Wash and Store Your Greens the Right Way to Maximize Taste and Reduce Food Waste

Eating more leafy greens is always a good idea. Vegetables like kale, spinach, and arugula are nutrient-dense, and they’re incredibly versatile, too (as you can see from our delicious vegan recipes below!). But before you start cooking with leafy greens, it’s a good idea to prep them carefully by washing them first and then storing them correctly. Here’s why. 

Why should you wash your greens?

There are a few reasons why it’s important to wash your greens with water before you eat them. First, many store-bought greens may be treated with chemicals, like pesticides, and washing helps to remove any leftover residue.

Washing your greens can also help to get rid of dirt, grime, and any harmful pathogens. In 2023, one study, published in the journal Foods, looked into the microbiological concerns linked with minimally processed vegetables, like ready-to-eat salads. The researchers suggested that washing these products, even when the packaging states they have already been washed, could reduce the risk of foodborne diseases.

Washing greens in advance may also help to reduce food waste, as clean produce is less prone to spoilage.


How to wash and store your greens

Washing and storing greens is quick and easy—all you need is a spare 10 minutes, water, a bowl, and some paper towel, according to recipe blog The Lemon Bowl.

In one post, founder Liz Della Croce explains that all you need to do is fill one bowl with cold water, before immersing your greens completely. “Slowly lift the greens out of the bowl and place them on a double layer of paper towel (about three to four squares in length),” she continues. “As you lift the greens, the dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl.”

After that, grab a second paper towel and layer it over the top, before gently and slowly rolling up the greens “like sushi,” to dry them. Leave them wrapped in the towel and place them in a bag in the fridge, and you’re done!


Is it worth buying a salad spinner?

To make things even easier, there are plenty of salad spinners on the market, like this one from OXO or this one from Cuisinart. These handy kitchen tools are designed to wash and dry salad greens quickly and efficiently.

The spinning mechanism effectively helps to dislodge stubborn dirt and debris from salad leaves, but it also helps to remove excess water, too. Drying with a salad spinner also helps leaves maintain their crispiness (after all, nobody likes a soggy salad!).

Most salad spinners also come with a lid, which allows them to double as handy storage containers for the refrigerator, too. This is particularly convenient for meal prep, as it helps keep the greens fresh until you’re until you’re ready to use them.

One key thing to look for when you’re shopping for a salad spinner, however, is to find one with easy-to-clean components. This makes the spinner a convenient and easy-to-use kitchen tool that doesn’t add too much to your daily load.

Bonus: 5 leafy green recipes

When you’ve washed and prepped your greens, the next thing to do is to enjoy eating them. Here, we’ve picked just a handful of our favorite vegan leafy green recipes!

VegNews.WhiteBeanAvocadoLinda Soper-Kolton

1 Avocado, White Bean, and Arugula Wraps With Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms

These wraps, packed with creamy avocado, white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and peppery arugula, make for a delightful vegan lunch. Top with homemade shiitake crisps for added crunch.
Get the recipe


2 Easy Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

Crispy sourdough croutons, garlicky kale, and a creamy, tangy miso-Dijon dressing are a match made in salad heaven in this zesty recipe. Prep in advance for a light lunch, or, if you’re preparing a two- or three-course meal, it makes for a delicious starter.
Get the recipe

VegNews.LemonySpinachChickpeaPilafKaty Beskow

3 Vegan Spinach, Chickpea, and Lemon Pilaf

If you’re in the mood for something healthy and quick, you can whip up this tasty pilaf in just 15 minutes. Bursting with spiced rice, chickpeas, and vibrant greens, it’s a one-pot wonder that is perfect for quick meals or potlucks.
Get the recipe

VegNews.PintoPecanLettuceJackie Sobon

4 Vegan Pinto Bean & Pecan Lettuce Tacos

This tasty twist on traditional tacos features romaine leaves, pecans, pinto beans, and plenty of spices. It’s a plant-based, protein-rich, flavor-packed delight—perfect for healthy work lunches.
Get the recipe

VegNews.SpicyKoreanBLT.FeatureClare Winfield

5 Vegan Korean-Inspired BLT With Spicy Gochujang Mayonnaise

Featuring smoked tempeh, pickled chilies, and a zesty gochujang mayonnaise, you won’t want to make your vegan BLTs any other way after trying this recipe. Serve with plenty of lettuce and watercress for extra nutrition and texture.
Get the recipe

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