Does Your Salad Need a Botany Field Guide?

Salad greens

Does your salad ever make you wish you had paid more attention in botany class? Umm we’ve got the spiky stuff, the curly ones, the purplish ones, the big leafy ones, the one that sounds like Charizard…. Yes, easily recognizable greens like romaine and spinach are good basics and safe options, but why not expand your salad repertoire and your palate by introducing new greens?visual

Check out this Visual Guide to Salad Greens by Epicurious to get you started. This a nice way to not only recognize those weird leaves you may have seen before, but to also meet some new, fancy hipster greens.

hipster salad

However, this article is by no means comprehensive. There were a few greens I was surprised to see missing from their list, including…


kale

Kale

How can you leave out kale?! This ingredient is popping up everywhere right now, and for good reason. This powerhouse green is low in calories, but packs a punch with great sources of fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin K, carotenoids and flavonoids, and vitamin A. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk! And people think you need to eat animals products to get these nutrients!

koala meme


swiss chad

Swiss Chard

This colorful green packs an even greater iron and fiber potential than kale! Although it has less of vitamins A and C as compared to kale, it brings its own nutrition powerhouse to the salad bowl – another reason to mix greens in your salad! Not only does mixing greens add textural and gustatory complexity, but it also ensures a well-rounded collection of nutrients, vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and all that other good stuff that keeps you going and glowing. Studies have suggested that Swiss Chard may help regulate blood sugar, an interesting benefit for those with diabetes.

charizard


spinach

Spinach

This is probably one of the weirdest greens to be missing from the visual guide article above. Spinach is the hipster green, he was the first leaf (in my memory) to be praised for its nutritional fortitude. Spinach is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron. Although it is less caloric than kale (not that this is an issue, greens contain minimal calories… calories should not be a decision-maker when picking greens, all the other nutritional facts below should be!), it has more iron, potassium, and magnesium and less carbohydrates than kale. However, spinach also carries more sodium and less protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium than kale. Another consideration that makes spinach a solid choice for salads? It is more readily available at restaurants, grocery stores, salad bars, etc than the other greens listed above. It pays to be a hipster!

hipster kale


Which greens will you try next? Which salad ingredient will become the new “hipster green”? Stay tuned and I’ll keep you current on all the latest food trends, so you can be a food hipster too!

Happy Friday everyone ❤ Nika

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