Know your leaves

Spring is here and the leaves are back on the trees. For us, they are never off our plates and for good reason. Picking the right leaves helps make a meal nice and balanced in both flavour and texture. But if you tend to go for the same thing each time, read up on these lovely leafy alternatives.

Wild Rocket

Bring your salads to infinity and beyond with some wild rocket. Distinctively peppery in their taste, rocket leaves hold their own in any salad. They’re also great on their own too – try serving with finely grated parmesan and a little olive oil for a simple leafy accompaniment to a main meal.

Wild rocket

Photo by: Jules

Young Leaf Spinach

It may have been popularised by Popeye, but this is a leaf that is found on dinner plates throughout the world. Young leaf spinach, or baby spinach, contains more water than regular spinach, making it nice and tender and perfect for serving raw in a salad.

Young leaf spinach

Photo by: Robin

Watercress

Distinctive for its peppery flavour and stalky texture, watercress packs a real flavour punch and it’s versatile too. Use to pep up a salad or a sandwich, or even in a pasta dish – watercress pesto, anyone?

Watercress

Photo by: Amelia Crook

Micro Leaf Pea Shoots

Can you keep a secret? Good, because micro leaf pea shoots are the most incredible way of making even the most bland salad exciting with their delicate but distinctive pea flavour. Pea shoots are a common ingredient in Asian cooking, and it’s really catching on in the UK.

Micro leaf pea shoot

Photo by: Beck

Chicory

Whole chicory are small and rugby-ball shaped with tightly packed leaves that are either yellowy-white or red in colour. The chicory leaf’s scoop-like shape makes a great natural spoon for dips and canapés, but it can be also used to add texture, and a mild bitterness, to salads.

Chicory

Photo by: nociveglia

Lovely leafy recipes

  1. For a classic fresh tasting soup try our Watercress soup.
  2. Or alternatively our Parma ham, cherry tomato and rocket pasta salad makes a lovely light lunch.