What's that green? Your guide to the winter leafies!
The trees are bare and the cold has set in, but salad-lovers need not despair … Green can still be found everywhere! Here are some favorite winter greens you can cozy up to.
Everyone loves arugula! It’s fresh and peppery and coming to a winter salad near you. Grown in the mediterranean since Roman times, this green has a long history in Italian cooking. We love it atop a pie (try this Arugula-Prosciutto Pizza) or with beets, goat cheese and walnuts (like this salad here)!
When raw, it’s sweet and creamy tasting and crunchy. When cooked, the flavor turns buttery and earthy. Savoy and Napa varieties hold their own in salads (try a Shredded Cabbage Salad with Apples and Curry), and try any kind souped-up or sauteed (try this Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage or Cabbage Roll Soup).
A close relative to cabbage (the name "collard" comes from the word "colewort" - the wild cabbage plant) these greens are thick and slightly bitter. They’re grown year-round, but are actually tastier and more nutritious after the first frost! Collards are usually cooked up into a classic southern side (a must have at the Thanksgiving table) but have raw uses, too … like in these Hummus Collard Wraps.
Escarole slightly resembles butter lettuce but is larger and sturdier. It’s crunchy, bitter, and very green. It’s sturdy enough to cook and compliments bold ingredients well. Try Escarole with Bacon and White Beans or Sautéed Escarole with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Capers.
Kale’s versatility and health benefits make it a winter staple! Its texture and ideal use vary - the dark, flatter leaves are great in salads (try this Simple Lacinato Kale Salad with Walnuts, Bacon, and Lemon Dressing); the ruffly varieties are a good choice for soups, stews or sautéing ( try Red Russian Kale and Chorizo Soup).
This Asian green has a mild, peppery flavor (like arugula but less so) and is frilly like frisee lettuce. We see both green and purple varieties. Try this Mizuna Quinoa Salad with Lemon Scallion Vinaigrette or Miso Noodle Soup.
7. Mustard greens
The flavor and purpose of your mustard green depends greatly on the variety: The classic mustard green with large, curled leaves has an intense bite when raw, and is therefore ideal for cooking (try Basic Cooked Mustard Greens). The red, flat-leafed variety and the greens with delicate, frilly, spiky leaves are milder - these have the perfectly perky personality to throw in a salad (just be sure you pair them with bolder ingredients, like spicy meats or vinegar- or ginger- based dressings (Mustard Greens Salad with Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes).
This “green” is actually a brilliant magenta. It looks similar to red cabbage but is looser-leafed and more tender, with white ribs. It can be sliced up raw for salads, but really shines when cooked a bit. Try this Roasted Balsamic Radicchio recipe or Grilled Sausages and Radicchio.
Broccoli rabe, or rapini, has spiked leaves that surround small clusters of broccoli-esque buds. The flavor is strong - slightly nutty and bitter - and the whole stalk is edible. Perfect in pasta (try Penne with Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Peppers and White Beans) or as a sautéed side (Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe).
10. Swiss chard
Nutritious and endlessly colorful, chard’s thick leaves can be sauteed with onion and corn as part of a hearty vegetarian main course (see Swiss Chard and Chipotle Tacos or Sesame Barley Greens with Teriyaki Tofu) or more simply in a salad (Rainbow Chard and Fennel Salad With Chopped Pistachios).
Tatsoi’s dark green, spoon-shaped leaves are nutritious and hardy - they can even be harvested from under the snow! Its flavor is sweet and gently spicy when raw (try a Tatsoi Salad with Warm Maple Dressing), and turns warm and earthy, similar to spinach, when cooked (Gingery Sauteed Tatsoi with Tofu Steaks).
12. Curly Endive (or Frisee)
This green’s unmistakable appearance features spiky, skinny, curly, branches that roll out from yellow to green. They’re most commonly seen in salads - like this Frisee Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Hazelnuts or Frisée Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs.