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This post has been updated with the answer to the mystery greens question. See below.

Super greens

This is an impromptu blog post that just might morph into a contest. It started on my Gluten Free For Good Facebook page and has taken a sudden hairpin turn directly onto my blog.

I made a pizza yesterday with these mystery greens and decided to post a photo on Facebook and ask people what they were. Innocent enough, right? Well, just asking the question brought a stream of comments.

Dandelion greens?


Lamb’s quarters?

Ummm, no. But, what are lamb’s quarters and why are they named that? Very interesting. And a bit strange.

Radish tops?

No, but good guess.


Not sure what watercress looks like, but this isn’t it.

If you want to see the growing list of guesses, go here and check out the thread. You might even want to click “Like” while you’re there. I post lots of good information on Facebook that you won’t find here.

Back to the greens. The photo was taken at the spur of the moment while I was washing the greens. Not exactly award-winning photography, but you get a good look at the plant. It’s pretty, isn’t it?

Now, what is it?

The first person to correctly name this plant will either win a virtual high-five, a blow-kiss or a real prize. What that prize will be (if indeed there is one) is unknown at this moment. Like I said, this post spontaneously materialized from Facebook. If you know what the greens are and you know how lamb’s quarters got their name, you just might win a high-five, plus a blow-kiss. Or, maybe two real prizes. Or, maybe two people will each win one prize. I haven’t put a lot of thought into this, but go for it anyway.

Peace, love and leave your guess in the comment section below. You might win something for real. Unless you live in another country, then you default to the virtual high-five.
P.S. You get a blow-kiss just for participating.

UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE: After lots of good guesses, Nadya won the contest. She not only identified the greens on my Gluten Free For Good Facebook page, she also weighed in with all kinds of wonderful information about plants and health. Thank you, Nadya. For her efforts she won a copy of Elana Amsterdam’s wonderful new gluten free cupcake cookbook. Check Elana’s Pantry for more gluten-free goodness. Congratulations, Nadya!


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48 Responses to “can you name these greens”

  1. lo says:

    Alright, Melissa. We love our greens, but you may have stumped me here. They look an awful lot like watercress, which we can get from a local hydroponic grower… I’m going to keep on this, though, and will come back if I have an answer.

    As for lambs quarters, I believe there isn’t a solid story about where the name comes from, though many believe it might be related to the fact that the shape of the leaves resembles the cut of lamb called the “quarter”… since some people call the green “mutton tops,” that seems to be a reasonable theory.

    • Melissa says:

      Lo, It’s not watercress, but this has motivated me to get my greens straight as far as what the leaves look like. I had not heard of “lamb’s quarters” or “mutton tops” for that matter. Thanks for the info. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. lo says:

    Alright. I’m throwing this out there. Chinese spinach?

  3. Lynn Pawluk says:

    This is brocolli rabe…otherwise known as rappini, isn’t it?

  4. Jean Layton says:

    Looks like Tatsoi to me.

    • Melissa says:


      It’s not tatsoi, although I’ve become a big fan of the stuff. There are so many wonderful greens out there. I did a recent blog post on the variety, but am learning so much from doing this impromptu post! Thanks for your input.

  5. Jo Ann says:

    looks like chinese broccoli

  6. donni says:

    I’m thinking rappini as well. How was the pizza?

  7. Sandra Becker says:


  8. My first impression was watercress…if those leaves are pretty small. Now I’m really curious to know if that’s right!

    • Melissa says:


      It’s not watercress and yes, the leaves are fairly small. Had I known I was going to do this post, I would have included more photos. But as I said, this was a last minute idea. I’m having fun hearing all the responses!

    • Melissa says:


      I’m not familiar with sorrel, but have been researching each new green. It’s been fun! Sorrel is an interesting one. Thanks!

  9. Jody says:

    They look a lot like snow pea greens to me.

    • Melissa says:


      Oooh, good guess, and different, but they’re not snow pea greens. Now you’ve got me curious. I’d love to see (and try) some! Thanks!

  10. I guessed arugula on your facebook page earlier. Looking forward to hearing the answer!

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for making the effort to comment in both places! I really appreciate that. But sorry, it’s not arugula. =)

  11. They look like jewel weed to me, but not sure that you would have those in CO or would cook with them. We have plenty on our mountain property.

    Waiting anxiously … xo,

    • Melissa says:


      Jewel weed? I’ve never heard of that, but what a great name! You’ll have to share a photo of jewel weed next time you’re off camping on your property. Now, I’m curious! xo

  12. Renee says:

    I was going to guess lamb’s quarters too at first. Perhaps rapini?

    And despite having a wildflower folklore book, I can’t figure out where the name Lamb’s Quarters comes from…hmmm. I hope you’re going to tell us!

