Growing unusual greens can add unique textures and plenty of flavor to your plate. Salads—they can be an entrée, side, full course meal, and, with the addition of fruit, can even satisfy a sweet tooth. But would you want it any other way?Flavor pairings: Since the textural leaves pack so much in the way of flavor, heavy dressings aren’t necessary—try a sweet and tangy balsamic-honey vinaigrette and add sliced pear, chopped walnuts, and shaved parmesan to your salad bowl. This is a very light tasting green similar to other lettuces and goes well paired with most other salad ingredients. Meal Prep Inspo “Also great as a salad or on top of a sandwich, the size of these lettuce leaves makes them a great bread replacement for anyone looking to go low-carb,” says Kennedy. Its ribs are equally as crunchy, but there’s added texture, flavor and nutrients in the leaves. Any more leafy questions on your mind or personal tips to share? Look for an acidic dressing at the store or learn Kale salads can be tricky; the tough leaves need a little care. We at Kitchen Stories like to think of romaine as the classier iceberg. These delicate, buttery-tasting leaves grow in clustered sprigs. There are no hard and fast rules, as the addition of any second textures will lift the iceberg to its…peak. Frisée is a challenge to grow due to having to “blanch” the leaves. The toughest and most nutritious of the leafy greens, kale—which is technically a brassica and therefore a cousin to broccoli—requires a little softening up before it’s salad ready. Beef & Spinach Quesadillas with Smoky Ranch-Dressed Salad. The leaves of a sweet potato plant are not only delicious but highly nutritious as well. When cooked, the bitterness will mellow out slightly. Nasturtium leaves offer a peppery flavor similar to its flowers. Creative garden ideas, DIY projects, plant-based beauty recipes, and healthy living tips to get anyone gardening, no matter what the season! Sweet potatoes are heat-loving plants and grow prolifically. Tastes like: an earthier, sweeter version of kale. Also known as curly endive, the “green” gets its pale color form being shielded from light during the growing process. If you can’t find them at the store, forage the greens from an area that you know is pesticide free. Tastes like: peppery radish. It’s time to shake up your salads! In her free time (when there is such a thing), she is in the garden or hidden away reading the latest post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama! Here are some of my favorite unusual salad greens to try in your next salad: Yes, the leaves from the infamous yellow lawn invader. Green Leaf or Red Leaf Lettuce These two types of lettuce are packed with bright leafy flavor. You’ll also find young Romaine lettuce on the market as ‘baby gem lettuce’.Flavor pairings: Like iceberg, Romaine does well with creamier dressings—try a classic Caesar dressing or Pan-fried Steak Salad. Learn More, © Garden Therapy, 2009-2020. Although it can be difficult to find at your local grocer on its own, it can be purchased commercially in prepacked spring mixes. The result will be milder, greener leaves. For a main dish salad, add chicken. They grow quickly and can be harvested when the plants are young and tender, and many will grow well in cold frames or undercover in the winter, making these a great choice for year-round gardening. Learn how your comment data is processed. With its crunchy white ribs and wavy green leaves, you’d be forgiven for confusing escarole for a lettuce. Learn More. The crunchiest, juiciest (and some say ‘boring-est’) of salad leaves. Knowing the properties of different types of lettuces can help you turn your salad into something altogether more interesting and substantial in taste and texture.But, let's be clear about something, the term ‘salad greens' is a little misleading: some types, like dark leafy greens and bitter lettuce varieties can really take the heat and be slightly sautéed, stirred through warm dishes, and—hello Romaine lettuce—grilled!Before we delve deeper, the golden rules for common salad greens are as follows:Milder leaves need bolder dressings and should be paired with more brightly flavored leavesSturdier leaves can take the heat and be grilled, sautéed or added to warm dishesFlavorsome or bitter leaves pair well with fruit, nuts and cheeseLeaves with a lower water content pair well with fruit, which will add texture and juiceHere’s what to do with the most common salad leaves—lettuces, salad greens, and bitter members of the endive family: Butterhead lettuce gets its name from its soft, delicate leaves. Prep your kale salad an hour before your meal and massage the dressing into the leaves to soften them a bit. This mild, buttery tasting heirloom lettuce has splashes of red on the leaves that give it an appealing look both in the garden and on your plate. Make them front and center in your salad. I can’t wait to try some of the greens you mentioned here. Dandelion greens are highly nutritious (read more about that here). Tastes like: a slightly stronger version of Sweet Basil. We won't send you either. Like anything under the endive/chicory umbrella (more on the confusing terminology below), you can expect bitterness. And I must admit that I’m quite guilty for mostly growing heads of lettuce since they’re the ones I’m most familiar with. But the best part is that many of these unusual salad greens are very easy to grow!