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Let’s Grow! Leafy Greens Are More Than Just Spinach, Kale

When you think of leafy green vegetables, you probably think of spinach, romaine lettuce or kale, but explore one of the other options, such as arugula, cabbage, collard greens, microgreens, Swiss chard and bok choy.

Many people associate leafy greens as the base to a salad, but be creative with the many other ways to enjoy these vegetables.



Arugula oftentimes is used raw in salads, but it also can be added on top of pizzas or mixed into pesto. Its slightly peppery and tart flavor pairs well with cheeses and citrus flavors.


Bok Choy

Bok choy is slightly sweeter than spinach and has slightly peppery undertones. Bok choy increases in bitterness as it matures, so baby bok choy may be a good option if you don’t like the bitterness. Bok choy is great in salads, soups and stir-fries.



Kale is common in salads. Because of its sturdiness, many people prefer it cooked, either sautéed or steamed, to make it softer. It goes well in soups, or you even can roast kale to make crunchy kale chips.

Kale is considered to be very nutrient dense. It provides more than 600% of the recommended daily value for vitamin K, more than 200% of the daily value for vitamin A and about 125% of the daily value for vitamin C.



Unlike other leafy green vegetables, microgreens aren’t normally used as a base for salad, but instead they are more of a garnish. They have a peppery and earthy taste and are great on top of pizza, added to stir-fry or included in a sandwich or wrap.



Many leafy green vegetables, especially spinach, are high in magnesium, which the body needs for proper nerve and muscle function, to help keep strong bones and maintain or lower blood pressure. Try adding spinach to your smoothie, mixed into pasta dishes, stir-fried with garlic or added to soup.


Swiss Chard

Swiss chard leaves are similar in flavor and texture to spinach, but they are slightly more bitter. Swiss chard can be eaten raw in a salad or sautéed with your favorite seasonings.


For more information on safely growing, processing and selling specialty crops in North Dakota, visit NDSU Extension’s Field to Fork website at


Abigail Glaser, Program Assistant, NDSU Extension




Mikstas, C. (Oct. 4, 2018). Leafy Greens to Get to Know. Retrieved from


U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Aug. 13, 2016). Dark Green Leafy Vegetables. Retrieved from

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