Guide to Greens

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


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.

 Autumn Apple and Spinach Salad
 Creamed-Spinach Gratin
 Hearty Beef, Pasta, and Spinach Minestrone


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.

 Spicy Swiss Chard with Lemon
 Swiss Chard Spanakopita Casserole
 Ziti with Chard


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

 Turnip Greens
 Sicilian-Style Greens over Polenta
 Turnip Green and Shiitake Mushroom Calzone with Smoked Cheddar


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

 Broccoli, Orange, and Watercress Salad
 Citrus Salad with Shrimp and Watercress
 Roasted Potatoes with Tangy Watercress Sauce