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A greens guide

Can't tell the difference between radicchio and frisee? Here's a primer to help you pick greens at your supermarket and know what they are.

LIGHT GREEN GREENSBelgian endive -- a bitter green with white crunchy leaves. Use mixed with other greens.

Boston -- buttery tasting green with soft pale-green leaves. Use it alone or mixed with other greens.

Bibb -- pale-green leaves on a crispy head of lettuce with a sweetly mild flavor. Use it alone or with other greens.

Chicory -- curly green leaves with a pale-green center. Use this bitter green with other greens (also called endive).

Chinese cabbage -- crinkled pale-green leaves with a delicate taste. Top with pate for a nice appetizer; use with other greens in salad.

Escarole -- crisp soft green leaves with a pale center; mild taste. Use with other greens. Darkest leaves are bitter -- cook them like spinach for best taste.

Frisee -- curly, bitter leaves. Use mixed with other greens.

Green cabbage -- tightly packed head of pale-green leaves that are slightly spicy; eat alone or mixed with other greens.

Iceberg -- tightly packed head of crisp greens that provide a nice crunch in a salad. Use alone or mixed with other greens.


Arugula -- dark greens with sweet, mild-young leaves, and peppery large leaves. Use with other greens.

Beet/dandelion -- long pale to dark green leaves. Pale leaves are mild and should be combined with other greens in a salad. Dark greens are bitter and should be cooked like spinach.

Loose-leaf lettuce -- red and green soft, sweet leaves. Best mixed with other greens.

Mache -- beautifully leafy lettuce with a delicate appearance. Sweet, nutty taste that works well with other greens.

Mesclun -- a mixture of tender, frilly, and young loose-leaf greens. Also called spring mix, mesclun has a mild to bitter taste. Use alone or mix with other greens such as iceberg, leaf lettuce or romaine.

Romaine -- large green leaves that taste sweet and nutty. Use alone or mix with other greens.


Chard -- red and green bitter leaves. Use with other greens.

Watercress -- small round leaves with a spicy hot flavor. Use with other greens.

Kale -- curly dark green leaves with a bitter taste. Use sparingly with other greens or cook.

Radicchio -- ruby-colored leaves with a bittersweet taste. Use with other greens.

Spinach -- long, smooth leaves. Use alone in a spinach salad, or combine with other greens, and cook. Remove stems before eating as they are very bitter.