Get to Know Leafy Salad Greens

My Garden Life
May 20, 2020
Table of Contents

Salad bars with nothing on them but romaine and cottage cheese have gone the way of discos and pet rocks. Today, there are a huge variety of salad greens (and reds and purples) you can grow yourself or find at the farmer’s market. Here are 16 leafy salad ingredients that represent a wide range of tastes, textures and nutritional profiles. Mix and match to put together a custom bowl that is uniquely you.

Leaf lettuce

Leaf Lettuce

Consistent crisp flavor across many different types.

Green, red, flat and ruffled varieties.

Perfect base for all sorts of dressings.

Find more information here.

head of iceberg lettuce

Head Lettuce

Includes iceberg and butterhead varieties.

Iceberg lettuces have very crisp leaves and tight heads.

Holds up to heavy, creamy dressings.

Find more information here.

head of romaine lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

Crisp, dark green leaf lettuce.

Primary ingredient in classic Caesar salad.

Leaves can be served chopped or whole.

Find more information here.

head of bibb lettuce

Bibb Lettuce

Soft, sweet leaves.

Mini bibb lettuce heads make excellent single servings.

Pairs best with lighter dressings like vinaigrettes.

Find more information here.

basket of mizuna leaves


Asian green eaten raw or cooked.

Mild taste pairs well with arugula and spinach.

Often found in baby lettuce mixes.

Find more information here.

bowl of watercress leaves


Spicy flavor.

Vitamin packed, including hard-to-get vitamin K.

Adds zest to any lettuce mix.

Find more information here.

colander of endive


Frilly leaves traditional in French salads.

Pleasantly bitter taste good with sweet dressings.

Often confused with escarole, which has flatter leaves.

Find more information here.

wooden bowl filled with arugula leaves


In the same family as broccoli and kale.

Peppery, mustard taste.

Holds up well with robust vinaigrette.

Find more information here.

dish of fresh spinach


Crunchy, sweet taste especially when harvested in colder months.

Great source of iron and vitamins C and A.

Pairs well with balsamic vinegar-based dressings.

Find more information here.

fresh kale leaves on table


Cabbage cultivar with curly or flat leaves.

Can be eaten cooked or raw.

Packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Find more information here.

Fresh chicory leaves on a table


A type of endive sometimes referred to as frisee.

Tart taste and frilly light green leaves.

Traditionally served with bacon and vinaigrette, oftentimes warm.

Find more information here.

Fresh heads of escarole


Flat, broad leaves and a mildly bitter taste.

Inner leaves better for salads.

Outer leaves can be used in stir fries and braises.

Find more information here.

Small heads of Radicchio on table


Resembles tiny red cabbages, but is more closely related to chicory.

Spicy taste adds punch to mixed green salads.

Used often, cooked or raw, in Italian cuisine.

Find more information here.

Fresh French sorrel plant

French Sorrel

Herb with lettuce-like leaves suitable for salads.

Tangy taste with hints of lemon.

Use in mixed salads or cooked in soups and sauces.

Find more information here.

Fresh leaves of Komatsuna


Asian green similar in appearance and taste to spinach.

Best in salads when in its baby form.

Great non-dairy source of calcium.

Find more information here.

Fresh perilla leaves on table

Vietnamese Perilla

Asian herb with green and purple varieties.

Member of the mint family with a slightly minty taste.

Acid dressings balance sweet flavor.

Find more information here.

The spring garden is a great place to grow many of the cool-weather lettuces. Did you know you can also harvest delicious greens into the winter? Learn more in our article about fall friendly crops that extend the harvest season.


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