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Apr 22, 2014 01:16 PM

Finding Non-Cruciferous Greens

I eat a lot of greens, a lot of them raw, and notice that besides spinach and lettuce, virtually every leafy green at the grocery store is a cruciferous vegetable: cabbage, kale, collards, bok choy, rapini, mustard, kohlrabi, turnip greens, cress, mizuna, tatsoi, even fenugreek and most of the other greens they sell at the Indian store are in the cruciferous family.

I'd like to start eating more non-cruciferous greens, even if it means growing some on my own, and wondered if any of you could contribute to the list I have so far:

◙ Dandelion greens
◙ Escarole
◙ Endive
◙ Amaranth (I think what is often sold as "red spinach" in Chinese and Indian markets might be a red variety of amaranth)
◙ Purslane
◙ Lovage
◙ Lambsquarters
◙ Gongura or Rosselle greens

I'm sure there are non-cruciferous greens I've never heard of eaten in other cultures, and I'd love to know more about them: what they taste like, how they're traditionally prepared, and how they are cultivated.

And if you have any great recipes for lovage, I'd very much appreciate them. (There's a vendor who often has a bunch or two at our farmer's market, but her only suggestion was to add it to salad.)

Thanks for your help,

PS: Is chard a cruciferous vegetable? I had thought not, but I see it listed as such on many websites.

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  1. Chard is not a cruciferous green, it's closely related to beets. (Which, btw - beet greens!) But you're right - it's surprisingly hard to come up with others.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Allstonian

      Thanks, Alistonian. That's what I thought.

      1. re: Allstonian

        Beets are grown for the roots. Chard is grown for the leaves. Basically the same plant bred for different production outcome.

        1. re: Bkeats

          And the beet greens are edible - you can prepare them like chard!

          One of Julie Sahni's Indian cookbooks has a nice recipe for beets smothered with beet greens that's quick and easy.

          1. re: Bkeats

            Beets are actually grown in home gardens for both.

        2. Beets and their cousin Chard are not in the Brassica (cruciferous) family. They are in the Amaranthaceae (Amaranth) family.

          Nor are parsley or celery (lovage's milder cousin - lovage is *very* strong: a little goes a long way (I grow it myself)).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Karl S

            Thanks Kari S. I thought of adding parsley to the list, and I do sometimes put a fistful in a smoothie, but it's hard to eat more than a couple of ounces at a time. Still good to keep in mind, though.

          2. As to lovage, I don't have a recipe but years ago had delicious cream of lovage soup at a restaurant in Scotland. It was similar to cream of watercress, so I would think you could use a recipe for that, substituting lovage.

            1 Reply
            1. re: masha

              Thanks, masha. I'm going to try making that next time I get hold of some lovage.

            2. Swiss Chard
              Pea sprouts
              Beet greens
              Sorrel - a slightly lemony fizzy taste. You usually cannot find it in larger quantities; I like to add it to salads for that bit of something different.

              1. Cilantro, basil and romaine lettuce are also noncruciferous.