Salad Days: A Review of 14 Popular Foodie Greens

In thinking about salad greens we know and love, and those we don’t know so well but might also love, I wondered how best to compare them. Should I rate different salad staples according to my own opinions? I thought back to the obsessive watercress phase I went through or my fondness for crunchy, butterleaf lettuce during the previous spring.

Perhaps I could traverse the menus of restaurants in our favorite cities to see what’s hot or not. Remember when dandelion greens were all the rage, and wild nettles were obligatory pizza toppings? Then I actually began researching menus, and the (not-so-surprising) favorites turned out to be the classic standards – romaine, arugula, mixed greens and spinach. But what about those other greens that show up on one’s plate at gourmet establishments and foodie havens?

In the end, I couldn’t help but take a look at a large swath of greens in the garden patch. Ultimately, foodie green inspiration should mainly come from the freshest, seasonal greens that can be found. Without further ado, let’s review.

1. Watercress

Watercress gets high marks from me. Why? It may stem from the fact that my local corner market sells it in its entirety – leaves and roots in water – so it’s absolutely fresh when I’m ready to use it. I can pull it from the fridge and cut the stems as though it were from my garden outside. Also, watercress is “leafy” enough to feel like a salad, but “stemmy” enough to look fancy.