Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

Greens Encyclopedia

Illustration by Teddy Leinbach

The “It’s a Greens Thing” episode introduced our viewers to a wide variety of greens. Here we offer a list of our favorite greens and others mentioned on the show: 

Boniato Leaves or Sweet Potato Leaves

Pronounced: bow-nee-AH-tow

What you need to know: Boniato and sweet potatoes are different plants in the same family; the tubers and leaves are both edible. Both have a softer texture and less bitter flavor than kale. 

How prepared: Stir fried or sauteed. 

Popular dishes: Stir fried sweet potato leaves


Pronounced: KA-buhj

What you need to know: In the same family as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Sometimes round. Sometimes conical. 

How prepared: Eaten raw in salad. Fermented. Cooked from sauteed, stir fried and roasted.  

Popular dishes: Coleslaw. Sauerkraut. Kimchi. Cabbage rolls

Cassava Leaves

Pronounced: kuh-SAH-vuh

What you need to know: A shrubby, perennial plant with edible roots and leaves. 

How prepared: Stewed.

Popular dishes: Cassava leaf soup, also called saka saka or pondu.  


Pronounced: KAHL-uhrd

What you need to know: It is a variety of cabbage that doesn’t form a head, like kale. Peak season is January to April. An earlier term used by Europeans colonists was “colewort.”

How prepared: Boiled or sauteed. 

Popular dishes: Stewed collards with ham hock. Collard sandwich


Pronounced: roh-ZEL

What you need to know: A tropical plant that is part of the mallow family. 

How prepared: Can be eaten raw in salads or stewed and sauteed. 

Popular dishes: Fried Thai roselle leaves. Chin baung kyaw


Pronounced: SPIN-ihch

What you need to know: Originated in the Middle East. Brought to the United States from Spain. 

How prepared: Eaten raw or boiled or sauteed. 

Popular dishes: Creamed Spinach

Turnip Greens

Pronounced: ter-NUHP grEEN

What you need to know: Slightly sweet when young but become tough and stronger tasting as they age. Peak season is October-March. 

How prepared: Boiled. Sauteed. Steamed. Stir-fried. 

Popular dishes: Stewed with ham hock or other seasoning meat

Water Spinach

Pronounced: WAH-ter SPIN-ihch

What you need to know: Also known as swamp spinach and native to tropical India. 

How prepared: Stir fried or sauteed. 

Popular dishes: Stir Fried Water Spinach