Don’t Love Kale? Here Are 10 More Greens to Try

By Lauren Paige
|
June 5, 2021
watercress salad
Photo Credit: Peden + Munk / Bon Appetit

There’s no denying that kale packs a nutritional punch. It has over 1000% of your daily vitamin K intake in just one little cup! It’s also rich in other vitamins and minerals, including calcium — ideal for plant-based eaters looking to keep their bones nice and strong. Still, for some, kale is a tough sell — literally. It’s very fibrous, so eating it is much more of a task than your usual leafy greens. Plus, it’s very earthy; some might even go so far as to say it tastes like dirt.

You could get around both of those issues, or you could just try some other greens.

1. Watercress

Watercress is kale’s nutrient-dense, powerhouse cousin. But where kale has big, tough leaves and thick stems, watercress has small, round leaves and small light stems. The entire plant is edible and has a light peppery flavor that gets even lighter when cooked. We love it in salads and sandwiches, pasta dishes and smoothies (for a less overtly “green” flavor.)

Get a Recipe: Watercress Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit

spinach salad

Photo Credit: Ambitious Kitchen

2. Spinach

We all know that spinach is a rich in iron (thanks Popeye!), but in order to absorb all that iron, you’ll want to eat it with foods that increase iron absorption. For example: meat, poultry, fish, and some veggies. (That may be why spinach is a popular side for steak?) Spinach is also loaded with other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, though, so don’t worry too much about what you eat it with. Personally, we’re partial to loaded spinach salads.

Get a recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad from Ambitious Kitchen

3. Mustard Greens

The peppery leaves of the mustard plant are one of the most nutritious greens you can eat. They’re rich in fiber and nutrients and eating them may have benefits for eye and heart health. Similar to kale in look and texture, they have a strong peppery, mustardy flavor when raw. Once cooked the taste is milder, and they make a flavorful addition to soups and casseroles.

Get a recipe: Spicy Pork and Mustard Green Soup from Epicurious

4. Turnip greens

The dark leafy green tops of turnips have a slightly peppery flavor similar to mustards and can be cooked and served in the same ways. Their milder flavor makes them suitable for salads as well. 

Get a recipe: Turnip Green Salad from Southern Living

dandelion greens

Photo Credit: A Beautiful Plate

5. Dandelion Greens

This edible weed you can probably find on your lawn has a strong, bitter flavor. Blanch them first and add a bit of citrus before you cook them.

Get a recipe: Sautéed Dandelion Greens with Eggs from A Beautiful Plate

6. Bok Choy

A type of Chinese white cabbage, bok choy has thick, dark-green leaves and white-colored stalks that have a crispy, fresh crunch. The greens have a spinach-like taste that makes them very versatile. Eat bok choy raw, braised, stir-fried, or fermented. 

Get a recipe: Bok Choy Chicken from Rasa Malaysia

arugula with chicken and blueberries

Photo Credit: Mary Lagier

7. Arugula

Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that goes by several different names, including rocket and rucola. Rich in dietary nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow, it has a slightly peppery taste. Its leaves can easily be eaten raw as a salad, in sandwiches, and on top of pizzas.

Get a recipe: Arugula, Chicken, and Blueberries with Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette

8. Swiss chard

Swiss chard has dark-green leaves with a thick stalk that comes in a rainbow of shades. The leaves have an earthy bitter taste when raw; cooked, they have a mild, sweet taste similar to spinach. But don’t toss those stems! They’re flavorful and highly nutritious. 

Get a recipe: Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans (Bietole e ceci) from The Kitchn

9. Beet Greens

Beet greens have green leaves and red stems, with a mild, sweet, and earthy flavor similar to chard. The texture when cooked is similar to spinach and they work great on their own as a side dish, tossed with pasta, or folded into eggs. 

Get a recipe: Omelet with Beet Greens from A Couple Cooks

collard greens

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

10. Collard Greens

Collard greens are similar to kale in flavor and texture. They have a slightly bitter taste that is easy to reduce with cooking and seasoning. You can use collard greens in any recipe that calls for kale; try them raw in salads, chop them up and add them to stews and soups, or use them as wrap for a low-carb sandwich. 

Get a recipe: Vegan Collard Green Burritos from Minimalist Baker

 

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