We all know that we should make healthier food choices. However, do you ever just get bored with eating the same things for dinner and want some type of change? Then, here is a list of interesting vegetable varieties that you have most likely never heard of before and may want to consider adding to your lunch or dinner menu to shake things up a bit.
12 Unusual Vegetables That You Have Probably Never Heard Of:
This vegetable is similar to a Dandelion, is packed with nutrients, and is very popular in Mexican and Greek cuisine. It provides a good supply of pectin and digestible fiber; Omega-Three Fatty Acids which are obtained directly from the plant; and contains Vitamins E and C. It is crunchy, has a lemon taste, and is frequently added to sandwiches, pesto sauce, and salads.
2. Hubbard Squash
This is a type of wintery squash that has a yellowy-orange colored flesh. Although it is not appealing to the eye, it is beautiful within because it is packed with fiber, potassium, and rich antioxidants consisting of Vitamins C and A. It can be eaten in stew or roasted and combined with kale and pasta.
Although it does not resemble celery, it does have a very similar taste. It is actually an inexpensive vegetable that can be explained as having a knobby-looking root. It is power-packed with magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins K, C, and B6. It is a vegetable that can be used for various purposes. In fact, you can choose to peel and grate it in order to accompany a salad that has walnuts, apples, and beets or you may choose to cook and mash it just like you would mashed potatoes.
4. The Purple Sweet Potato from Okinawa
This sweet spud comes from Okinawa, which is a small island in Japan. It is tan on the outside and actually looks like a regular sweet potato except for being a tad lighter. However, the inside is a very rich purple with a very dark pigment. In fact, the purple hue contains cancer-fighting antioxidant agents and anti-aging factors. It tastes very sweet and is even used to make desserts
With a name like Fiddleheads, who could resist trying them at least once? They are actually curly fonds that come from a newly developed fern. They have a grassy-type taste and are normally eaten in Asia and Northern France. They tend to be found only during the springtime.
This vege looks like a very strange-looking cauliflower that is lime green in color. It comes from Italy, and it actually has the same flavor as a typical cauliflower. It is shaped like a Geometric fractal, and the spirals follow a pattern known as the mathematical Fibonacci. Using this fabulous vege in your next stir fry will really make an interesting topic of conversation during your dinner hour. It can be substituted for traditional cauliflower and is also a great source of carotenoids, fiber, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C.
7. Sea Beans
These green vegetables go by other aliases such as Pickleweeds, Sea Pickles, Sea Asparagus4, and Salicornias5. They grow on beaches, along salt marches4, and by swamps in the United States. Sea Beans are especially loved by the French. The herb consists of a very tiny piece of fruit which contains one seed with leaves that can hardly be seen. Although they can beeaten without being cooked, they tend to be extremely salty. This is why most people cook them in water to help tone down all of the extra salt. Sea Beans actually have a flavor that is much like regular Asparagus; so don’t forget to add a light coating of butter if you choose to spruce up the taste.
8. Yardlong Beans
Yardlong beans obviously get their name due to their incredible length. In fact, the pods can actually extend to two feet or longer. A popular cuisine in Southeast Asia, they have been said to resemble noodles. These amusing vegetables can be grown on trellises in order to allow them room to hang and grow. It is best to harvest them prior to the time that their seeds begin to enlarge. However, you may also choose to wait for the pods to totally become dry and then they will taste very similar to Black-Eyed Peas. In the Mid-West they are extremely popular especially in the Chinese Green Noodle and Chinese Red Noodle options.
9. Gai Lan
This vegetable also goes by the name of “Chinese Broccoli” because it tastes very similar. However, it does not contain the normal broccoli florets and tends to have a more bitter taste. The green stalks and leaves are often boiled or stir-fried.
This is a mild type of mustard green that has been grown in Japan since ancient times. It has a subtle yet spicy taste and contains several items to boost your immunity including iron, folate, and Vitamin C. In addition, it has antioxidants known as glucosinolates, which are often recognized as helpful to reduce the risk of cancer, according to Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, who has also authored the book entitled “The F-Factor Diet.” Be sure to look for the freshest Mizuna available with green leaves that are crisp and not wilted in order to acquire the best benefits.
This word is actually German and it means “Cabbage Turnip.” Kohlrabi is actually in the same family as the turnip and contains many valuable nutrients including high levels of fiber and Vitamin C. It needs to be thoroughly peeled by taking off the first two layers. It has a good taste whether eaten after it is cooked or consumed when raw. It can be found in Asian grocery stores and other specialty food areas as well as at Farmer’s markets.
This colorful vege is sometimes known as the “New Zealand yam” because it has been so popular there since the mid-1800’s. While hard to find in North America, it is second only to the potato in various areas of South America. It is power-packed with iron, potassium, and Vitamin C. There are various flavors available due to all of the different types of Oca that exist. The vegetable tends to be sweeter and have a tangier flavor when compared to traditional potatoes.
source: healthy panda