Picture this: there’s something you can eat that cleanses your system, calms your skin, lowers high blood pressure, reduces acid indigestion, all without negative side effects, but can also taste fantastic. Imagine if this ‘something’ tasted great in soups, teas, infused water, salads and more! Thankfully, veganism is on your side because these miracle plants are natural, easy to find and pretty cheap to purchase.

What is this amazing food? Bitter greens! These are dark, leafy veggies that go through their trends (example: the kale craze) but should always be a mainstay in your diet. They often have a bold flavor, but the health benefits of this pretty plant are worth the added effort and thought!

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Here are 10 different bitter greens that you can add to your diet today if you haven’t already, and each will provide you with ample nutrition and health benefits that no one should pass up.

1. KaleHerb and Garlic Massaged Kale Salad

Herb and Garlic Massaged Kale Salad

Kale is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plants around. It’s mildly bitter when cooked, and retains more of a bite when eaten raw. Massage kale with copious amounts of salt, lemon and olive oil to make it easier to digest all the goodness, which includes vitamin A, K, lots of calcium and nearly 3 grams of protein per one-cup serving. It can be used in a variety of ways; whether eat by itself, sauteed, or used in a giant smoothie or salad. It’s delicious either way.

There are a few great ways to spice up your kale. Try this Herb and Garlic Massaged Kale Salad for a quick, healthy bite. Or this Chickpea Omelet With Kale Filling And Cheesy Tahini Sauce for a filling breakfast. If you’re looking for a heavier dinner, this Wild Mushroom and Kale Lasagna Roll recipe will do the trick.

2. ArugulaArugula Lemon Portobello Pitas

Arugula Lemon Portobello Pitas

Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s also known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress. It contains loads of calcium, potassium, folate, and Vitamin C, K, and A. One study even cites arugula as being high in cancer-fighting agents. It easily adds a flair to any salad, veggie burger or potato dish, all while providing you with a tasty crunch and ample nutrients. Arugula is also delicious raw!

You can eat arugula in any of these tasty recipes! These Arugula Lemon Portobello Pitas, which are filled with spicy arugula, savory Portobello mushrooms, and a lemony finish. These Roasted Carrots and New Potatoes With Arugula Pesto are smooth and creamy. And this Grilled Peach, Red Onion, and Arugula Salad With Grilled Croutons and Sun Gold Tomatoes make for the perfect lunch.

3. Romaine

summer rolls romaine

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Spicy Romaine Summer Rolls With Peanut Sauce

Known for its savory yet neutral taste, romaine lettuce is crunchy and packed with nutrition. It’s a hearty salad green, also known as cos lettuce. Its nutritional benefits are out of this world. Its low in fiber, high in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. The powerful antioxidants, vitamin A and C, in this variety of lettuce helps in promoting a healthy functioning of the body’s many different mechanisms. Its vitamins also help to boost the health of your skin! Better skin, and a good taste? We’ll take it!

Romaine lettuce is great in a variety of tasty recipes. These Spicy Romaine Summer Rolls With Peanut Sauce are packed full of potassium, calcium and iron and vitamin A! Harissa Tahini Romaine Wraps and Salad will become your favorite lunch and these Spring Miso Broth With Stir-Fried Asparagus, Romaine, Scallions, and Mint recipe is to die for.

4.RadicchioWhole Wheat Radicchio Ravioli

Whole Wheat Radicchio Ravioli

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Its bright purple-red color makes it an attractive addition to any salad toss up! It brings along with its slight bitterness, potassium and a half-gram of protein per one-cup serving. But! If you cook this bitter green, it actually tastes sweet. Radicchio is a great source of vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals. It also provides phytonutrients and antioxidants. It is fat-free as well as cholesterol-free and also has a low amount of calories. Also, it helps encourage digestion, makes you feel full quicker, and assists with maintaining the bodies metabolism.

Radicchio makes every dish a little bit sweet. These Whole Wheat Radicchio Ravioli is made from fermented tofu and radicchio, which gives a complex and cheesy taste. For something a bit heavier, try this delicious Beet and Radicchio Pizza or this Black Olive, Caper, and Radicchio Pie for the ultimate meal. Looking for a light snack? This Roasted Radicchio and Carrot Salad With Shallot Vinaigrette will do!

