Summer is the perfect time for salads, but do you know your leafy greens?
I only knew a handful of them until I went researching for this recipe, so thank you for helping me to increase my food knowledge as well.
As you can see in the above photo, there are plenty of types of salad greens available, and I’ve only listed a handful of them. There are plenty more salad greens available. Epicurious have a great visual list of salad greens too if you want more ideas.
The type of spinach listed here is baby spinach because of the small flat green leaves. The other type of spinach (also called silverbeet) is not recommended for salads, however silverbeet and baby spinach can both be used for recipes that call for cooked spinach.
Rocket is also called wild rocket or arugula. It is a bitter salad green but it’s stronger flavour pair well with other milder salad greens. You can also use rocket on sandwiches and wraps, and if you heat/toast the sandwich or wrap rocket survives better than lettuce because it wilts well. Also, try rocket on top of pizza (add a handful of it when you’re serving the pizza) for a great fresh lift to your usual pizza.
Frisee lettuce looks very frilly and is great for lifting the texture of a salad, but I find it really bitter so use it sparingly as frisee is known to be quite bitter. I would use frisee in a salad mix rather than as the only salad green you use for a particular recipe.
Red and Green Escarole
Escarole lettuce was one I didn’t know the name of before but I find it has a pleasant taste so I use it in anything that requires salad greens.
Red and Green Oak Lettuce
I have to say that oak lettuce is one of my absolute favourite salad greens. I love oak lettuce because it just looks so appealing and so quintessentially lettuce like. It has a great mild flavour so it can be used in salads with stronger tasting salad greens or by itself on a sandwich or wrap. You could even make a salad using only oak lettuce and you’d be happy.
Baby Beetroot Greens
These beetroot greens are the leaves you get when you buy a bunch of beetroots. Instead of throwing them away you can use them in salads and anywhere you’d use swiss chard or bok choy. The ones pictured above are baby beetroot greens and I often just get them thrown in with the salad mix from my local supermarket. The bright vibrant colour of the veins makes them stand out in any salad and gives you extra vitamins and antioxidants to boot.
Red Tat Soi
These tat soi leaves also come in green and look similar to baby spinach however they are a different leaf altogether. Tat soi are sometimes called mustard greens and have a mild flavour so they are pretty versatile in all salads. To know more, check out this article from Food52 all about tat soi (including how tos tore them). And if you’re not sure where to get them, it’s likely you’ve already eaten them as they come in prepared salad mixes.
This is not an exhaustive list of greens you can use in salads. You can also use:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romain/Cos lettuce
- Shredded cabbage
- Shredded brussel sprouts
- Swiss chard
Want some salad ideas so you can include some of these new found salad greens? Check out my posts on textured salads and mix and match salads to start with then see this list of 100 simple salad ideas or the Taste.com.au salad collection for more inspiration.
My husband and I often have a week of salads for dinner during summer, so here’s one we made a few weeks ago using the vegetables and salads we had on hand.
What is your favourite salad recipe?