Get out of your lettuce rut with salads that pack flavor

Brogue Hydroponics co-owner Nancy Kilgore works at New Eastern Market (Photo by Jason Plotkin)

There’s a lot to love about salads this time of year.

They make for a quick, simple-to-prepare meal that doesn’t require laboring over a hot stove; the abundance of fresh produce offers an endless array of flavor combinations; and (bonus!) they’re easy on your swimsuit-season physique.

But not all salad greens are created equal in the realm of flavor and nutrition.

“Dark greens that have a little bitter or stronger flavor — those are the ones that are packed with nutrition,” said Bob Kilgore, co-owner of Brogue Hydroponics in Chanceford Township, which specializes in lettuce, greens and herbs.

Click for a side-by-side comparison of greens

In addition to their potential cancer-fighting abilities, cruciferous greens (members of the cabbage family like watercress, kale, arugula and mustard) have a high density of vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid and fiber.

Sean Cavanaugh, the chef and co-owner of John J. Jeffries in Lancaster, said that anytime people eat more of any type of greens, you’re better off. And while iceberg and romaine lettuce are popular, he prefers to serve salads with more flavorful and nutritionally dense greens.

“If I’m going to eat something, I want to make sure it packs the most nutritional punch per serving,” he said.

He creates unique combinations for the salads he serves at the restaurant — like mixing arugula with organic quinoa, cucumber, red beets and fennel and topping it with feta and a balsamic vinaigrette — using locally sourced greens with seasonal veggies.

Smart tip

Sean Cavanaugh, chef and co-owner of John J. Jeffries restaurant in Lancaster, prefers simple dressings for his greens — combining high-quality olive oil with some type of acid (sherry or balsamic vinegar), good sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

“When you get good greens, you don’t need to do a lot with them,” he said.

If you go

John J. Jeffries

The restaurant, 300 Harrisburg Ave., Lancaster (located in the Lancaster Arts Hotel), specializes in farm-to-table fine dining, building its menu around local, seasonal, sustainable and organic ingredients. For more information, call

717-431-3307 or visit

Brogue Hydroponics

Brogue Hydroponics sells lettuce, herbs, microgreens, tomatoes, fruit and other produce at the New Eastern Market, 201 Memory Lane in Springettsbury Township. The market is open

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays. For more information, visit

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  1. May 11, 2013

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