5. Watercresswatercress soup

Watercress Soup

An aquatic plant found near springs and slow-moving streams, watercress is an often-overlooked leafy green food source that deserves so much more attention! Watercress is low in calories but contains phytonutrients like isothiocyanates and antioxidants with a plethora of disease-preventive properties. Vitamin K is by far the most active nutrient in watercress, with 312% of the daily recommended value!

You can easily cook with this leafy green as well! This Watercress Soup has a slightly bitter taste, with some subtle sweetness. This 15-Minute Zucchini, Pea, and Watercress Minestrone is a perfect soup; packed with spring peas and zucchini. Although it’s a light meal, it will satisfy all the family. This Sweet Potato and Beet Salad is sprinkled with watercress leaves and drizzled with a salty-sweet umami miso dressing. Mmm!

6. Belgian EndiveBelgian Endive Soup

Belgian Endive Soup

Endive is a chicory green that is today, much more popular in Europe than in the United States. Each leaf of endive only contains 1 calorie! It’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Endive is an excellent source of carotenes, which can aid in insomnia and help ‘purify the blood’

7. DandelionBanana Dandelion Pancakes

Banana Dandelion Pancakes

Dandelions aren’t just for making sweet little wishes on summer days! These greens contain lots of yummy benefits including 1.5 grams of protein per serving. Dandelion greens come loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients important for healthy eyesight. They contain Vitamin K, A, C and loads of calcium.

They offer a bitter, peppery flavor that works well raw or cooked. You can use dandelion greens in some surprising ways, like with Banana Dandelion Pancakes or this tasty snack, Raw Olive Spread With Dandelion Flax Crackers. We also love this Iced Dandelion Latte for early mornings and this Dandelion Green Smoothie for a boost.

8. Broccoli RabeBroccoli Rabe Potato Pizza With Carrot Miso Sauce and Hazelnuts

Broccoli Rabe Potato Pizza With Carrot-Miso Sauce and Hazelnuts

Broccoli rabe may resemble broccoli in appearance, but in taste, it’s a world apart. Not only is it delicious, it’s also a good source of Pantothenic Acid, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Manganese. Basically, it contains everything you could ever need. It tastes like mild, sweet and earthy.

Try it in this Garlicky Sauteed Broccoli RabeSauteed Broccoli Rabe with Red Chili Flakes and Broccoli Rabe Potato Pizza With Carrot Miso Sauce and Hazelnuts.

9. Friseesalad

Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad

Frisee are curlicued leaves that are slightly bitter and super crunchy. The love for them is about texture as much as it is about flavor. Enjoy it raw or add last minute to a soup or salad, or more! It contains folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C, with minimal calories. These serve as antioxidants, ridding your body of harmful free radicals and increasing the health of your immune system.

Frisee tastes good on everything and can replace any leaf in salads, on a veggie burger or layered on top of a pizza. This Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad contain an extraordinary amount of antioxidants, which prevent aging. This Peach and Pesto Pizza is topped with garlicky basil pesto, two kinds of vegan cheese, and then it’s baked until the peaches are slightly roasted and topped with a balsamic glaze.

10. Mizuna

Snow Pea and Mizuna Stir Fry

One of the mildest mustard greens, mizuna—often found in mesclun mixes—is high in immune-boosting vitamin C, folate, and iron. This Japanese mustard green is most often found in those lovely mesclun mixes, but there’s reason to seek it out in larger quantity. It resembles mustard in flavor packing in the fiber, potassium and 1.6 grams of protein per serving.

You can eat mizuna with so many things! Like this Snow Pea and Mizuna Stir Fry! Or this Mizuna, Fennel, and Mulberry Salad. Or this absolutely delicious Masala Lentil Salad With Cumin Roasted Carrots, which is savory, and hearty.

If you enjoy recipes like this, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, it’s available for both Android and iPhone and has free and paid versions. The app is loaded with thousands of allergy-friendly & vegan recipes/cooking tips, has hundreds of search filters and features like bookmarking, meal plans and more! The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions!

Lead image source: Shutterstock