Spice Up Your Salad with Mustard Greens (2023)

There’s a new winter green in town, and it’s got a spicy, warming kick. Say hello to mustard greens.

Part of the Brassica squad — which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens — these bitter, spicy greens are packed with health benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about mustard green nutrition.

Mustard greens 101

Mustard greens are leaves from the same plant that gives us mustard seed and… mustard! 🌭 The greens’ bitter, spicy flavor will shake up your salad routine.

These are the basics (keep scrolling for details):

  • 15 calories per cup
  • < 1 gram of fat per cup
  • < 1 gram of net carbs per cup (2.6 grams of carbs minus 1.8 grams of fiber)
Spice Up Your Salad with Mustard Greens (1)Share on Pinterest

Like most salad mainstays, mustard greens score a 10/10 on the health scale. They pack major nutrients into just a handful of calories.

Here are the deets for 1 cup of raw mustard greens:

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  • 15 calories
  • 2.6 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1.6 grams of protein
  • 1.8 grams of fiber
  • < 1 gram of sugar
  • < 1 gram of fat

And the micronutrients?

  • Vitamin K: 120% of the recommended daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 44% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the DV
  • Calcium: 4–5% of the DV
  • Iron: 4–5% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4–5% of the DV
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 4–5% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 4–5% of the DV
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1): 3–4% of the DV

And that’s not even mentioning the small doses of selenium, phosphorus, niacin, folate, and zinc. Whew!

It’s worth noting that cooking your mustard greens changes the nutritional profile, boosting the vitamin A, vitamin K, and copper content and lowering the levels of vitamins C and E.

Pickling your greens also changes things. Pickled mustard greens — sometimes called takana — have less vitamin C. But some research from 2008 suggests that pickling mustard greens *is* a great way to preserve the plant’s antioxidant count.

Scientists are a busy bunch, and they haven’t done many studies on mustard greens alone. But we can still parse out several health benefits based on the micronutrients inside these little greens.

Ward off disease with antioxidants

Mustard greens are packed with antioxidants, which fight off the free radicals that can lead to major health probs like cancer and heart disease.

Different types of mustard greens offer different levels of antioxidants. No matter which one you pick, expect a hefty dose of beta carotene, lutein, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E.

Pro tip: Reach for the red variety if you want to boost your anthocyanins, which may help with heart and eye health, according to some studies.

Pack in the vitamin K

Mustard greens are basically brimming with vitamin K. We’re talking anywhere from 120 percent (in raw greens) to 690 percent (in cooked ones) of your daily value in a single cup. 🤯

Vitamin K helps your bod in a lot of ways — most notably blood clotting. It’s also important for bone strength and heart health. Research suggests that a vitamin K deficiency can eventually contribute to osteoporosis or unhealthy blood loss.

A 2019 review of studies suggests that a vitamin K deficiency could also increase your risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But we need more focused research on humans to determine the exact relationship between brain health and vitamin K.

Nourish your immune system with vitamins A + C

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Just a cup of chopped mustard greens offers more than a third of the vitamin C you need each day. Research suggests that a lack of vitamin C increases your chances of getting sick, so mustard greens make a great addition to your arsenal of immune boosters.

But wait — there’s more! Mustard greens also have vitamin A, which helps fight infection at the cellular level.

Give your heart some TLC

Mustard greens — and Brassica veggies in general — are brimming with heart-healthy perks.

As we mentioned above, these greens contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that science says might reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent.

Brassica bites (🥬 🥦 🥬!) all have plant compounds that could help lower cholesterol levels too — a double win for your heart!

Pamper your peepers

Back to the whole antioxidant thing: Mustard greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are great for your eyes.

Research suggests that these antioxidants shield your retinas from oxidative damage and help filter out blue light. Plus, lutein has been found to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a condition that causes some people to lose their vision as they age.

Keep the cancer away (maybe)

According to some research, the glucosinolates in mustard greens *might* reduce your risk of cancer. Take it with a grain of salt, though — more humans-eating-mustard-greens studies are needed to confirm the link.

Here’s what we’ve got:

  • A 2018 review of test-tube studies suggests that glucosinolates can help prevent cancer cells from multiplying.
  • A 2016 test-tube study revealed that mustard leaf extract helps protect against colon and lung cancers.
  • Researchers have also noticed that humans who eat lots of Brassica veggies seem to have lower rates of stomach, colorectal, and ovarian cancers.

tl;dr: The jury’s still out, but mustard greens *seem* to have some anticancer properties.

