List of Vegetables Green and/or Leafy
The veggies on the list of vegetables below are the sort of generously "fibered" and (for the most part) low-carb foods that tend to both fill you up and help moderate your blood-sugar levels. So, besides giving you great nutrients, they can also help you slim down. What's not to like there, right?
But—if some enticing veggie below is one you've never eaten before, please nibble slowly when tasting it for the first time. Just in case you have a sensitivity you're unaware of...
Got a candidate for this list of vegetables? Share it with us, and I'll post your contribution as soon as I can.
- Amaranth: with "roots" in the Americas, this plant yields both greens and grain. The greens, also known as Chinese spinach, are sometimes steamed or boiled and then mashed and mixed with various seasonings. Please note that, like spinach, amaranth contains a fair amount of oxalic acid.
- Artichoke: a member of the sunflower family, the mature (globe) artichoke evolves from a spectacular blue thistle-like blossom into its somewhat forbidding veggie form. Although requiring some prep time, the artichoke's fabulous taste and nutritional value more than repay the effort. BTW: artichoke hearts make great appetizers!
- Arugula: mainly a salad green and also sometimes known as rocket; considered by some, including myself, to be rather bitter.
- Asparagus: the spears of this plant are a great source of folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, thiamine, and vitamins A and C. To preserve its delicate taste and texture, please do not overcook this veggie. Even two minutes is too long, IMHO. Then toss with a little olive oil or butter, parmesan cheese, and perhaps a touch of lemon juice or zest. Yummm.
- Beet greens: the leafy tops of the beet root. These make a very tasty veggie dish, lacking the bitterness of certain other greens. To avoid the joys of crunching grit, however, be sure to soak and rinse the greens a couple of times before cooking.
- Bitterleaf: a new one for me, although apparently widely eaten in Africa, so it belongs on this list of vegetables. There, bitterleaf is used as not only as a vegetable but also as a remedy for, among other things, upset stomach and skin infections. A soup made with dried bitter leaf is said to be quite popular in Nigeria.
- Bok choy: a Chinese vegetable you may be eating already in the occasional stir fry. (Here's a nice recipe, although I'd use less onion myself and add some grated ginger.) Raw bok choy makes a great salad, by the way.
- Broccoli: chock full of great stuff, although hard for some of us to take when cooked; makes a fine dipper for sauces when raw but does provide more lycopene when cooked. Bummer if you don't like it that way, but oh well...
- Brussels sprouts: also more palatable to some of us when raw. Sliced very thinly, these baby cabbages add a nice peppery taste to salads. But many people eat them whole and steamed, boiled, or roasted.
- Cabbage: self-evident, surely, and no veggie list would be complete without it. A versatile vegetable, it can be eaten both raw or cooked, preserved as sauerkraut or kimchi, and even baked quick breads! A particularly nice feature of cabbage is its long refrigerator life.
- Catsear: sometimes called false dandelion and considered a noxious weed in Washington state (USA); said to be palatable to livestock. Ummm, I don't think we need race out to try this one out.
- Celery: probably needs no introduction, right? This stringy but tasty veggie is perfect for sauces and dips, although partake sparingly if your doc wants you to cut down on sodium.
- Celtuce: named after its unique combination of celery-like stalks and lettuce-like leaves. In China the plant is grown mainly for the fat central stalk, which is quite crispy and tender. This one I'm neither seen nor tried, but it sounds tasty, no?
- Ceylon spinach: tender and fast growing tropical climber with thick heart-shaped leaves and white flowers; high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
- Chard: a mild but flavorful green not unlike spinach. Some varieties have colorful but also very tough stems, so savvy cooks generally retain white stems only. Nutritional studies suggest that chard helps regulate blood sugar, a handy attribute in such a tasty veggie.
- Chaya: a popular leafy vegetable in Mexican and Central American cuisines, it too resembles spinach. The leaves must be cooked before eating, however, as the raw leaves are toxic. I’m giving this one a pass, myself.
- Chinese cabbage: a term covering a variety of greens used in Chinese cuisine, including bok choy. In the West, the veggie commonly known by this term is Napa cabbage, which has a mild, almost sweet flavor that complements stronger-flavored ingredients. (A great candidate for just about any list of vegetables, no?)
- Collard greens: a green with thick and slightly bitter leaves often eaten in the American South with smoked and fatty meats. Vegetarians may want to season these greens with onions and/or garlic, vinegar, and even some hot peppers. Collards are often eaten with feijoada, a Portuguese stew, and are also popular in Kashmir, where people eat the roots as well as the greens.
