Greens can be used in an infinite number of ways, whether it is as a main ingredient, as in a fresh salad, or cooked and served as a side.

Greens provide excellent flavor and make for wonderful meals. In addition to being tasty, leafy greens are renowned for their health benefits. Low in fat and high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, greens are ideal for weight management and reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes among many other health benefits. When dining out this summer, look for greens on the menu – a great summer salad is an excellent choice on a warm day, while a side of sautéed spinach is a tasty, healthy side to accompany your meal.

In a salad, lettuce is often overlooked as an important ingredient; overshadowed by toppings and dressings. What most of us don’t know, is how much actually goes into the process of choosing a type of lettuce for a particular salad or dish.

There are so many varieties of lettuce, so, the first thing to consider is that different greens are in season at different times, and seasonal lettuce is the most desirable for the freshest taste. For example, in the warmer months, the tender, springtime greens are replaced by the the thick, leafy, more heat-tolerant greens such as spinach and bibb lettuce. Aside from what is in season, all greens have variations of taste and texture. For example, Boston Bibb lettuce has a soft, wrinkly leaves with a buttery texture and a mild, somewhat sweet taste, while romaine lettuce has longer thicker leaves, a much crunchier texture and a slightly bitter taste. Mixed greens feature a variety of seasonal lettuces, which often times have a bitter or peppery taste; which serves excellently as an accompaniment to a main dish!

When creating the menu for Noble Hops, our chef spent time at the local farmers markets to find the highest quality, nutrient-rich, flavorful varieties of greens to use in his dishes. These greens are chosen not only for salads, but to be used in other cooked dishes as well, such as the organic baby spinach that accompanies our Deconstructed Duck Wellington or the Grilled Swordfish. A salad favorite of Chef Mario’s is the Boston Bibb. Since Boston Bibb is a living lettuce, it comes with its root still attached, which is then cut and cleaned right before the salad is prepared. As Chef Mario says, “It does not get more fresh than that.”

Stop into Noble Hops this Summer and enjoy one of our fresh salads and a refreshing, cold summer beer while you take in the incredible view of the Catalina mountains!