Salad Greens

Leafy greens that are eaten raw in salads are called salad greens, or sometimes colloquially, salad leaves. Though the term usually brings lettuce to mind, plenty of other greens make equally delightful additions to raw salads.

Salad greens are a great source of fiber, vitamins like A, C, D, K, and minerals like potassium and calcium. Most of them are also rich in various B vitamins, including folate. For example, lettuce and spinach are rich in vitamins K and A. Additionally, spinach is a noteworthy magnesium, iron, and folate source.

 Being low in carbs, calories, and sodium also helps make them a healthy food choice.

Salad Greens

List of Different Types of Salad Greens

It is challenging to decide on a single salad green as the ‘healthiest’ because each contains different nutrients that can affect the body differently. The following table lists salad greens based on how commonly they are available, along with information on how much carbs and calories each has. And since a salad is all about its diverse ingredients, it’s crucial to know what to mix with specific greens to truly savor the flavors.

NameCalories per 100gCarbs per 100gFlavor & TextureCombines Well With
Lettuce15 kcal2.9gMild, refreshing, crispTomatoes, Cucumbers, Avocado
Spinach23 kcal3.6gMild, slightly sweet, tenderStrawberries, Feta, Walnuts
Arugula (Rocket)25 kcal3.7gPeppery, nutty, crispParmesan, Pine Nuts, Cherry Tomatoes
Kale49 kcal8.8gEarthy, hearty, chewyApples, Pomegranate Seeds, Almonds
Watercress11 kcal1.3gPeppery, slightly bitter, crispCitrus (Orange, Grapefruit), Goat Cheese, Walnuts
Swiss Chard19 kcal3.7gEarthy, slightly bitter, tenderGarlic, Lemon, Raisins
Radicchio23 kcal4.5gBitter, bold, crunchyGorgonzola, Walnuts, Balsamic Vinaigrette
Endive17 kcal3.3gBitter, crisp, slightly sweetBlue Cheese, Pear, Pecans
Curly Endive (Frisée)18 kcal3.6gBitter, curly, crunchyBacon, Goat Cheese, Apples
Mizuna13 kcal2.2gPeppery, mildSesame Seeds, Soy Sauce, Scallions
Tatsoi22 kcal3.2gMild, spinach-likeGinger, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar
Escarole19 kcal3.4gBitter, broad, tenderWhite Beans, Lemon, Parmesan
Sorrel22 kcal3.7gTangy, lemony, tenderStrawberries, Goat Cheese, Almonds
Chicory23 kcal4.7gBitter, crunchy, slightly sweetBlue Cheese, Pears, Walnuts
Collard Greens32 kcal5.4gRobust, chewy, slightly bitterHam, Black-Eyed Peas, Vinegar
Mustard Greens27 kcal5.8gPeppery, pungent, tenderBacon, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Red Onions
Cabbage25 kcal6gMild, crunchy, denseCarrots, Apples, Ginger
Celtuce (Asparagus Lettuce)15 kcal2.2gMild, crisp, slightly sweetSesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Garlic
Komatsuna (Tender leaves)22 kcal4.7gMild, tender, mustard-likeRice Vinegar, Sesame Seeds, Tofu
Corn Salad (Mâche)16 kcal2.9gNutty, mild, tenderRadishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese
Beet Greens22 kcal4.3gEarthy, slightly bitter, tenderGoat Cheese, Walnuts, Oranges
Dandelion Greens45 kcal9.2gBitter, peppery, crispBlue Cheese, Bacon, Pomegranate Seeds
Bok Choy13 kcal2.2gMild, crisp, juicySoy Sauce, Ginger, Sesame Oil
Napa Cabbage12 kcal2.2gMild, crunchy, slightly sweet
Soy Sauce, Ginger, Garlic

Despite the name, not all salad ‘greens’ are green. Radicchio has a dark purple color, while the red salad bowl lettuce cultivar has an attractive red color. 

Younger or ‘baby’ salad greens, like baby spinach and baby kale, are tenderer and more suitable to be eaten raw in salads.


What are some bitter salad greens? 

Examples of bitter-tasting salad greens include kale, turnip greens, radicchio, collard, and mustard greens. The bitterness is a result of the presence of certain compounds in plants from the Brassica family.

Can you cook salad greens?

Though not the most common way to eat them, salad leaves can be added to stir-fries and braised dishes. It can be an excellent way to use up leftovers. Sautéing the leaves for a few minutes makes for a healthy side dish that goes well with rice, pasta, and grilled dishes. It works especially well for the bitter greens mentioned above, as cooking reduces their bitterness.

Are microgreens considered salad greens?

Microgreens are the same plants as salad greens but in their seedling stage. Unlike baby and mature salad greens, microgreens are harvested within a few days of sprouting and are used as a main ingredient in salads or as a garnish for other dishes.

What are the best salad greens for a Greek salad? 

The traditional recipe for Greek salad does not include any salad greens. It is actually a combination of fresh vegetables and herbs, typically containing cucumber, tomato, olive, and oregano. However, some modern recipes currently include Romaine lettuce.

What salad greens last the longest?

Fresh whole heads of Romaine lettuce, kale, arugula, and spinach are some of the longest-lasting salad greens when stored properly.