Move over boxes of wilty, boring greens that traveled hundreds of miles to your table.
But there’s something about a homemade bowl of bright, fresh salad greens that you make yourself that’s guaranteed to make you eat more delicious salad all week long (that’s more interesting to boot.) And, the DIY version is sooo much more versatile than the store bought kind.
A few things to keep in mind as you get your DIY mixed greens together:
THINK ABOUT QUALITY
The worst part about salad greens are the limp, old leaves in the bottom that ruin all the others. The best part about bagging your own greens is you can control that. Peruse your grocery or farmers market for snappy stems and perky leaves that have some legs left for the week. Leave the limp, lame leaves on the shelves.
GET READY TO PREP
Once you’ve picked your perky greens, get ready to prep. Wash all leaves thoroughly then dry completely in a salad spinner. (You want the water in the spinner to run clean, so if you see grit in there rinse again!) Water on the leaves will be the first place the plants start to wilt, so be sure to get every droplet of moisture off. Then, lay your greens out on a paper towel and wrap them up. The paper towel will suck up moisture, especially if you keep your mix in a Ziploc bag. In the bag or in the crisper, your mix will keep for at least a week (and maybe even two!)
IN THE BAG
The sky’s the limit when it comes to mixing up your own bagged greens. Texture is a great place to start: Do you like crunchy, substantial greens or delicate, dainty ones? For crunch-addicts, think about kale, cabbage, chard and even crispy vegetables like collards and broccoli. De-rib and split kale, chard and collard greens, then slice the remaining leaves thinly into ribbons. If you’re more of a delicate flower, try spinach, maché, tat soi, spring or butter lettuces. These mixes are also best for unexpected flavors like arugula, cress or endive.
Crunchy Mix: Curly or Lacinato kale, finely chopped brussels sprouts, red cabbage, collard greens and thinly sliced fennel bulb. This mix is great tossed with a creamy, bright dressing.
Spicy Mix: Arugula, cress, radicchio, mustard greens, edible flowers, endive. This salad mix could double as a pizza topping or as a light accompaniment to fish with an avocado dressing.
Mild Mix: Spinach, romaine or butter lettuce, watercress, basil leaves, fennel fronds, bok choy. A squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil are all these leaves need.
Wild Mix: Broccoli leaves, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, microgreens, kohlrabi. Get crazy and top with crunchy walnuts as a salad, toss it into a grain bowl or with a spicy peanut dressing on its own.