Boring? Only if you eat iceburg. Ick. I’m talking about green leaf, red leaf, butter, romaine, Boston Bibb, etc. My favorite right now, because I’m growing it in my garden, is red leaf. It is sweet and tender while the weather is still mild. OMG, a salad of just red leaf, baby arugula, and some sprouts dressed with lemon vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper. Um um. Add some olive tapenade and toasted pine nuts and I’m singing!
Not Just Filler
Most people think of lettuce as a carrier or filler. These tender spring greens pack a nutritional wallop! Looking at the macro nutrient profile, you would think a cup of shredded red leaf would have no nutritional value, but look closer. There are only 4 calories, which come from a tiny amount of fat, carbs, and protein. If your salad contains three cups of red leaf you will get 1.2g of protein. Also in every cup of red leaf lettuce You will get 42% of your DV of vitamin A, and 39% DV of vitamin K. You will also get about 1% DV of every known vitamin and mineral.
Darker is Better
Like all vegetables, color matters when it comes to lettuce. Of course, the darker the greens, the higher the nutrient content. Try to avoid iceberg and go for at least Romaine. A salad of mixed types of greens is tastier, prettier, and has a variety of nutrients.
Crank Up the Power
Think of sprouts, spinach and arugula as lettuce. Toss them in the salad mix for a boost of protein, sulphoraphane (cancer killers), vitamins, fiber, and minerals. They will make a salad prettier and tastier too.
Keep it Light
These spring greens are so tender and sweet they don’t need a heavy dressing. A splash of vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil with a little salt and pepper will be fine. I am a big fan of flavored vinegars. I have a delightful little oil and vinegar boutique in my town. I find them everywhere I go. You probably have one too. Just look for a store with big silver urns lining the walls. They let customers taste before they buy. My grocery store has some too. I like fig, pomegranate, lemon, blueberry, strawberry…well, I haven’t found many that I don’t like. TeeHee. These flavored vinegars are so tasty, I rarely use olive oil, which saves at least 100 calories per meal.
Hope this inspires you to get creative with your salad for the next few weeks while these greens are at their peak.