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Early Spring Salads: Beautiful, Nutritious, and Deliciously Bitter

The best greens for salads right now? They're colorful, crunchy, healthy, and bitter, chicories like radicchio and escarole, milder endive and earthy dandelion greens. Learn how to make the most of their flavor in salads with substance.

The bitter truth, we crave the flavor of bitter greens in salads, especially at this time of year. There's a host of these lettuces and other greens that make great starting points for substantial salads. After all, bitter plays well with salty, sour, and particularly well with sweet -- like the golden raisins, pomegranate seeds, and grapefruit in these recipes. Eating these greens raw means none of their nutrients are lost (as they often would be from cooking.) How sweet is that?

Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

Bitter Greens, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Use a blend of mildly bitter greens -- rocket-shaped Belgian endive, super curly, nigh frizzy frisee, and slightly curly, brighter green escarole -- for a range of tastes and textures. Their leaves are tossed with segments of sweet-tart grapefruit and slices of avocado in a creamy vinaigrette. This salad is topped with poppy seeds for a subtle crunch.


Get the Bitter Greens, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad Recipe


Try This Recipe for a More Assertive Bitter Greens Salad
Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

Farro Salad with Fennel, Golden Raisins, and Radicchio

Radicchio’s bitterness can be overpowering, but not here when it’s kept in check with raisins, fennel, and nutty-tasting farro. Another way to temper the bitter flavor of radicchio is to slice it thinly rather than leave it in larger pieces.


Get the Farro Salad with Fennel, Golden Raisins, and Radicchio Recipe


Learn More About Radicchio and Get Our Recipes
Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

Dandelion Greens with Pomegranate Molasses

Look for young, tender, first-of-the-season dandelion leaves for this salad. Sliced almonds and slivers of ricotta salata provide nutty, creamy, salty counterpoints to the greens -- and the sweetness of pomegranate.


Get the Dandelion Greens with Pomegranate Molasses Recipe