Mustard greens are a safe, healthy food for almost everyone. But, as with any food, some folks might have allergies or bummer interactions with medications.

Remember that mustard greens are chock-full of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. So if you’re on a blood thinner (like warfarin), don’t overdo it on the mustard greens salads. Also, chat with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about the greens interfering with your meds.

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Finally, mustard greens are one of the many plant foods that contain oxalates, which can increase the risk of kidney stones. So if you’re prone to stones (ouch!), you may want to steer clear.

At most grocery stores! You’ll find mustard greens in the produce section alongside other greens like lettuce and kale. They look more like the “greens” than the “mustard.”

Pick the crispest, brightest-looking bunch. Avoid wilted, slimy, or yellowing greens — that means they’re getting low-key stale.

Treat mustard greens like most other salad ingredients: Wash them thoroughly with cold water, and then keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.

Storing leafy greens is a pretty simple business. Blot away extra moisture with a paper towel before putting them in a zip-top plastic bag in the fridge.

Pro tip: Stick a clean paper towel in the bag with your greens. It’ll keep them fresh by absorbing excess water.

All the ways to get your [mustard] greens

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You’ve got three main choices: raw, cooked, and pickled.

How to eat raw mustard greens

Raw mustard greens add a spicy, peppery kick to salads. Mixing them with other greens helps temper the bitter aftertaste.

Just like kale and spinach, mustard greens can be blended into smoothies and green juices.

How to cook mustard greens

As noted above, mustard greens have a bitter, peppery flavor. Cooking them in olive oil or butter can mellow things out. On the other hand, you can cook them in vinegar or lemon juice for a tangy side.

Cooked mustard greens beautifully complement simple main dishes such as baked fish and roasted chicken. And if you’re making a soup or stew, you can add mustard greens toward the end of the cooking time.

How to make pickled mustard greens

Most mustard green picklers use a combo of vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and chiles. But you can totally use your favorite pickling method or recipe with these hardy greens.

Looking for step-by-step instructions? Dive into this Fermented Chinese Mustard Greens recipe from writer Andrea Nguyen.

  • Mustard greens are deliciously peppery, with a bitter aftertaste.
  • Mustard greens are packed with micronutrients — most notably antioxidants, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
  • The greens have several health perks, from supporting your immune system to potentially warding off cancer.
  • Eat them raw, steamed, or pickled. You’ll be glad you did.


What to add to a salad to spice it up? ›

Add spices and flavours such as paprika, chilli flakes, curry powder, harissa or parmesan. Add acidity or sourness with vinegar, lemon juice or pomegranate mollasses to transform your salad.

What are the 4 parts of a salad explain your answer? ›

The basic parts of a salad are the base, the body, the garnish, and the dressing. The five basic types of salad are green salads (tossed or composed), bound, vegetable, fruit, and combination.

What to add to a salad to make it more hearty? ›

1. Use hefty greens as your base. Iceberg lettuce is still a vegetable, but darker greens like arugula, spinach, and kale contain far more antioxidants, fiber, and minerals like iron. They're also going to fill you up a lot more because they have a heartier texture.

What is the most important points in making salad? ›

Water on the salad leaves dilutes the dressing and the flavour. Wet ingredients do not allow the dressing to stick. So this is one of the most important salad making tips. Deseed watery vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber before using them in a salad.

How do I make my salad taste like a restaurant? ›

A restaurant salad has salt on it.

Most good restaurants season salad carefully — probably adding salt and pepper directly to the greens, not just the dressing. If you don't usually add salt to your salads, try sprinkling in a little flaky sea salt next time and see if it doesn't taste 100% better.

What is the secret to making a good salad? ›

The secret to a good salad
  1. Be gentle with lettuce. Balsamic dressing. ...
  2. Serve up perfect avocado. Forget lemon juice or cold water – the only way to stop an avocado going brown in a salad is to peel and chop them right before serving. ...
  3. Say goodbye to onion tears. ...
  4. Adore your dressing. ...
  5. Sprinkle in some protein.

What are 5 components of a satisfying salad? ›

There are five elements to a perfect salad: greens, sweetness, creaminess, crunchiness, and dressing.

What are the 5 basic salad types? ›

salad, any of a wide variety of dishes that fall into the following principal categories: green salads; vegetable salads; salads of pasta, legumes, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads.

