I don’t like kale. There I’ve said it. The food industry has latched onto kale as it’s superstar health food, and it is everywhere. You see kale salads, kale on sandwiches, kale as filling in frozen food entrees. The market is oversaturated with kale. But many people don’t like the taste and texture of kale. It’s like the punishment you make yourself eat when you’re on a diet. That’s why I’ve created a list of 10 greens to eat instead of kale.
You’d think kale was the healthiest green on the planet. But on a list of the healthiest foods by nutrient density, kale is not even in the top 5. That’s not to say that kale isn’t good for you. It is. But there are healthier — and in my opinion — more palatable greens available. If you are not a fan of kale, this list is for you.
10 Greens To Eat Instead of Kale
Watercress – Lovely little watercress is the number one superfood. It really is the healthiest green on the planet. I love watercress. It has a light peppery flavor, similar to arugula but milder. You can toss it into salads, stir it into risotto and pasta dishes, blend it into smoothies, and make those cute little sandwiches next time you have the Queen over for tea.
Watercress is packed with nutrients such as Vitamins K, A, C, B6, fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, magnesium, folate, beta-carotene…I’m out of breath. Let’s just say it’s the number one superfood in nutrient density for a reason.
Swiss chard – I adore chard. I love its mild flavor that is similar to spinach but more delicate. You can eat the leaves and the stems. They have two completely different textures so it’s like getting two vegetables for the price of one. Chard can come with red, yellow, or white stalks. Sometimes you’ll see mixed bundles in the supermarket called rainbow chard. I’m not sure why it’s called “Swiss” chard. The vegetable is not native to Switzerland, but is a Mediterranean plant.
Mustard greens – The leaves of the mustard plant are another great green alternative. There are several kinds of mustard greens. I first had mustard greens in a Chinese restaurant and I fell in love. It had tough stems with delicate leaves and a delicious flavor. I found a leafier type of mustard green in the supermarket that is easier to prepare and has a peppery flavor. I can’t always find mustard greens at the store, but when I see them I scoop them up.
Dandelion greens – They may look like a weed, and you may not like to see them on your lawn, but the entire dandelion plant is edible. The leaves are especially nice. They have a bitter flavor and can be used to wake up a salad, be cooked on their own, or incorporated into pasta dishes. I’ve even enjoyed them with eggs.
Turnip greens – You often see turnips on their own in supermarkets, but the greens are also edible and make a great side dish. The stems and leaves have a spicy, peppery flavor similar to mustard greens. Use them to zest up a salad or cook them to get a milder flavor.
Collard greens – Collards have hearty leaves and stems, with a texture similar to kale, but with a better flavor in my opinion. I love to stuff them with leftovers like beans or risotto. You can also chop them up and add them to stews and soups, or eat them by themselves. They can be eaten raw in salads and slaws. They’re very versatile. You can use collards in any recipe that calls for kale.
Beet greens – Beets are amazing. You can eat the beetroot and the greens. They come in red or golden. The red ones have a very strong color that can die almost anything it comes in contact with. The beet greens are easier to handle. They have a similar mild flavor to spinach and chard. When the leaves are young you can add them to salads, when they get larger it’s best to cook them.
Spinach – I love the taste of spinach. It makes a great salad green, and is also lovely cooked. Put it on sandwiches, make spinach fritters, add it to soups, risottos, eat it on its own, or add it to smoothies. Spinach is very sandy when bought fresh and needs to be cleaned well. You can also buy it frozen. I use it in my recipe for veggie burgers.
Broccoli rabe – I think of this as a very Italian vegetable. You’ll see it often on Italian restaurant menus as rapini. You can eat the leaves, buds, and stems. The buds look similar to broccoli florets but are much smaller. I love its earthy, nutty, bitter flavor. I like to keep broccoli rabe simple by sautéing it with garlic and red pepper flakes.
Cabbage – It may be smelly, but it sure is good. With its round tightly packed heads, cabbage can look similar to iceberg lettuce, so be careful when you’re shopping. Cabbage can be eaten raw in slaws, salads, and is very good in tacos. Or you can boil it, roast it, pickle it, ferment it, or eat it on a hotdog as sauerkraut. It’s one of the main ingredients in kimchi.
As you can see you have many healthy green choices. If you like kale, more power to you. But if you don’t, I hope you discover something delicious on this list of 10 greens to eat instead of kale.