Guide to Greens

Leafy, nutrient-rich mustard greens, collards, and Swiss chard offer wonderfully unique texture and flavor that spice up any meal.


Taste: Like its relative, Belgian endive, it's slightly bitter

Best in: Young, tender leaves are good in raw salads. Because escarole is more delicate than other hearty greens, it doesn't require long cooking-nice if you want supper on the table in a hurry.

Smart substitutions: mustard greens, arugula, or spinach

 Escarole Soup with Ginger and Cilantro
 Escarole with Bacon and White Beans
 Escarole Salad with Melons and Crispy Prosciutto


Taste: Earthy and cabbage-y, like other cruciferous vegetables

Best in: Kales sturdy leaves are excellent sautéed and added to casseroles.

Smart substitutions: collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, or spinach

All-star nutrient: Vitamin A

Body benefit: Vision health

Hard to believe how soft and silky this crinkly, supercrisp leaf turns when cooked. One cup offers more than a day's worth of A (481mcg), nearly double the amount in most other greens.

 Braised Kale with Bacon and Cider
 Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale
 Spinach and Kale Turnovers


Taste: Mildly tangy

Best in: A mixture of baby greens, mesclun is good in raw salads.

Smart substitutions: Arugula, romaine, and spinach.

 Grilled Chicken Breasts on Mesclun
 Mesclun and Romaine Salad with Warm Parmesan Toasts
 Mesclun with Grilled Onion, Apple, and Gruyére Cheese


Taste: Spicy and peppery; the smaller the leaves, the sharper and hotter the taste

Best in: Stir-fries or sautés. To tone down mustard greens' assertiveness, blanch the leaves in salted water before incorporating them in a recipe.

Smart substitutions: Escarole, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach

 Warm Salad of Mustard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas
 Winter Greens and Potato Casserole
 Greens-and-Cheese Pie (Hortopita)