What are the 7 types of salads? ›

Tossed Salad
  • Get the recipe: Caesar Salad Supreme.
  • Get the recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad.
  • Get the recipe: Greek Salad.
  • Get the recipe: Arabic Fattoush.
  • Get the recipe: Salad Niçoise.
  • Get the recipe: Cobb Salad.
  • Get the recipe: Wedge Salad with Elegant Blue Cheese Dressing.
  • Get the recipe: Insalata Caprese II.
5 Mar 2021

What to add to salads to make them taste better? ›

To really up the flavor of your salad, reach for the herbs and spices, which add both flavor and health benefits. "Try adding basil, parsley, chives, thyme, cilantro, mint, or dill," Scheinfeld says. "Thyme goes well in chicken salads, parsley with grains, and cilantro with avocado and peppers.

What are the three keys to a quality salad? ›

The three keys to ensuring a quality salad are:
  • freshness of ingredients.
  • the ingredients blend together in harmony.
  • appealing to the eye.

What is the key ingredient of salad? ›

Common raw vegetables (in the culinary sense) used in a salad include cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, radishes, mushrooms, avocado, olives, artichoke hearts, heart of palm, watercress, parsley, garden beets, and green beans. Nuts, berries, seeds, lentils, and flowers are less common components.

What are three 3 things you can do to make sure that your salad is kept fresh for as long as possible? ›

When you buy salad, there are 5 easy steps that will prolong its life so you can munch on fresh greens all week long.
  1. Handle with care. ...
  2. Make sure your salad is dry. ...
  3. Remove any spoilt leaves. ...
  4. Put salad in the right containers. ...
  5. Keep salad in the fridge.

What gives the salad it's flavor? ›

Dressing is a seasoned liquid or semi liquid that is added to the body of the salad to give it added flavor, tartness, spiciness, and moistness and sometimes binds the salad ingredients together.

Should I season my salad? ›

The point, no matter how you decide to dress your salad — up or down — is that it taste delicious. Salads need seasoning too, just like any other dish.

What are the three most important elements of a salad dressing? ›

Oil, acid, Dijon mustard and sugar are the key components to a delicious salad dressing,” says Chatelaine food content director Irene Ngo. Oil and an acid (vinegar or citrus) make up a large component of the dressing, while Dijon helps to emulsify it.

What makes the salad look attractive and more appealing? ›

BETTER IDEAS: chopped herbs, sprinkles of spices, drizzled sauces, dots of flavored oil, vegetable puree, thinly sliced fruits or vegetables that get eaten and add a crisp texture. Serve a plate full of bland-colored food. BETTER IDEAS: shredded colorful veggies like carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, beets, etc.

What are the two essential elements for high quality salads? ›

The Essential Elements to a Satisfying Salad
  • Both raw (spinach, mango) and cooked (cauliflower) textures.
  • Hits on most of the 5 basic flavors – bitter (curry spices), sweet (mango), sour (lime juice), salty, umami.
  • Ample amount of protein (chickpeas)
13 Sept 2015

Which salad is best for body? ›

Best: Spinach or Kale Salad

They have the most nutrients. Case in point: Kale and spinach have over 10 times more immune-boosting vitamins A and C than iceberg lettuce. Not a fan of those? Turn over a new leaf: Boston, bibb, and romaine lettuces have a mild flavor, while arugula and watercress have a peppery bite.

What is the best salad green? ›

Some of the most nutritious greens include spinach, kale, romaine, watercress, and arugula (see "Salad greens by the numbers"). They are rich in a combination of vitamins A, C, and K; several B vitamins (including folate); and potassium.

What does salad give to the body? ›

Salad greens contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fiber, and phytonutrients (see Table 1). Leafy vegetables are a good choice for a healthful diet because they do not contain cholesterol and are naturally low in calories and sodium.

How can I make salad taste less bland? ›

Go for the Grain. Adding your favorite grain, be it quinoa, farro or even pasta, does more than turn salad into a more substantial dish—it also adds texture and flavor, which is a battle won in the fight against boring salads.

What is the healthiest way to dress a salad? ›

Generally speaking, the healthiest salad dressing will be a vinaigrette like balsamic or oil and vinegar, while Caesar, ranch or anything with the word “creamy” will be the unhealthiest. The exception? We like products made with healthy swaps—think Greek yogurt in place of mayo or heavy cream.

What is the most popular salad dressing? ›

Ranch dressing takes the number one spot as America's most popular salad dressing. It's so popular that it's used beyond enhancing a salad. Ranch is a favorite dipping sauce for vegetables, chips, French fries, chicken wings, onion rings, chicken fingers, pizza, and pretty much anything else that's edible.

