5 Greens Beyond Arugula to Eat This Summer

published Jun 8, 2015
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

There’s nothing wrong with the more popular lettuces, and arugula and romaine are often mainstays in my crisper drawer. But I encourage you to expand your lettuce horizons — there are so many other tasty greens out there to explore.

Make your salads more fun and interesting, and give these five greens that I’m loving right now a try!

(Image credit: Dana Velden)

1. Little Gems

These might be, hands down, one of my favorite lettuces. Their small size makes them easy to store or cut into bite-sized pieces, and I love their sweet flavor and really crisp, refreshing texture. I find Little Gem lettuces make hearty and satisfying salads, but they also can be seared or braised into a juicy side dish.

(Image credit: Erin Alderson)

2. Radish Tops

Technically not a lettuce, but definitely not a green to be ignored, radish tops taste like a spicier cousin of arugula. It’s a great budget-friendly green if you’re buying radishes anyway, and a handful into a salad adds a nice peppery punch. You can also sauté radish tops just as you would a green like kale or Swiss chard.

(Image credit: Ennar)

3. Baby Kale

Confession: I don’t really like regular kale; it’s just too earthy and intense for me. But baby kale? I’m all about the tender but sturdy leaves, and it’s a great substitute for baby spinach in salads if you don’t like the iron coating that spinach leaves in your mouth. Thanks to the rise in popularity of baby greens, I’ve found bags of baby kale in both Trader Joe’s and my local chain grocery store.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

4. Watercress

Peppery watercress is delicate but has a bit of a bitter punch if you like intense greens like radicchio. It’s great raw in salads, especially when mixed with a sweeter green, but you can also cook watercress down, and the bitter flavors will mellow out into something sweeter and almost floral.

(Image credit: Vezzani Photography)

5. Mâche

I fell in love with mâche, also known as lamb’s lettuce, when I lived in France. Although the tender, sweet greens are fairly expensive here, they cost less than iceberg lettuce in France and were really popular there, so I ate my fair share. The cute rounded leaves have a nutty flavor and are an elegant alternative to arugula for a dinner party salad.

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What greens are you enjoying right now?