- Corn salad: also called Lewiston cornsalad, lamb's lettuce, field salad, mâche, and rapunzel, this habitué of veggie lists has dark spoon-shaped leaves and a particularly tangy flavor.
- Dandelion: more than just a lawn pest, the dandelion is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, and also contains iron, potassium, and zinc. Try adding its (well-washed!) leaves to salads, sandwiches, and teas for extra punch, and/or make wine from its pretty yellow flowers. (Yes!)
- Endive: a versatile veggie, endive comes in two versions and has two separate pronunciations. One plant, often called Belgian endive, yields small oblong heads with tightly furled white/light-green leaves; these are pronounced ahn-deev, in the French manner. The other, with looser and darker-green curly leaves, is pronounced enn-dive. Although both make wonderful salad ingredients, the headed version is the one more-commonly cooked.
- Epazote: said to be poisonous in large quantities, but is sometimes used in small amounts to make beans more digestable. Before trying this yourself, read about it here.
- Fat hen: “Now considered a weed, fat hen was once valued for its fatty seeds and edible leaves.” (Hutchinson encyclopedia) Fun name, but you're probably not going to find it in your local market.
- Fiddleheads: appearing on this list of vegetables because they're edible ferns, both outrageously tasty and also entertaining to watch as they cook. Get them whenever you can! (And lots of luck with that, she said grumpily.)
- Garden rocket: (see arugula)
- Golden samphire: a leafy bush with large yellow flowers growing in marshy or coastal areas; its young leaves are eaten raw or cooked.
- Good King Henry: a type of spinach eaten either raw or cooked. Native to Central and Southern Europe.
- Green beans: also known as string beans, these long green pods are often blanched or lightly steamed. Because they're such a versatile veggie, they taste equally good alone or combined with other foods in stir-fry dishes, salads, and casseroles. At some USA tables, certain holidays would feel incomplete without a green-bean casserole!
- Kai-lan: also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale.
- Kale: if you don't know this veggie very well, click here. A nutritional powerhouse of its magnitude should be on everybody's "list of vegetables"!
- Kohlrabi: a bulb veggie growing above ground. Often green, kohlrabi is also sometimes white or purple. Although its many leaf stems give it an oddish look, it’s actually quite tasty and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Try the bulb coarsely shredded in salads, for example, and toss the leaves into stir fries...
- Komatsuna: a leafy vegetable with a flavor resembling mustard greens; used in salads or Asian stir fry dishes.
- Kuka leaves: young, fresh baobab leaves; similar to spinach and eaten in similar ways—i.e., raw or cooked. Sometimes these leaves are dried and ground into a powder to add to soups and stews for thickening.
- Lagos bologi: leafy plant grown in West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and warmer parts of North America and South America. Rather like spinach…
- Land cress: also known as American cress, bank cress, Belle Isle cress, Bermuda cress, early yellowrocket, early wintercress, scurvy cress, and upland cress; easier to cultivate than watercress.
- Lettuce: I think most of us have experienced at least a few varieties of this wonderful salad green: romaine, iceberg, oak leaf, mache (watch out for grit), and those little bitty heads that are so cute and tasty.
- Melokhia: an Egyptian herb similar to spinach; often used in soups. Another great thing about spinach—you can find it all over the world.
- Miner’s Lettuce (a.k.a. winter purslane, Indian lettuce, and Cuban spinach): a member of the purslane family that (in North America) grows in cooler areas of California and also in British Columbia and Alaska. At one time it was eaten to ward off scurvy because of its high vitamin A and C content. Some references advise eating it in moderation, however, because of certain mildly toxic elements (oxalic acid and nitrates). Works well in salads and can also be boiled as a "faux" spinach. Click here to access a whole page of description...
Mizuna greens: a Japanese mustard green with jagged-edge green leaves and a peppery flavor; used in salads, stir-fries and soups.
- Mustard greens: quick to mature and easy to grow, this veggie is a cool-season crop popular for "greens" recipes and salads. (Another veggie no "list of vegetables" should be without!)
- New Zealand spinach: also known as (among other things) sea spinach, Botany Bay apinach, and Cook's Cabbage. Native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile, and Argentina this plant produces smaller and much-smoother leaves than traditional spinach. It can be eaten in similar ways, however; like traditional spinach, it contains oxalic acid.
