Get your greens: Choosing the right lettuce for summertime salads
June 10, 2013
By Katie Walsh
With farmers markets in full swing, it’s the perfect time to make a delicious summer salad. But with so many different types of greens available, it’s tough to know which ones to pick. Use our handy guide to match up flavors and put together a salad that positively rocks your plate.
With a taste that’s peppery instead of bitter, arugula is one of our favorite greens. It’s also one of the healthiest, sporting a high concentration of vitamins and minerals — including A, B, C and K, which is critical in helping bones absorb calcium.
Arugula’s peppery taste means it performs well with red meat in sandwiches and salads. We like pairing it with vinaigrette dressings, and arugula can also be used to make pesto for an easy, veggie-based pasta dish.
Big and beautiful, butter lettuce is sure to catch the eye while grocery shopping. With a taste that’s a bit sweet and — you guessed it — buttery, this lettuce comes in two varieties: Boston and bibb. Butter lettuce is rich in potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K, among other nutrients.
Butter lettuce’s soft leaves make it perfect for salads. Try mixing it with romaine and adding fruit, pecans and the dressing of your choice (we like poppyseed) for a delicious summertime meal.
Funky in shape, frisée (also known as chicory) tends to pop up in restaurant salads and as a garnish on other dishes. You’ll recognize it by its white, yellow and green coloring and the fact that it’s quite difficult to maneuver onto a fork.
Frisée is high in vitamins A, C and K and has a bitter taste. Pair it with aggressive vinaigrettes, such as sherry or balsamic, or throw it into a salad mix with other greens to temper the bitterness.
When looking for a salad green, you can’t go wrong with spinach. Rich in color, spinach ranks among the world’s healthiest foods and is loaded with nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It has an oh-so-slight bitterness, but overall is fairly mild in flavor.
Spinach remains a king among salads, and its hearty texture means you can add lots of other veggies and toppings without the greens getting lost in the chaos. When you want to splurge, try a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing — it’s positively divine.