All About Every Healthy Salad Green You'll Ever Want to Use

From dark leafy greens to highly hydrating iceberg, we’ve got the scoop on salads

Spinach just may be the healthiest, most nutritionally valuable vegetable ever.

You know the basics on dark, leafy greens. Spinach, kale, and arugula are incredibly healthy and can be eaten in boundless quantities, and many salad bar lettuces like iceberg aren’t quite as healthy (read nutrient-dense) as their trendy counterparts. But what about something like endive? Is endive nutritious, too?

Click here for All About Every Healthy Salad Green You’ll Ever Want to Use.

First, let's discuss some edible leaf basics in order to prime you for the following greens descriptions: Loose and open leaf lettuces like romaine, butterhead, and red leaf lettuce have darker colors than, say, iceberg. The darker the leaf, the more able it is to absorb sunlight. Just like humans can get valuable vitamin D from sunlight, darker leaves can synthesize more vitamins from the sun, resulting in the appearance of more nutrients. Thus, the darker leaves on the list should inherently contain more cancer-fighting antioxidants and valuable vitamins and minerals.

If you decided to try these greens in a salad (perhaps in one of our 50 Sensational Salad Recipes), we suggest rinsing them in cold water first. Compared to other vegetables, leafy greens have a greater tendency to accumulate dirt and other nasty substances in the nooks and crannies of their folds. (And don't think that just because something is organic it needn't be washed; manure is organic — need we say more?)


Get your salad bowl out, because we’ve got an extensive list of the greens you can use in salads, and we’ll tell you a little bit about the nutritional value of each one, too.