All You Need to Know About Salad Leaves
Salad is the most favorite menu for people who are on a diet because this is healthy and versatile. Salad can be served combined with other foods such as meat, poultry, seafood or fruit. Moreover, salad leaves are a great source of vitamins, especially A, C, and K. Many are high in iron; some even have surprising amounts of calcium.
If you want to know deeply the benefits of salad leaves for health, here’s the complete information of salad leaves, which includes details about different varieties of salad leaves as well as information about its nutrition.
What kinds of salad leaves are there?
There are many types of salad leaves, but the most commonly used are:
Lettuce is renowned for its mild, sometimes even sweet flavor that goes well with just about anything. Lettuce grows in all shapes and sizes, but generally falls into 4 different types:
Iceberg lettuce is also known as crisphead which is valued more for its crunchy texture than for its flavor. It is typically eaten cold and raw in salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, and in many other dishes. Iceberg lettuce can be very satisfying when garnished with a heavy dressing such as Buttermilk-Blue Cheese.
The heads consist of long pale-green leaves that are crisp in texture. Romaine pairs well with other crunchy salad ingredients such as cucumbers and onions, as well as fruit and nuts. It is commonly used in Caesar salad. Romaine is best served with creamy dressings or dressings that have some richness.
Butterhead lettuces have small, round, loosely formed heads with soft, buttery-textured leaves ranging from pale green on the outer leaves to progressively smaller pale yellow green on the inner leaves. The flavor is sweet and succulent. There are 2 main varieties of butterhead lettuce. The first is Boston or butter lettuce and the second is Bibb or Kentucky limestone. Both varieties lend themselves to lighter dressings because of their soft texture and mild flavor.
This variety of lettuce does not form a compact head. The leaves on a head of loose-leaf lettuce arrange themselves around a central stalk and are generally large and curly. The leaves are soft, tender, and mild in flavor. Loose leaf varieties include red leaf, green leaf, Ruby, and Oakleaf. In the market, look for heads with firm leaves and no signs of discoloration, slime, or spotting. The dressing should not overpower these delicately flavored greens, so choose something mild or creamy.
Kale is a dark green, leafy vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. It doesn’t form a head, but it does have a mild cabbage taste. It has a strong, earthy taste with a little spice and slightly bitter flavor. Choose young small leaves for the best flavor.
Mizuna is a type of salad leaf which is very popular in Asia, especially in Japan. It is also known as Asian Mustard Green. The leaf is quite like Arugula, but it is more pointed and slenderer. The taste is bland and slightly spicy like pepper, so it is suitable to be served with a fresh and sour vinaigrette sauce. In Japan, Mizuna is also often served as a flavor enhancer in soups.
Spinach comes in large bunched leaves with stems and needs to be well rinsed as it tends to be very sandy. It has a light herbal taste and makes it so easy to tuck into salads, wraps, and smoothies. There are a few varieties out there, but the spinach most of us are familiar with–both smaller-leaved baby spinach and full-grown spinach–has smooth, sturdy, deep green leaves.
Arugula is also called rocket or rucola. When young, the dark green leaves are small and tender, but as they mature, they become large and a bit tough. It has peppery and a little nutty taste. The best dressings for arugula are citrus-based or those enhanced with sweeter vinegars like balsamic. Arugula commonly used as pizza toppings, canapes, and salad filling.
Watercress has small round dark-green leaves on crunchy stems. It’s peppery flavor gives a distinctly piquant punch to salads. Pair with citrus dressing to get the perfect taste.
How many calories and nutrients in salad leaves?
Calories in salad leaves mostly low but high in nutrients and volume, which can be helpful if you’re trying to manage your weight. Some of the most nutritious salad leaves are spinach, kale, romaine, watercress, and arugula. They are rich in a combination of vitamins A, C, and K; several B vitamins (including folate); and potassium.
However, some salad leaves are not nutrient powerhouses. For example, iceberg lettuce; it contains folate and vitamin A, but is otherwise known for being the least nutrient-dense green leaf salad. For better nutrients, you need to mix it with other salad leaves.
|Nutrients Levels in Salad Leaves|
|Nutrient levels shown are for one cup of raw salad leaves. Remember: it takes two cups of leaves to make the nutritional equivalent of one cup of vegetables.|
|Vitamin A (IU)||237||1,598||4,094||2,813||1,085|
|Vitamin C (mg)||1.5||19||2||8||14|
|Vitamin K (mcg)||11||113||48||144||85|
|Note: g = grams; IU = International Units; mcg = micrograms; mg = milligrams.
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
That’s Complete Information of Salad Leaves (Types of Salad, Lettuce, Different Salad, and Calories). I hope you get more information about all the easy cooking recipes that you can make at home. There is a lot more information about it in Cookcan. So, don’t miss it! If you have some questions or want to add additional information please put the comment below.