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Step Aside, Kale — Here Are 10 Other Leafy Greens to Try

By Lauren Paige
|
May 31, 2024
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

There’s no denying that kale packs a nutritional punch. It has more than 1000% of your daily vitamin K in just one cup, and it’s also rich in other vitamins and minerals. But it’s also very fibrous, so eating it can be more of a task than some other leafy greens. Plus, not everyone loves kale’s earthy flavor.

There are things you can do to make kale more palatable; but in the end, you might just not like it. If that’s the case, no worries — there are plenty of other leafy greens to enjoy. Here are 10, and what to do with each one.

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1. Watercress

Watercress salad

Courtesy of Love and Lemons

Like kale, watercress is very nutrient-dense. 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.

Try it: Watercress Salad by Love and Lemons

2. Spinach

Strawberry spinach salad

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

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.

Try it: Strawberry Spinach Salad by Ambitious Kitchen

Related: 8 Healthy Spinach Recipes That Use Up the Whole Bag

3. Mustard Greens

Chinese mustard greens

Courtesy of The Woks of Life

The peppery leaves of the mustard plant are among the most nutritious greens you can eat. They’re rich in fiber and nutrients, and offer many health benefits. 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.

Try it: Stir-Fried Chinese Mustard Greens by The Woks of Life

4. Turnip greens

Southern turnip greens

Courtesy of Lana’s Cooking

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. 

Try it: Southern Turnip Greens by Lana’s Cooking

5. Dandelion Greens

Sauteed dandelion greens with eggs

Courtesy of A Beautiful Plate

Rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D, and several minerals, dandelion greens are also good for digestion and may boost immunity. They have a strong, bitter flavor, so use them sparingly in salads, or blanch them and add a bit of citrus before you cook them.

Try it: Sautéed Dandelion Greens with Eggs by A Beautiful Plate

6. Bok Choy

Bok Choy chicken

Courtesy of Rasa Malaysia

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

Try it: Bok Choy Chicken by Rasa Malaysia

7. Arugula

Linguine with arugula, garlic and parmesan

Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Arugula is an elegant leafy green 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 peppery taste. Enjoy it raw in salads or on sandwiches, sauté it as a side dish, or use it in pasta dishes.

Try it: Linguine with Arugula, Garlic, and Parmesan by Gimme Some Oven

Related: Do You Actually Need A Greens Powder? Dietitians Tell Us the Real Deal

8. Swiss chard

Swiss chard with feta and pine nuts

Courtesy of Simone’s Kitchen

Swiss chard has dark-green leaves with thick stalks that come in various shades. These leafy greens have an earthy, bitter taste when raw; cooked, they have a mild, sweet flavor that’s similar to spinach. Don’t toss those stems — they’re flavorful and highly nutritious. Chop them up and sauté them to serve with the leaves, or add them to a stir-fry.

Try it: Swiss Chard with Feta and Pine Nuts by Simone’s Kitchen

9. Beet Greens

Omelet with beet greens

Courtesy of A Couple Cooks

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. Pro tip: If you buy beets with the green attached, remove the greens as soon as you get home. If left attached, the greens will pull moisture from the beets.

Try it: Omelet with Beet Greens by A Couple Cooks

10. Collard Greens

Vegan burritos

Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

Collard greens are similar to kale in flavor and texture. They have a slightly bitter taste that softens 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. 

Try it: Vegan Collard Green Burritos from Minimalist Baker

Read next: 12 Easy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes That Beat Bottled

 

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