What is Mesclun?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 301 A.D., Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as the state religion.   more...

June 25 ,  1951 :  CBS televised the first color telecast.  more...

Mesclun is a mixture of young greens. In addition to including lettuce, it may have things like spinach along with savory chicory and sometimes edible flowers as well. Many cultures have a tradition consuming this mixture, especially in the spring, when fresh new growth can be very refreshing after a long, dark winter. Many markets sell mesclun in their produce sections, and it is also possible to grow it at home. By growing it at home, you can control exactly which plants go into the mixture, ensuring a desired flavor.

The word comes from the Provencal French mesclom, which is derived from misculare, a Latin word meaning “to mix.” As the name implies, the primary characteristic of mesclun is that it includes a diverse mixture of greens. Because the greens are young, they tend to be extremely tender and often highly flavorful.

Greens in mesclun can include endive, chicory, frisee, dandelion greens, lettuce, spinach, sorrel, chard, mustard, arugula, radicchio, chervil, and many more. Some mixes also integrate edible flowers, which can range in flavor from spicy nasturtiums to delicate rose petals. In addition to being flavorful and interesting, the diversity of this dish is also healthy, including a rich selection of useful dietary minerals and vitamins. This trait probably explains why mixes of young greens have historically been very popular, especially for pregnant women.


A plate of mesclun is perfectly good on its own, although some people also like to add dressings. Light dressings are definitely recommended, as they allow the flavor of the greens to come through more fully. It is also perfectly acceptable to add ingredients like slices of pears, mandarin wedges, cheeses, roasted vegetables, and so forth; try not to go overboard, however, as you do not want to overwhelm the greens.

When picking out mesclun in a store or farmers' market, look for crisp, healthy leaves with no signs of slime or discoloration, and try to shake up the basket a bit to ensure that you get a good mix. A good store will also have a list of the included greens, giving you an idea of what kind of flavors and textures to expect. You can also grow your own by purchasing seeds for desired greens and planting them in a bed or window box, harvesting tender young leaves as needed. For extra flavor, add herbs like thyme and oregano to the mix.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 7

This is so easy to grow. I started seeds in a pot which sits in morning sun for two weeks then put outside under eves. That was a month ago and now ready to eat. Nice and great for early spring cleanses.

Post 6

I find all the flavors in a mesclun salad recipe so intriguing! It's so much more interesting than eating a salad with only one or two greens.

I have no idea what most of the greens are, and it doesn't matter. All I care about is how they taste when combined. I love a salad with a bit of bite, so I'm not a plain lettuce girl.

I love adding halved red grapes and chopped celery to my mesclun salad. Sometimes, I will toss in some chopped pecans as well. I always use Italian salad dressing to bring all the flavors together.

I've read that eating salad dressing helps your body absorb the nutrients from the greens. You have to eat a little fat with them in order to get all the benefits they offer.

Post 5

@JackWhack – It might be red chicory. I've seen that in a mesclun mix before, and it is terribly bitter.

I don't like mesclun, because the only thing I really eat out of it is spinach. I love raw spinach with salad dressing, but I despise so many of the other greens, so it isn't worth buying to me.

Post 4

I have honestly never heard mixed greens referred to as “mesclun” before. My supermarket literally labels the bags “mixed greens.”

I've seen spinach and sorrel mixed with something dark purple in one of these bags. I'm not sure what the purple stuff is, but it is so bitter! I discard it when I get home.

I love the taste of spinach and the other green leaves in the mix. I just wish they'd stop putting the purple junk in there! Does anyone know what it is?

Post 3

In mesclun, the lettuce is usually the green leaf variety. I don't think I've ever seen iceberg lettuce in a mix with other greens.

I greatly prefer the flavor of green leaf lettuce, anyway. Iceberg is so bland, and it has no nutritional value. Green leaf goes with the other ingredients in mesclun so well, not only because it matches, but also because it contains vitamins.

Post 2

@Mor - I agree with you that buying loose mesclun greens is a better buy. Mesclun salad is one of my favorite things to eat in the spring and summer because of all the bold, bright flavors. You feel like you are eating your whole backyard at once. I've always thought that organic mesclun greens offered a better flavor.

Post 1

Mesclun salad mix in the supermarket is usually offered in plastic packaging, or you can get it loose.

I find it better value to buy a scoop of loose mesclun leaves. The bags are often too big and aren't used in time, and the scoop is cheaper anyway. Mesclun is really great as a base for other salads.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?