The New Green Leaves and Vegetables, and How to Use Them

Burning out on kale? Try out these new greens in town.

If you want to get more healthy greens in your diet but are burning out on kale, you’re in luck: There are new greens in town. In general, green vegetables tend to be high in vitamins A, C and K, plus those in the cabbage family have phytochemicals that have been linked to lower risk of certain cancers.

Romanesco: If you’ve discovered what looks like a miniature Christmas tree on acid in your CSA share, it’s Romanesco — a cauliflower varietal that’s best raw, steamed or sauteed.

Kalettes: A brand-new hybrid of kale and Brussels sprouts, kalettes are like little kale bouquets. They’re perfect sauteed or roasted, or used as a salad green.

Broccoli leaves: While broccoli leaves aren’t exactly a new vegetable — they’ve always been attached to freshly harvested heads of broccoli — you’ll soon be able to find them in supermarkets. These are wonderful tossed in olive oil and roasted; they become crispy, like kale chips.

Beira kale: This Portuguese heirloom kale variety has broad, flat leaves, similar to collard greens. The sweet and tender leaves are excellent used in place of cabbage in cabbage rolls.

Broccoflower: This pale-green cauliflower has a slightly milder taste and is excellent cut into thick “steaks” and grilled, as you would cauliflower.

Broccolini: This sturdy green looks like broccoli rabe but has a milder broccoli flavor. Blanch the stalks until just tender and top with a balsamic vinaigrette, steam it or add to a stir-fry.

Chaya: You probably won’t find this Mexican plant, also called tree spinach, in stores, but you can grow it in your garden or kitchen if you’re so inclined. The nutritious leaves need to be cooked — they’re toxic raw — but can be boiled and used like spinach.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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