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Salad Bonanza! How a Simple Swap Can Boost Your Greens....
The spinach alternative: Boston or Bibb lettuce
Soft and silky, butterhead lettuce leaves have a tender texture similar to baby spinach. And if you’re a fan of the former’s mild, rather sweet flavor, you’ll love find a comparable taste in the the—yes—buttery leaves of of Boston or Bibb. With their light green, loosely clustered cupped leaves, every bite yields a dose of Vitamins A and K, as well as potassium, and work equally well in salads or as cups for holding tuna or chicken salad. Just handle it lightly and eat it quickly (the shelf life typically is shorter than spinach’s: about 3-5 days).
How to use it: Don’t add too much or these greens will literally fall flat. Use a light dressing (such as 3 parts red wine vinegar to 2 parts oil, plus dried mustard, salt, sugar and poppy seeds to taste) and mix with a few brightly flavored ingredients like sliced strawberries, candied walnuts, and feta or goat cheese to punch up but not overpower the delicate greens.
The red or green leaf alternative: Kale
Kale, while slightly more bitter than the red and green leaf stalwarts, is just as versatile but more textured (it also has almost double the fiber of green leaf).
How to use it: Kale has a strong flavor, so try pairing it with a robust and creamy tahini dressing (drizzle it over the leaves and let it soak into the leaves for at least 10-15 minutes). Or, combine a few tablespoons of good olive oil with half a lemon’s worth of juice and massage it into the leaves (here, Lisa Oz explains why you should rub the leaves) until the fibers start to soften; then squirt with more lemon juice and a dash of honey. Add avocado, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan to make a superfood salad.
The arugula alternative: Watercress
Arugula is known for its peppery flavor; watercress, an herb that grows in water and is part of the mustard family, also has a little bite. Besides providing many of the vitamins of other greens (such as A, B9 and K), watercress also has anti-carcinogenic properties (this study shows eating watercress daily significantly reduces DNA damage to red blood cells).
How to use it: This zippy green tastes great with a simple coating of oil and rice wine or sherry vinegar. Diced apple, slivered and toasted almonds, and slices of creamy avocado are ideal mix-ins, providing a sweet and mellow contrast to the somewhat sharp-flavored leaves.
The romaine alternative: Swiss chard
Actually part of the beet family, Swiss chard has firm stems; it’s best to cut them away before enjoying the leaves, which are rich in antioxidants, magnesium and calcium. There are different types of chard, with varying degrees of toughness and intensity; stick to the greens with pale stems for salads.
How to use it: Rich ingredients like crumbled gorgonzola, walnuts, raisins and even warm lentils stand up to this hearty leaf. Top with with a little oil mixed with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
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