Our 10 Favorite Spring Leafy Greens To Grab At The Farmstand

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(Last Updated On: April 9, 2022)

Spring has arrived with its abundant sunshine, warmer days, vibrant flowers, and of course, fresh leafy greens. It’s time to go to the farmstand and try as many fresh leafy greens as you can. We have listed down our favorite spring leafy greens and how to use them in your cooking.

10 Best Leafy Greens To Try This Spring

  • Escarole
escarole in the garden

Escarole comes from the chicory family and is considered a broad-leaved endive. It has broad, curly outer leaves with crumpled edges and lighter, more tender inner leaves. The outer leaves taste slightly bitter while the inner leaves are sweeter. This vegetable is rich in fiber and nutrients like copper, folate, vitamins A, C, and K.

How To Use: The outer leaves of escarole is perfect for sautés, stir fries, pastas, and soups since cooking it mellows out the bitter notes. The inner leaves are a great addition to salads and can be roasted or grilled as well.

  • Asparagus

Have you tried fresh asparagus? Fresh asparagus is tender and delicious unlike the fibrous and overpriced out-of-season ones. Asparagus has very little calories but is packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

How To Use: You can never go wrong with roasted asparagus, but you could also use it in salads, pastas, sandwiches, stir-fry with other vegetables, omelets, soups, or as toppings for pizzas.

  • Arugula

Arugula or rocket is related to broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Its narrow, wavy leaves, when young, have a distinct pepper, spicy flavor, while mature leaves have a bitter taste. Arugula is rich in fiber and nutrients like calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K.

How To Use: Arugula is great when eaten raw. Feel free to use it in salads, as pizza topping, in sandwiches and wraps, or use as side dish to steaks.

fresh artichokes
  • Artichokes

Artichokes are the buds of a flower harvested before it blooms. Artichokes are sold as bulbs covered in prickly leaves. However, the only edible part of this is the choke which is at its base. These have a sweet, earthy taste and tender texture that people love. It’s also packed with nutrients and fiber.

How To Use: Preparing the artichoke is a bit complicated, but once you get to its heart, you can add it to stews, pasta, roasts, and pizza, or roast or fry and serve with dips.

  • Pea Shoots

Pea shoots can come from various pea plants—snow peas, English peas, or sugar snap peas. They are the young leaves, stems, and tendrils of the pea plants, which are harvested just before they become peas. Pea shoots are crisp and have a sweet, slightly grassy flavor. Aside from having low calories, carbohydrates, and fats, pea shoots contain an abundance of vitamins A, vitamins C, folic acid, and antioxidants.

How To Use: Pea shoots are great stir-fried with other vegetables, sautéed with garlic, or added to salads.

Fresh washed swiss chard leaves in a metal colander on a kitchen table
  • Swiss Chard

Although Swiss chard is a leafy green, it is a member of the beet family. This explains its reddish green leaf blade and usually beet red stem. This leafy green is also a great source of antioxidants and vitamin E. Swiss chard has a bitter taste when eaten raw, but this becomes mildly sweet once cooked.

How To Use: Swiss Chard can be eaten raw so it can be added to salads or used as a tortilla wrap. However, if you don’t like its bitter taste, you can use it in stir fries, soups, omelets.

  • Bok Choy

Bok choi or pak choi is a type of non-heading cabbage native to China. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine due to its mild sweet, peppery flavor. You can identify bok choi from its rounded, sometimes curly or frilly leaves and short light green stems. Bok choi contains a lot of fiber. It is also a great source of calcium, vitamin K, and potassium.

How To Use: Bok choi is a versatile vegetable. It’s great for stir fries, steamed, grilled, or even added to dumpling filling. You can cook it alone or combine with various meats.  

  • Leeks
fresh leeks

Leeks come from the family of garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. You probably can tell that from leeks’ sweet, onion-like flavor. These are often confused with scallions, but they are taller and have much broader leaves. Part of its stalk is white, which holds a lot of flavor, much like its leafy part. Like most leafy greens, leeks have low calories but are high in antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

How To Use: Leeks are quite versatile and can elevate the depth of your cooking. In Asian countries, leeks are often treated like onions and shallots. They are sautéed with other aromatics or added toward the end for additional flavor. So, it’s great for stir fries, stews, and soups. However, you could also add these to pastas for flavor or roast them alone.

  • Collard Greens

Collard greens are characterized by their large leaves and tough stems. They are of the same family as cabbage, turnips, and mustards. These leafy vegetables are a staple in Southern US cuisine. Collard greens have a light bitterness to it but cooking it reveals a subtle earthy flavor. This leafy green is a good source of calcium, fiber, folate, vitamins like A, B, C, and K.

How To Use: Collard greens are best when cooked for a long period, which renders it soft and earthy. In Southern cuisine, collard greens are used in soups and braised dishes, but they can also be stir fried with minimal seasoning.

fresh leafy greens from a hydroponic system
  • Baby Spinach

Everyone loves spinach, but a less popular but equally delicious version of spinach is also available—baby spinach. Baby spinach is just spinach harvested early, about 15 to 35 days after planting. These have smaller, more tender leaves and a sweeter flavor.

How To Use: Baby spinach is pretty much like regular spinach, only the taste and texture vary. You can use baby spinach for salads, stir fries, sautés, pastas, stews, sauces, and soups.

Learn more about healthy food options at Eat Café.

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