Leafy greens include various types of lettuce, collard greens and other greens. Most are usually eaten raw but can also be braised, steamed, sautéed or grilled. Lettuce is often used in salads and a mixture of lettuces can be used. Add leafy greens to all types of sandwiches (including hamburgers) and tacos.
Choose lettuce heads that have fresh, clean outer leaves and compact inner leaves. Choose lettuce leaves that are closely bunched, fresh looking and crisp. The general rule of thumb is, the darker the leaves, the more nutritious it is. Lettuce should have fresh, green leaves which are not wilted. Avoid leaves with brown edges or that are slimy. Rinse under clean, running water before eating.
Leaves can be difficult to clean so rinse thoroughly under running water while separating the leaves. Use your hands to gently rub them to help get rid of germs and dirt. Dry on paper towels. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerator for up to one week.
Dark green leafy vegetables are more nutritious because they generally have higher amounts of nutrients, like phytonutrients which can act as antioxidants to help prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Dietary fiber is important for proper bowel function. Fiber also helps provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
- Lettuce leaves can be used as lettuce wraps for seasoned meat and vegetables.
- Greens can also be sautéed in oil and served.
- Leafy greens like collard greens can be braised in vegetable or chicken stock and served as a side or topping for a protein source, like chicken.
- Some greens can even be coated with a little bit of oil, grilled and eaten in a salad.
Download Handouts & Recipe Cards
Check out these handouts and recipe cards. You can download and print these resources to use in your educational programs. The first page of each handout has general information about the produce item. The second page includes different recipe options. Recipe cards print 4 recipes per page. The first page includes the photo of the recipe and the second page includes ingredients and directions.