Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables

August 26, 2019
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables

When it comes to vegetables, there are so many benefits as we all know. While some veggies pack a greater punch when it comes to nutrients, we've curated a special list of our Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables! Most of these are super popular while others are under utilized in many dishes. Lettuce Eat, Shall We?

Person holding a plate of vegetables.

Like some of you, I wasn't the biggest fan of veggies growing up. In fact, I honestly think that I only had a handful of veggies that I ate.

However, since being an adult and having my own child, I've created a taste for veggies. It's so easy to stem towards sweets (at least for me anyway!), so being super creative has been my plan of attack with being able to thoroughly enjoy veggies.

Luckily, some of you might not have this issue and just grew up LOVING veggies of all kinds. Kudos to you all! Haha.

For the rest of us, I've been intentional on creating some delicious recipes that incorporate veggies without you even knowing it. Take these Vegan Chewy, Fudge Avocado Walnut Brownies for instance. Perhaps these Vegan Fudge Zucchini Brownies with Pistachio will do the trick!

Then there are healthy grains that I incorporate into others dishes like these Healthy Pumpkin Quinoa Pancakes + Praline Syrup or Gluten-Free + Vegan Buckwheat Waffles + Blueberry. Just to name a few!

Whelp, regardless of which side you're on or have fallen on, this list of our favorite healthy leafy greens is just for you! Most of them are super versatile and can be easily incorporated in many recipes and others are just too nutritious to pass up! Let's begin.

Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables

Mustard greens plant.

1. Mustard Greens

When it comes to Mustard Greens, they are such an underutilized vegetable in my opinion. Mustard Greens originate from the leaves of the same plant that creates mustard seeds. Compared to other leafy green veggies, Mustard Greens are less bitter and have a strong 'peppery' taste.

In addition, they are high in beta-carotene, which is absorbed in our bodies (then converted to Vitamin A) and aides in eye and bone health. Let's not mention how much these greens are packed with other great nutrients such as fiber, other vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants.

Oh and don't worry---these leafy greens are known for their low-calories, which makes them a perfect candidate for those who are looking to maintain or lose weight.

As mentioned above, one of Mustard Green's benefits include containing protective antioxidants. Interestingly enough, this benefit is on the top fo the list for this leafy green compared to others. As we know, antioxidant helps to protect our bodies from free radical damage, or oxidative stress. In turn, this keeps our cells and tissue in tact and in great health.

Other benefits? Whelp, these greens support liver function, help lower cholesterol, supports heart health, high in Vitamin K (a Bone-building vitamin!), good source of Immune Boosting nutrients, provides skin + eye protection/health, among many other benefits.

The fact of the matter-----Mustard Greens are a great green leafy veggie to incorporate in your meals ever so often!

Simply sauté or steam these greens like you would kale, spinach, or other greens. To remove the spiciness while cooking, just add an 'acid ingredient' such as vinegar or lemon/lime to break it down! Wallah!

Pile of different kinds of kale.

2. Kale

This leafy green is one of the popular choices today. They are super versatile and easily transformed into many dishes including snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even in baked goods. In addition, Kale is actually considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. But did you know that it is derived from the cabbage family? Yup. Pretty crazy!

As you may know, there are different types of kale which range from the popular green color as well as purple.

Of course, the vitamin and mineral count is a long list and they also come loaded with: antioxidants, Excellent source of Vitamin C, Helps lower cholesterol which helps reduce Heart Disease, the best source of Vitamin K, contains Cancer-Fighting substances, and is high in Beta-Carotene.

Need Some Recipe Ideas that Incorporate Kale?

Vegan Sweet Potato Pasta w/ Kale + Spinach 

Spicy Cajun Shrimp, Kale + Cauliflower Rice

Kale Spinach Pesto + Tomato Bruschetta

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

Basket of parsley.

3. Parsley

Our next favorite leafy green is Parsley. In all honesty, I use parsley in almost EVERYTHING! Haha. While, I usually use the dried parsley from Mccormick, there is nothing like using the actual leafy parsley, fresh from the Grocery store.

While I believe that parsley is often overlooked, especially for it's not so bold flavor, you'd be surprised at it's health benefits!

