Three Leafy Greens for Spring

baby kale salad with chick peas and parmessan
Image courtesy of Once Upon a Chef

What’s red hot in greens this season? Tap your fork into any of these lesser-known varieties appearing now.

Baby Kale

What is it?

More tender and sweet than kale, this is a kitchen dream: buy it pre-washed and there’s nothing to clean or chop. Curly or smooth, it has a light peppery bite (think arugula) and a velvety, mild texture.

How to cook it:

A vibrant dressing and the nutty texture of roasted chickpeas perk up this baby kale salad for a mid-week meal. Baby kale also plays well with Asian flavors in this one-pot meal with marinated chicken and mushrooms.


What is it?

This Southern Italian leafy heirloom is a predecessor of broccoli rabe. Its flavor is sweet and grassy, but like all members of the broccoli crew, it has a bitter kick. Discard tough stem bottoms before cooking.

How to cook it:

Taste spigarello in this simple preparation with EVOO, chili, and garlic. Or, make it a meal paired with poached eggs.

Broccoli di Cicco

What is it?

Chefs love this green for its asparagus-y broccoli flavor and its elegant long stems. Use it as you would broccoli: roast it to coax out sweetness, stir-fry, or saute. Cook it thoroughly, though, as it’s tougher than broccoli rabe or rapini.

How to cook it:

Simply saute it or try your hand at this show-stopping olive-oil poached beef fillet with broccoli di cicco vinaigrette. Use broccoli di cicco anywhere you would broccoli leaves, including this tortellini soup.

Turn over a new leaf in your spring cooking. A field of possibilities awaits!


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