Taste: Mildly bitter and earthy
Best in: A wide variety of salads and entrées. Be sure to wash thoroughly-spinach, especially more mature leaves, likes to hang onto grit.
Smart substitutions: For cooked dishes, Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, turnip greens, escarole; arugula in salads
All-star nutrient: Iron
Body benefit: Fatigue fighter
You get a lot of concentrated goodness in a very small serving: A pound of fresh, mild-flavored raw leaves (tender babies or tougher adults) cooks down to 1 cup, boasting a third (6.4mg) of a day's recommended iron.
Taste: Chard is in the same family as beet, so you may detect some beetlike flavor in the ribs. The leaves taste more like intensely flavored spinach.
Best in: Swiss Chard's hearty leaves are excellent added to cooked dishes such as casseroles, stews, and lasagnas.
Smart substitutions: Beet greens or spinach
All-star nutrient: Vitamin K
Body benefit: Better bone health
Sturdy candy-colored ribs have an almost celery-like texture, while the leaves are earthy and slightly sweet. A cup of cooked greens has six times your daily recommended intake (572mcg) of vitamin K. Chard is also naturally high in sodium, so use less salt when cooking.
Taste: Cooked, they're pleasantly pungent and bitter
Best in: Braises, stews, and sautés. Remove the tough central rib before cooking. Cooks often use a mix of turnip greens and milder greens like spinach or collards to soften the bitter flavor. Avoid cooking turnip greens in an aluminum pot or pan, which can give them an off flavor.
Smart substitutions: mustard greens, collards, kale, Swiss chard, spinach
Flavor: Peppery, with a touch of mustard (it's a member of the mustard family)
Best in: Salads, and as a garnish
Smart substitution: Arugula