I'm a creature of habit. When faced with a salad bar or the salad aisle at the grocery store, I almost always go for spinach. If I'm feeling frisky maybe I'll go for an argugula and spinach combo, but that is pretty much the extent of my creativity when it comes to salad greens. However, the same old salad green over and over again gets pretty repetitive. I decided to do some research on some of my other options so I can switch things up next time I head to the grocery store.


Renee Chiu

Arugula, also known as rocket, rucola, or roquette, is a strong-flavored green that tastes peppery. This distinct flavor is what sets arugula apart from other salad greens. It is delicious on pizza with prosciutto or on its own in a side salad.


spinach, vegetable, salad, lettuce, basil, relish, herb
Kristine Mahan

Spinach, like arugula, is a dark leafy green, but it doesn't have such a strong peppery flavor. Like arugula, it tastes amazing as the base of a salad, but it is also easy to sauté. There's nothing better than sauteed spinach with a squeeze of lemon and crushed red pepper flakes. Spinach and arugula are both great sources of iron and other vitamins and minerals, which means that when mixed together they're the ultimate super food.


kale, lettuce, vegetable, swiss chard, fresh vegetables, local produce, farmer's market
Sam Jesner

Say what you will about how basic kale is, it's undeniably one of the healthiest salad greens. It's one of the most nutrient dense salad greens, beating out both spinach and arugula. There are actually many different kinds of kale, all of which can be used to make chips and salads.


Romaine Lettuces

SummerTomato on Flickr

If you've ordered a Caesar salad in a restaurant, you've had romaine. It's thick and mildly bitter, with a thick stem (called a rib) down the center. Romaine often gets a bad rap because it doesn't have as many vitamins as kale or spinach, but it's still a great, low-calorie choice.


Iceberg lettuce is definitely the least healthy of all the salad greens (though by no means is it unhealthy. It's just not as good a choice as other greens on this list). It's low in calories and fat, but since it's mostly water it doesn't have many nutritious vitamins or minerals. That being said, it's still a great healthy sandwich topper or salad base. 

Red Leaf Lettuce


NatalieMaynor on Flickr

Red leaf lettuce has distinct, reddish purple leaves. Nutritionally, red leaf and romaine are very similar since they're both great sources of vitamin K and vitamin A. The red leaves add a nice pop of color to your salad or veggie spread. 

Butterhead Lettuce

Butterhead lettuce is also often referred to as Boston or Bibb lettuce. It is tender and soft compared to other salad greens, which gives it its buttery name. That being said, butterhead is often much more expensive than other salad greens, so this option might be best for a special occasion salad.


Endive is a bitter, nutty member of the chicory family that adds a nice crunch to your salad. While it isn't always great on its own because of its strong flavor, it makes an amazing base for dishes like this duck breast salad. It also tastes amazing when mixed with other greens like arugula.

Next time I head to the grocery store, I'm going to think twice before picking up my usual bag of spinach. There are so many other salad greens that are just as healthy and provide new and exciting flavors.