- Okra: Oh boy, what can I say about okra that’s fit for gentle ears? Let's just say that it can be an acquired taste because of its "slime" factor. Still it belongs on this list of vegetables because some people actually like it. Okra pods can be boiled, battered and fried, or roasted. Apparently some people also use the pods in salads or cooked veggie mixtures, in casseroles and stir fries, or added to soups. For a more-upbeat perspective on this veggie, see this article.
- Orache: leafy vegetable with a salty, spinach-like taste; also called Red orache, Mountain spinach, or French spinach.
- Pak choy: see bok choy.
- Pea pods: Self-evident, right? Wonderful cooked or raw, as a crunchy "dipper" or salad ingredient.
- Purslane: mild, chewy vegetable with a thick reddish stem; has a slight citrus flavor that's yummy in salads. **If gathering it wild, watch out for spurge, a poisonous creeping wild plant sometimes found near purslane. (FYI: spurge has a wiry stem that gives off a white, milky sap when you break it.)
- Radicchio: Not green (reddish-purple), but leafy; keeps amazingly well and punches up salads with its bright, peppery taste.
- Rapini: a green veggie with spiked leaves surrounding a green bud that looks much like a small head of broccoli. Often, there are small yellow flowers blooming from the buds, which are edible. Flavor said to be nutty, sometimes bitter and pungent, and often delicious.
- Samphire: long, fleshy, bright-green, shining leaflets (full of aromatic juice); long used as a condiment and pickle, or as a salad ingredient.
- Sea beet: grows wild along some shores in Great Britain; often known as wild spinach, its leaves have a pleasant texture and taste when served raw or cooked.
- Seakale: a member of the cabbage family, it is a perennial grown for its blanched young shoots.
- Sierra Leone bologi: shade-tolerant perennial vine growing particularly in Sierra Leone; has spinach-like leaves that are often eaten steamed. Click to see a photo of Sierra Leone bologi.
- Soko: broadleaf vegetable of the Amaranth family; a popular veggie in Nigeria, where they call it soko yokoto: (“make husbands fat and happy.”) Whatever it takes, right?
- Sorrel: leafy garden herb with a sourish flavor; often used in soups, salads, and sauces. Apparently, it has a laxative effect, so…
- Spinach: ummm, we do all know this one, right?
- Sprouts: the first tender shoots, often grown indoors, from such seeds as alfalfa, broccoli, clover, and sunflower and also from legumes. Besides having a delicious taste, sprouts are a highly concentrated source of nutrients. Great for eating right out of your hand, they also make a terrific salad ingredient.
- Swiss chard: see Chard.
- Taro Leaves (suggested by Jennifer in Virginia, USA): "My husband is from Samoa, and we love to eat taro leaves...We stack a few leaves in our hand to make a bowl, adding sliced onions, coconut cream, salt, and sometimes corned beef or pork. Then we fold it all up, wrap it into a foil ball to keep the cream inside, and bake it at 325 degrees (fahrenheit) for about 3 hours. They are just lovely." BTW: please do Not eat taro leaves raw.
- Tatsoi: also called spinach mustard, spoon mustard, or rosette bok choy; has a soft creamy texture and a subtle flavor. Said to withstand temperatures down to –10°C (15°F) and remain edible even when harvested under the snow.
- Turnip greens: a good calcium source for vegetarians and everyone else, turnip greens are simply the leafy tops of mature turnips; also worth noting is their high vitamins K and A content. Cooking method? Foodies recommend steaming for 5 minutes or so to get the best taste.
- Watercress: a peppery and nutritious veggie often used in sandwiches and salads today, this cress has been promoted for many centuries as a preventive or remedy for various maladies including scurvy. Many people, however, eat it simply for its bright taste.
- Water spinach: green plant with very narrow leaves and light-green stalks; often used in Chinese cuisine.
- Yarrow: mostly known for blossoms, its young leaves can be eaten either lightly cooked or in salads. BUT it is said that extended use of this plant, either medicinally or in the diet, can cause allergic skin rashes or lead to photosensitivity in some people. Maybe give this one a miss unless you love taking risks...
Seems like a lot of green and leafies, doesn’t it? But there are also bound to be some missing candidates from this list. Noticed some already? Then, please let us know. But above all, eat some of these veggies yourself!
Final note: For a be-all and end-all list of vegetables, look for this excellent reference book (incredible photos) in your library. It's great not only for vegetarians, but also for people who just want to eat more veggies. If your library doesn't have it, you can find it at Amazon...for a price (which will be considerably lower if you buy a used copy): Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
Check out our List of Vegetables with Pods
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