Eating healthy should be one of our top priorities without a doubt, but for the most of us that means just repeating the same dishes over and over again due to an apparent lack of choices. However, there are a ton of healthy foods out there, vegetables in particular, that you have probably never even heard of. This is our list of 12 interesting vegetables that you probably didn’t know about, but which will allow you to expand your healthy menu and have a more versatile diet.
12 Unusual Vegetables That You Have Probably Never Heard Of:
1. Hubbard Squash
An interesting kind of squash, Hubbard Squash is yellow to orange in color and while the exterior may be somewhat unattractive the inside is packed with all sorts of nutritious goodies including Vitamins A and C, potassioum and dietary fiber. Whether you serve it with pasta or in a stew, this squash will certainly be a great benefit to your diet health-wise.
Visually, this vegetable is much different that celery, but it got its name for the similarity in taste. Inside you will find rich deposits of potassium, magnesium and Vitamins B6, C and K. On the outside, you can recognize it by its knobby root and you will be able to buy it at a fairly low price for such a valuable source of nutrition. You can use Celeriac in salads with other delicacies like apples and walnuts or you can cook it and prepare it in a fashion similar to mashed potatoes. The choice is yours and the recipes are many, so have at it.
3. The Purple Sweet Potato from Okinawa
Coming from the tiny island of Okinawa, the home of some of the world’s oldest living people, this potato looks quite normal, if a bit lighter skinned. The inside of this potato however, is quite a bit darker than a regular potato, with dark and purple colors of the interior. The purple pigment inside is actually considered to be one of the sources of the old age people on Okinawa seem to regularly experience, and a powerful antioxidant that cleans your body of all sorts of poisons. The potato is very sweet and can be used in preparation of both regular dishes and desserts.
Coming from newly developed fern, this funny named vegetable has kind of a grass like taste and is usually grown and eaten in Asia and France. The vegetable can only be picked during spring and while it is not easy to find in most markets, if you do stumble upon it, you should definitely give it a try.
Most similar to Dandelions and extremely nutritious, Purslane is a popular part of some of the world’s cuisines such as Greek. Purslane is a great source of nutritional fibers and Omega-3 fatty acids which are extremely healthy. Additionally, this peculiar vegetable is also a great source of vitamins C and E and has a lemony taste. You can use Purslane for sandwiches or salads and it is a very light, crunchy veggie which will fit well in many recipes.
Romanesco looks a lot like a cauliflower and has a green color of a lime. The vegetable is grown almost exclusively in Italy and tastes just like a cauliflower. It has a very interesting shape as the pattern of the spirals on it is very mathematically accurate, known as the mathematical Fibonacci. While this one is basically same as cauliflower it will certainly make for some more interesting conversations due to this peculiarity. The vegetable is a great source of vitamins C and K as well as dietary fiber and carotenoids.
7. Yardlong Beans
The very long beans that clearly got their name for this trait can actually extend well above two feet, which is amazing for a vegetable. They are best harvested before their seeds begin to grow bigger but after the pods have dried off, making the taste similar to that of Black-Eyed Peas. These fascinating vegetables are usually used for preparation of Chinese Green and Red Noodle.
8. Gai Lan
Known by some as Chinese Broccoli due to its taste, Gai Lan does not actually contain the florets present in broccoli and is quite a bit more bitter. The vegetable stalks are usually boiled or stir fried in preparation for eating.
Reffered to as the New Zealand yam for its popularity in this country in the 1800s, the plant is now available around the world and is extremely popular in South America as well as the USA. Oca is a great source of nutrients such as Vitamin C, iron and potassium and since there are so many types of this vegetable, it comes In many various flavors as well. Normally, Oca is somewhat sweeter than potatoes.
Mizuna is commonly used in Japan and is a type of mild mustard green with spicy taste and a variety of powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals present inside. The antioxidants inside it have been known as powerful cancer repellents. For the best results be sure to use the freshest possible Mizuna with green leaves, as they will contain the most nutrients for optimal effect on your immune system.
Roughly eaning Cabbage Turnip in German, Kohlrabi is very similar to regular turnips and includes much of the same nutrients including Vitamin C and fibers. The two top layers are peeled and thrown away while the inside has a great taste both raw and cooked. Asian stores will often have this strange vegetable in them and you may find some at the Farmer’s market but not always.
12. Sea Beans
Also known as Sea Pickles or Sea Asparagus, Sea Beans usually grow in the US swamps and along the beaches of various other countries. The Sea Beans are basically just little seeds with tiny leaves barely visible to the naked eye. The seeds can be eaten without cooking but are very salty and very similar to Asparagus. Using a light butter coating like the French do will greatly improve the flavor and give you a better experience.