Did you know that parsley is often labeled as one of the most disease-fighting plants? Yup. That's the truth,

While it is a flowering plant from the Mediterranean, it comes packed with many important nutrients such as protein, fiber, Vitamins A, C, + K, Folate, and Potassium.

In addition, parsley is also rich in antioxidants, supports bone health, contains cancer-fighting substances, rich in nutrients that protect your eyes + their health, among other impressive benefits.

As for the extract (parsley extract), it carries antibacterial properties which showed significant antibacterial activity against yeast, molds, and a common infection-causing bacteria---S. aureus.

Need Some Recipe Ideas that Incorporate Parsley?

Savory Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta 

Sweet + Spicy Honey Chili Wedges

Healthy Pesto Veggie Bowl

Basket of freshly-picked spinach.

4. Spinach

When it comes to spinach, I can admit that it is one of our favorites. Much like Kale, we've used it in replace of lettuce even. Spinach is so versatile and easy to incorporate into dishes.

Originally, spinach is a leafy green vegetable that came from Persia.

It belongs to the amaranth family and is related to beets and quinoa. I know. It sounds so crazy to know that these are all related although they look nothing alike.

When thinking about making spinach, you can always purchase it frozen, fresh, or canned. In addition, you can eat it cooked or raw.

As mentioned in previous veggies, this leafy green veggies has a ton of nutrients which includes fiber, Vitamins A + C, Vitamin K1 (which is essential for blood-clotting), Folic Acid, Iron, and Calcium.

The other amazing thing about spinach? It contains super important plant-compounds such as:

  • Lutein: This compound is linked to eye health.
  • Kaempferol: This type of antioxidant plays a role in fighting against cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Nitrates: Promotes Heart Health.
  • Quercetin: A type of antioxidant that helps to protect against infection and inflammation. This compound is found most heavily in spinach than any other dietary food.
  • Zeaxanthin: Also improves eye health.

Lastly, Spinach helps to fight against oxidative stress, helps with eye health (from the compounds previously mentioned), helps in Cancer prevention, and helps to moderate Blood Pressure.

The most important thing to remember is that since Spinach contains a good source of calcium, those who are privy to Kidney Stones shouldn't consume spinach on a regular basis. In addition, due to Spinach's source of Vitamin K1 (which aides in blood-clotting), it is said that one who takes blood-thinning medication should avoid eating a ton of spinach as well.

Need Some Recipe Ideas that Incorporate Spinach?

Onion, Spinach, Tomato, + Parmesan Quiche

Loaded Spinach, Bacon, Egg, + Cheese Sweet Potato Boats

Extra Crispy Carrot Spinach Quinoa Veggie Burger

Creamy Lobster Spinach Linguine

Pictures of salad and spinach with text: \"Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables.\"

5. Arugula

This leafy green veggie has become one of our favorites in recent months. I literally have found that it not only adds a nice visual appeal (especially when doing food photography), but it also tastes so fresh and delicious!

Arugula also has a 'peppery' taste much like it's counterpart--mustard greens and originates from the Mediterranean.

It is a member of the Cruciferous family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Not only is Arugula low in sugar, calories, carbs, and fats, but it also is cited as one of the few veggies who have a high amount of cancer-fighting agents.

In addition, Arugula is a great source of Calcium, Potassium, Folate, Vitamins A, C, + K.

As I've mentioned previously, Arugula can be used as a replacer in salads and other cold dishes.

Need Some Recipe Ideas that Incorporate Arugula?

Easy Chickpea Sweet Potato Sliders + Aioli

Sweet Heat BBQ Braised Rib Tacos

Vegan Sweet Potato Sheet Pan ‘Nachos’ 

Other Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Veggies:

6. Microgreens

7. Cabbage

8. Watercress

9. Romaine Lettuce

10. Bok Choy

11. Broccoli Rabe

12. Collard Greens

When it comes to vegetables, there are so many benefits as we all know. While some veggies pack a greater punch when it comes to nutrients, we've curated a special list of our Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables! Most of these are super popular while others are under utilized in many dishes. Hopefully, our favorites will help you to discover your favorites!

For healthy delicious recipes, you can always visit our Recipe Archives.

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Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables.


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