Salads have becoming much more confusing over the years. We have moved from iceberg and romaine to a variety of weeds, leafs, and greens. Spring mix and mixed greens can be found on even casual restaurant’s menus. Still the components of these mixtures can be a mystery to even the most knowledgeable foodies. Some of those greens would even surprise some chefs.
Years ago while working for a restaurant called Paradise Grill a chef taught me to identify these greens. I was recently asked by a guest about a particular leaf and was stumped. So as a refresher I have been boning up on my greens knowledge. Some of these are very interesting, so I decided to share the information with all of you. This list is by no means comprehensive, but does serve as a good primer to those who are curious.
Vitamins: Vitamin C and Potasium
Flavor: Strong, peppery
Alias: Curly Endive
Vitamins: Folate, Vitamins A&K, Fiber
Notes: From the daisy family. Closely related to chicory, endive, and escarole
Alias: Swiss Chard
Vitamins: Vitamins A, K, & C. Fiber and Protein
Flavor: Sweet and Bitter
Notes: Both are versions of Swiss Chard that are harvested early while it is tender
Green Oak Lettuce
Red Oak Lettuce
Alias: Oak Leaf Lettuce
Vitamins: Vitamins A, B, C, D, & E
Notes: This is from the lettuce family. It’s name is derived from looking like oak tree leaves, but do not come from trees.
Alias: Red Lollo
Nuitrition: Vitamins A & C, Folate, Iron, Antioxidants
Notes: Used more for vitamins and texture than flavor.
Alias: Japanesse Greens, Spider Mustard
Nuitrition: Fiber and Beta Carotene
Flavor: Spicy, Peppery
Notes: Very common in asian cuisine. Often mistaken for dandelion leaves.
Alias: Italian Chicory
Nuitrition: Vitamins A & C, Fiber, Calcium
Notes: Believed in ancient times to have curative values. Related to Frisee.
These are nine of the most currently used greens in spring mix or mixed greens salads. Many more are thrown in on occasion, but these are the most common. Other greens will be discussed in future posts. Feel free to use the comment section for any questions or other topics you would like to see in future posts.