Try This Technique When Prepping Tough Greens For A Salad

If you enjoy greens such as lettuces, kale, and arugula, then you likely prepare the vegetables in all kinds of ways, prime among them being salads. It seems as though there's thousands of recipes for green salad out there, from a classic crouton-topped Caesar salad to a spicy Mexican kale salad to a spinach salad with Moroccan chickpeas.

But if you're regularly reaching only for tender greens such as butter lettuce and bagged mesclun mix, you might want to expand your salad adventures into the realm of heartier vegetables including collard greens, Swiss chard, and bok choy. Though we typically think to include these greens only in cooked side dishes such as a sauté or stir fry, they also shine in salads — as long as you know how to prep them correctly. And often, prepping tougher greens means exposing them to heat, even though we tend to think of salads as containing raw ingredients only.

Cook your tougher salad greens

If you're looking to expand your salad horizons, but aren't sure about eating heartier greens such as collards or chards raw, then don't. Instead, you should cook them first. According to Serious Eats, these greens are great candidates for cooking before incorporating into a salad, with the outlet suggesting briefly wilting kale, spinach, or collard greens in a pan before mixing them with crunchier ingredients in a salad. Even lettuce and spinach can benefit from wilting, as is seen in classic warm salad recipes such as Southern "killed lettuce" or a spinach and boiled egg salad. In both cases, the greens are wilted by a hot bacon dressing. In addition to wilting, Serious Eats suggests poaching or salting tougher greens and lettuces before dressing them.

Grilling greens is also a great way to break them down a bit before serving them. Epicurious suggests choosing robust greens such as romaine, radicchio, and endive, which will turn smoky and warm on the grill, but still maintain their crispness even after being exposed to heat. The outlet also suggests pairing the grilled greens with heartier dressings such as buttermilk ranch, Green Goddess, and Caesar.