    • Melissa says:


      Boy, this lamb’s quarter thing really interests me. I’ll do some research and hopefully find something out about it. It’s a new one for me. Lo (above) had a good answer. I’d never heard of mutton tops either (muffin tops, not mutton tops). =)

  13. Sharon Croskery says:


  14. Leigh says:

    my guess was arugula too. maybe wild arugula?

    • Melissa says:


      No, it’s not arugula, wild or otherwise. But now I’m curious as to what the differences might be between the two (wild and not-wild). This post has really been fun. Thanks for commenting!

  15. Alta says:

    I was thinking baby collards, but I don’t think collards grow like that.

    • Melissa says:


      I’ve used baby chard, but not baby collards. Interesting! I imagine they might be a little less rubber glove like. Am I right? I’ll have to search those out. Collard greens are packed with good stuff.

      Oh, I almost forgot. No, not baby collard greens. =)

  16. Cid says:


    I’m going for Kohlrabi greens or perhaps radish greens?


    • Melissa says:


      Leave it to you to come up with something exotic. Kohlrabi greens? That never entered my mind. Also, I’ve never eaten them. What do they taste like? I’ll definitely try them when I start getting kohlrabi in my CSA share. Thanks for your input. Very interesting! xo

  17. Hi Melissa:

    Laura here. My guess is . . .


    It looks a lot like that, tho’ its hard to tell with the specimen in the photo sort of twisted.

    I thought you might be interested in that plant vis the sitch in Germany.

    Laura out.

    • Melissa says:


      Oooh, very interesting guess. I’ve never seen fenugreek, other than in a spice jar. I’m not surprised that you would come up with something unique! That’s not it, but I’m off to do some research on fenugreek. I love the taste, but haven’t seen it in its full glory.

      PS Sorry about the poor photo. You’re right, the twisted look doesn’t show what it really looks like. Like I said, this was last-minute and not planned. =)

  18. This is too hard for my caffeine deprived brain but I am going to go with tatsoi. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself but Jean said it so I am copying the answer 🙂

  19. noelle says:

    I’m going to guess mizuna, because i just learned of it. but it doesn’t really look the same. I’m dying of curiosity now!

  20. I’m stumped! I think they look at lot like kohlrabi, and the leaves remind me more than a bit of catnip, but the stems look wrong.

    • Melissa says:

      Oh, Cheryl – awesome and unique guess(es). Catnip? Wow, I don’t know what catnip looks like, but that’s a first in this growing list of guesses. It’s not catnip or kohlrabi, but I love it that you’re thinking outside the produce box! Thanks!

  21. Nadya says:

    I guessed lambs quarters on FB, of (more likely) young tops of their domestic relative AMARANTH or QUINOA? All are members of the beet or “goosefoot” family.

    • Melissa says:

      YEAH Nadya! You win! These are QUINOA greens and they’re delightful! Good, good job. How did you know?

      I’ll email you and send you your winner’s prize. Hmmm? It will be kitchen oriented, I just don’t know what it will be yet.

      A cookbook? A kitchen utensil? Are you gluten-free?

      I’ll be in touch! Congratulations and way to go, Nadya!!

      Peace, love and you’re RIGHT!

  22. Dia says:

    Yea!! & YES, I’m Gluten Free (2 years – woo hoo!) Our family did the DNA testing, & my daughter had 2 genes, so I went GF with their family – SO glad I did! A cookbook would be awesome, but I would love anything!!

    My computer was being really slow last night, so I finally wrote from my phone! …

    I also have amaranth & quinoa growing, but just seedlings – & it just looked like something in that family 😉 My middle granddaughter LOVES Lambs Quarters, we call them ‘Emily Greens’ & cook up a batch (or 3) like spinach.

    I also have a plant of ‘Good King Henry’ Chenopodium bonus-henricus, which is a perennial version – long grown as in ‘cottage gardens.’ but rarely seen now. I got a plant several years ago, & this year it’s big enough for me to harvest leaves – & I want to save some seed, & see if I can get some more going. It’s also yummy!

    • Melissa says:

      Nadya (Dia),

      Thanks so much for all this information. Although I bought the greens from a market here in Colorado, I’m going to buy some seeds and do some of what you suggest here with quinoa, amaranth and lamb’s quarters.

      I sent you an email and need your address. Check your spam folder if you didn’t get it. I want to send you a GF cookbook for you and your granddaughter! =) My next blog post will be about the greens and the cookbook.

      Thanks again and congratulations!

  23. diana banana says:

    Coolio! I would have never guessed. I don’t see the resemblance to lambsquarters, at least not the kind we have here, aka wild spinach. Ours are paler, with a pointy leaf. So…now that we know what they are…How did they taste?!

  24. Nadya says:

    Diana – they taste a little ‘wilder’ than spinach – I love them! & check out Magentaspreen! I have some pics on my blog 🙂
    I just got seed for that lovely fuscia tipped version, & have ‘cherry vanilla’ quinoa growing in my garden. Melissa posted a lovely pizza topping recipe I tried last night – can I just say YUM?!

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