a handful of crushed garlic cloves. Find amaranth in Asian groceries or grow your own from seed.
Photo credit: Stock Food
Mizuna, sometimes called Japanese mustard green, has long, broad leaves that boast a spicy, earthy flavor. In Asian cuisines, cooks pickle them and use them to garnish noodle dishes. But you can also chop them roughly and toss ‘em into a cold picnic salad of boiled new potatoes dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Look for mizuna at your local farmer’s market.