Health special: A look at some exotic green vegetables

Don’t know your kale from your arugula? Here’s a lowdown on some exotic green leafy vegetables in the markets these days

Fed up of our usual junk diet, we walked inside a supermarket the other day, intending to buy some fresh veggies to prepare a salad. We headed to the veggies section, but one look and we were left confused by the array of green leafy options on display. With the variety of exotic vegetables available in the market these days, one is bound to get intimidated. As for us, we meekly picked up the Iceberg Lettuce and headed home, but to ensure the same doesn’t happen to you, here’s a lowdown on some of the exotic varieties:

Romain lettuce

Chances are that you’ve enjoyed this crunchy, mildly-flavoured lettuce in salads, but you may not be aware that one head of this lettuce contains more Vitamin A than a large carrot! Nutritionist Karishma Chawla of Eat Rite 24x7 informs that it contains antioxidant properties, Vitamin C and Beta Carotene, which keep the heart healthy. Start your day with a nutritious smoothie containing romain lettuce and fruits.


Considered one of the healthiest vegetables, kale should be on top of your list when you go veggie shopping next time. Reasons? Well, there are many. Says Chawla, “Kale is filled with antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids that help protect against cancers. Being high in Vitamin K, it promotes bone health and blood clotting. Vitamin A, which is essential for vision and high in Vitamin C, boosts the immune system.”

Lollo rosso red lettuce

These deep-red crinkled leaves not only make your salad look more colourful, but the lollo rosso red lettuce also adds a bold, nutty flavour to the dish. The lettuce contains quercetin, the antioxidant which helps prevent asthma and lowers the risk of heart-related ailments. Add them to a sandwich, use as a garnish on soups or simply sprinkle them on top of other veggies to make a healthy salad.

Red oak leaf lettuce

Another burgundy-red lettuce that adds a lot of flavour and texture to any dish, is the red oak leaf lettuce which helps lower cholestrol absorbtion. It prevents frequent colds, protects the body against excessive inflammation and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.


These peppery leaves are fast gaining popularity and you are bound to find at least one salad with arugula in a restaurant. Chawla says that arugula has anti-cancer properties. “It helps in metabolic functions (Vitamin B) and helps develop resistance against infections (Vitamin C),” she says. All the more reason to pile up your salad dish
with these beautiful leaves.

Hipster Salad

>> 3 cups kale (massaged with olive oil to remove the bitterness)
>> 1 cup quinoa, cooked
>> 4 tbsp cranberries
>> 1 cup orange segments
>> 1 cup carrot, grated
>> 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
>> 2 tbsp mixed toasted seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower, chia etc)

For the dressing
>> 1 cup orange juice
>> 1 cup carrot juice
>> 1 cup olive oil
>> 1 tsp dried oregano
>> 1 tsp dried basil
>> 1 tsp orange zest
>> Sea salt
>> Crushed black pepper

>> Reduce the orange juice and carrot juice till half the quantity. Cool and add the herbs and seasoning. Whisk in olive oil. Refrigerate
>> In a large bowl, toss the kale with the quinoa, carrots and cranberries. Add the dressing and mix just before serving. Top with oranges, ricotta and mixed seeds

(Recipe by Bombay Salad Company)

Arugula & Citrus Salad with Italian Citrus Dressing

>> A handful of arugula leaves
>> 1 whole malta orange segments
>> 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
>> 2 tbsp black olives sliced
>> ½ red bell pepper, char-grilled
>> Parmesan shavings for the dressing
>> 50 ml olive oil or grapeseed oil
>> 3 tbsp fresh orange juice
>> 1 tsp lemon juice
>> A pinch of mustard
>> Salt and black pepper

>> In a hot pan, sear the bell pepper along with olive oil and seasoning till the skin develops blisters on it. Once it’s char-grilled, place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Discard the skin and chill in the refrigerator
>> Whisk the dressing ingredients and adjust seasoning
>> Assemble the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss lighly with the dressing
>> Garnish with alfa alfa sprouts and parmesan shavings
(Recipe by Silver Beach Cafe)

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