What holds everything together in a salad? ›

All of the above are what fall into what are called bound salads. These are classified as having a binding dressing that holds everything together (mayonnaise is a common binder in these salads).

What comes first on a salad the oil or vinegar? ›

Lettuce is particularly vulnerable. First Oil, Then Vinegar. It's somewhat akin to the old Far Side adage, "First Pants, Then Shoes." If you add the vinegar first, the oil slides off and ends up in a puddle at the bottom of the bowl, instead of coating every leaf.

How do you make a 5 step salad? ›

How to Build a Perfect Salad in 5 Simple Steps
  1. Step 1 Choose Your Base. Red & Green Leaf Lettuce. Sweet, delicate flavor. ...
  2. Step 2 Add Fruits & Veggies. Avocado. Cucumbers. ...
  3. Step 3 Mix in Crunch. Toasted Nuts. Carrots. ...
  4. Step 4 Amp Up the Flavor. Cheese. Scallions. ...
  5. Step 5 Drizzle & Done! Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil +

How do you meal prep a salad without getting soggy? ›

Tips to Keep Your Salad Fresh & Crisp
  1. Prep with the freshest produce possible. ...
  2. Keep your dressing separate from your salad until you're ready to eat. ...
  3. Pat your ingredients as dry as possible. ...
  4. Wrap veggies in paper towel.
  5. Make sure any cooked items have cooled down before adding to your salad.
16 Jun 2022

How can we improve our salad preparation and come up with the best dish? ›

5 Ways To Enhance Salads
  1. Mix your greens. Instead of relying mainly on iceberg lettuce, include romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, leeks, sprigs of fresh dill, and escarole. ...
  2. Experiment with veggies. ...
  3. Add some sizzle with meat flavors. ...
  4. Make it fruity. ...
  5. Sample some extra possibilities for enriching your future salads.

How do you keep salad crisp in the fridge? ›

First, layer the bottom of the container with paper towels. They'll absorb moisture. Then, gently pack the leaves in the container and top with another paper towel before storing in the crisper drawer. Don't pack the leaves too tightly, or they won't have breathing room (that can invite rapid rot).

How do you fix a bland salad? ›

The trick is to add some fun, flavorful ingredients to make eating healthy more enjoyable. Personally, my favorite way to do this is add fruit to my salads. Plenty of places offer fruits like grapes, apples, pears, oranges, or even dried cranberries that are perfect for adding some sweetness to your lunch.

How do you make a salad less boring? ›

Below are just a few different ways to make a salad less boring.
  1. Look beyond leafy greens. Your salad doesn't have to contain lettuce leaves. ...
  2. Mix in some herbs. ...
  3. Pack in some protein. ...
  4. Diversify the texture. ...
  5. Add the right dressing. ...
  6. Try adding roasted ingredients. ...
  7. Keep it fresh.
3 Dec 2020

What do the Kardashians put in their salad? ›

7 years of KUWTK has taught us that Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie all tend to opt for Health Nut's ultra-filling 'Chinese Chicken Salad'. To complete the order, the sisters often add a Mango Iced Greentini, which is a refreshing combo of green tea, mango, and honey powder.

How can I make my salad taste better without adding calories? ›

Add grains, nuts, seeds, or legumes

Adding grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is a great way to make a salad feel heartier and more satisfying without adding too many calories. Brown rice and quinoa will really thicken up a salad and give you some extra whole grains and fiber in your diet.

Which acid gives salad a delicious taste? ›

Acetic Acid

The most common form of acetic acid is vinegar. It is a popular home staple, which is found in most of the kitchens. People use it for cooking purposes, and this is what gives the salad a delicious taste and pickled vegetables and fruits, their- tart taste.

What are the five elements of a perfect salad? ›

There are five elements to a perfect salad: greens, sweetness, creaminess, crunchiness, and dressing.

How do you make a salad not gross? ›

Not Adding Topping

Toppings are key to making your salad taste good. Start out with something basic such as red peppers, green onions or cucumbers, and make sure they're cut into small cubes. The watery vegetables are going to mix well with the crispy lettuce and add a nice crunch.

What is Ariana Grande's favorite salad? ›

Spinach, Strawberries, and Tofu are the stars of Ariana Grande's favorite salad.

What is Kourtney's favorite salad? ›

Kourt's Signature Salad” is made with only a few ingredients, including two hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado, tomato, balls of fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper and olive oil.


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