Tired of the Same Leafy Greens? How About Alternatives?
Leafy green vegetables are in!
Long gone are the days of boring iceberg lettuce salads.
Salads and other veggie side dishes have had a complete makeover in the last decade. Greens are, now, the star attraction! And, greens play center stage for good reason.
For one, having lots of veggies in your meal plan accelerates weight loss. For another, the health benefits are almost an endless list. But, with all of these newfangled leafy greens to choose from, it’s hard to know what to buy. It’s even painful to pronounce half of them!
And that’s why LadyBoss is sharing our favorite unique leafy greens list with you.
List of 8 Alternative Leafy Green Vegetables You Can Include in Your Diet
Our list of easy-to-prepare veggies will spice up your meal plan and add powerful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (anti-cancer agents) to your plate. If you’re looking for a delicious way to boost your immune system, enjoy more energizing foods, have natural fiber in your diet, and lose inches, we have suggestions for you.
Indian Spinach, the Tender Leafy Green Vegetable
First up on our list of leafy green vegetables is Indian Spinach.
You might also see this tender young leaf vegetable labeled Basella Alba, Malabar, or Ceylon Spinach. Its pleasant mild taste works excellent in raw salads and sandwiches. Use Indian Spinach as a side dish by sautéing it for just a few minutes, then combine it with your favorite rice.
A word of caution, be careful not to overcook Indian Spinach, or it will get slimy. But, don’t let this change in texture deter you! Instead—use it to your advantage by adding it to soups or curries as a natural thickening agent.
If you’re looking for a way to get a whopping eight servings of greens on days that you can’t gulp downloads of veggies, use LadyBoss® GREENS, it tastes like fresh-baked apple pie, and each scoop has your entire day’s worth of fruits and vegetables!
Bok Choy, the Mild Leafy Green Vegetable
Next up is Bok Choy, a.k.a., Chinese White Cabbage. We at LadyBoss like to call Bok Choy an, “entry-level leafy green,” because of its delightful crisp texture and mild flavor.
My favorite way to use Bok Choy is as a side dish recipe. Or, I like to make a snack out of it because of its bright color, a crunchy raw slaw, for example.
It takes just a few minutes to slice Bok Choy thinly and marinate it in a healthy oil and vinegar dressing. Add some shredded carrot and your favorite seeds, and you have a go-to side dish or a snack that lasts in the fridge for up to five days.
To cook bok choy, a great place to start is adding it to stir fry. Remove the bottom rind, slice both stems and leaves into 1/4 inch sections and toss it in with your other veggies—it plays nicely with most other flavors. One of the things I love most about Bok Choy is that it’s ripest during winter months when other veggies are past their prime growing season.
Rapini, the Mildly Bitter Leafy Green Veggie
For you green lovers out there who enjoy a slightly bitter taste, Broccoli Rabe or Rapini is a must-have.
A real-deal, old-school Italian restaurant in NYC introduced me to broccoli rabe. The restaurant served grilled, buttered-and-salted rapini. The flavor was divine, so assertive that I could have eaten it alone as a main dish.
Cooking rapini mellows the bitterness. But even cooked, rapini maintains its hearty crunch. Use the entire plant — the leaves, florets, and thin stalks— when you prepare rapini. You can enjoy it not only because it’s so delicious but also because of rapini’s health benefits. It’s high in vitamins and fiber, and studies have shown that rapini can be useful for your brain!
Endive (Witlof), the Delicately Bitter Leafy Green Vegetable
The same NYC Italian restaurant turned me on to my all-time favorite salad: the tri-color salad. It’s a combination of arugula, endive, and radicchio. First, let’s talk about endives. Then, we’ll take a look at radicchio.
Endive is part of the chicory family. It grows in dark conditions and has a very mild bitterness. To add endive to a salad, slice it up and voila! It’s ready to go.
If you’re looking for a simple but elegant appetizer, chop off the bottom of the endive and pull the leaves apart. Now you’ve got a spear for dipping or a boat that you can fill with chicken salad, herbed goat cheese, and walnuts (or whatever else your heart desires).
A quick way to cook endive is to slice the entire plant in half – don’t remove the bottom of the spears will come apart. Rub on a little oil and salt, then grill them cut side down. It’s incredible how food so simple can taste so good.
If you can’t stomach the taste of Endive, LadyBoss® GREENS will be your new best friend. With eight servings of fruits and veggies in a single scoop, it is the answer to your greens prayers! Plus, it tastes like fresh apple pie!
Radicchio, the Almost-Spicy Leafy Green
It’s on to radicchio, often called Italian Chicory.
Because of its bright wine-red color, radicchio has the same appearance of red cabbage. But the two have very different tastes and textures. Red cabbage has a milder flavor and thicker crunchier leaves while radicchio has delicate, thin leaves and a little more spice to its flavor.
Radicchio works beautifully in the tri-colored salad I mentioned earlier because of its distinctive bitter taste. A little bit goes a long way. You’ll find that it comes in tiny heads and has a good shelf life in the refrigerator.
Kerguelen Cabbage (Pringlea), the Uniquely Flavored Leafy Green
If you’re interested in a new flavor sensation, look for Kerguelen Cabbage.
This veggie’s name comes from the Kerguelen Islands off the Southern Indian Ocean. Its gentle yellowy-green leaves are vitamin c-rich, that being the reason colonial-period sailors used it to prevent scurvy. Enjoy it thinly sliced and raw in salads.
Sow Thistle, the Strong-Flavored, Leafy Veggie
If you’re into Chinese cuisine, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten sow thistle.
This hearty green has a bitter taste and is best boiled. Foragers love this vitamin-packed plant because it grows like a weed. If you saw it, you could easily mistake it for a dandelion. The Sow Thistle Flower has bright yellow spiky petals and arrow-shaped leaves.
A word of advice, the younger the leaves, the milder the taste, so look for smaller leaves.
Dandelion Greens, the Nutrient-Packed and Disrespected
And speaking of Dandelions, this brings us to the last-but-not-least favorite on our alternative green leafy list.
Dandelions greens are a superfood. Used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese Medicine, most Westerners treat them like the plague every spring and summer.
The potential health benefits range from being great for your blood pressure to your bone density. They contain vitamins A, C, K, E, and B as well as minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. That’s a nutritional powerhouse!
But if you use chemical pesticides on your lawn, please don’t eat the dandelions from your yard! Enjoy Dandelion greens finely chopped and tossed raw into salad or cooked into a chili or soup.
Health Benefits of Leafy Greens
The next time you head to the produce section, branch out of your comfort zone and look for these mighty leafy green vegetables to bring more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and flavor to your table. By adding a wide variety of green vegetables to your meal plan, you’ll create new healthy, colorful, and delicious dishes that you and your body will love!
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