Want more veggies in your life, maybe even some new ones? If so, this list of vegetables might give you some ideas. Moreover, many of these veggies can help you lose weight, either on their own or as part of a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. Why? Because they're the sort of generously "fibered" and (for the most part) low-carb foods that tend to ease the appetite while also helping to moderate blood-sugar levels.
besides providing a heap of nutrients, they can also give you a hand with slimming down: best veggies for dieting. Hard to find anything not to like about a twofer like that, right?
But if some enticing veggie below is one you've never eaten before, please nibble slowly when tasting it for the first time. Although I've yet to hear of a green-vegetable allergy, a little caution at first seems a sensible precaution...just in case you have an unanticipated sensitivity.
Got a candidate for this list of vegetables yourself? Share it with us, and I'll post your contribution as soon as I can. Meanwhile, if you'd also like to explore vegetables with pods or those developing from blossoms, see the "Veggie Pages" box in the (lower) right column. Finally, for some easy way to prepare your veggies, click here.
Amaranth: with "roots" in the
Americas, this plant yields both greens and grain (speaking of "twofers." 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. As you may know or will discover, 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. Nevertheless, many very enticing salad recipes feature this green and leafy veggie; its tartness partners well with fruit in such salads.
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 vegetable 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 believe I'd use less onion myself and perhaps add some grated ginger.) If you've never tried raw bok choy as a salad green, you have a nice surprise in store.
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, diced, or shredded, these baby cabbages add crunch and a peppery taste to salads. And many people eat them whole and steamed, boiled, or roasted. (But not me, baby!)
Cabbage: self-evident, surely, and no veggie list
would be complete without it. A surprisingly versatile vegetable, it can be eaten
both raw or cooked, preserved as sauerkraut or kimchi, and even baked in
quick breads. Bonus: because of its long
refrigerator life, you might (still!) have some leaves nice enough to use for these wonderful roll-ups. Napa cabbage lends itself particularly well to rollups, BTW.
Catsear: sometimes called false dandelion and considered a noxious weed in Washington state (USA); said to be palatable to livestock. Maybe we don't need to race right out to try this one...
Celery: probably needs no introduction, right? But did you also know that celery is related not only to carrots, but also to parsley? And to fennel, as well, although that relative is less surprising than the first two. Although this stringy but tasty veggie is perfect for dipping into sauces and dips, partake sparingly if your doc wants you to cut down on sodium. (It's great for getting more fluid into your body, though.)
Celtuce: named after its unique combination of celery-like stalks and lettuce-like leaves, is also sometimes called asparagus lettuce and celery lettuce, among others. In China the plant is grown mainly for the fat central stalk, which is quite crispy and tender. This one I've neither seen nor tried, but it sounds tasty, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I've yet to find it in any of our markets.
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 some cooks might decide to 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.
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
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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. But please do none of those things if harvested from the side of a road or a lawn that's had pesticide applications!
Endive: a versatile and crunchyveggie, endive comes in two
versions and has two separate pronunciations. The top 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 lower one, 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 digestible. Before trying this yourself (which I don't really recommend), please do some research.
Fat hen: “Now considered a weed, fat hen was once valued for its fatty seeds and edible leaves.” (Hutchinson encyclopedia) Fun name, but you probably won't find it in your local market.
Fiddleheads: appearing on this list of vegetables because they're edible ferns, both outrageously tasty and interesting 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 snap or 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. To preserve the green beans' awesome nutritional benefits, please Do Not overcook.
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." If you can't take it cooked, try eating it raw—big difference in taste (and smell).
Kohlrabi: a bulb veggie growing above ground. Often green, kohlrabi is also sometimes white or purple. Although its many leaf stems (which aren't showing much here) 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. (Nope, I've never had the pleasure of tasting it.)
Lagos bologi: leafy plant grown in West Africa,
South Asia, Southeast Asia, and warmer parts of North America and South
America. Said to be 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, and mache (watch out for grit). If you can find them, try those little bitty heads that are so cute and crunchy—sometimes called Little Gems.
Melokhia: an Egyptian herb similar to spinach; often used in soups. Does Popeye know?!
Miner’s Lettuce (a.k.a. winter purslane, Indian lettuce, and Cuban spinach): a cooler-weather veggie that certain references advise eating in moderation because of mildly toxic elements (oxalic acid and nitrates). Works well in salads and can also be boiled as a "faux" spinach. (Miners used to eat it to ward off scurvy!) Click here for a fuller 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. (Definitely a 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,
because of its "slime" factor, this veggie doesn't appeal to everyone. Okra pods can be
boiled, battered and fried, or roasted to either the delight or dismay of its consumers. For a more-upbeat perspective on this veggie, see this article
Pak choy: see bok choy.
Parsley: an attractive garnish (and apparently yet another relative of celery!), parsley also packs a lot of nutrition into its curly leaves. It's particularly high in Vitamins K and C and also contains a nice portion of Vitamin A. Although often used as a (rather strong) flavoring herb, some people also enjoy it as a raw vegetable. Used in certain juice recipes, as well.
Pea pods: Self-evident, right? Wonderful cooked or raw as a crunchy "dipper" or salad ingredient. I particularly appreciate this veggie for its "keeping" qualities.
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- or pinkish-purple, instead), but leafy; keeps amazingly well and punches-up salads with its bright, peppery taste. Pretty, too, as you see (left).
Samphire: long, fleshy, bright-green, shining leaflets
(full of aromatic juice); long used as a condiment and pickle, or as a
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, sorrel can have 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. [Although the sound quality could be better, this video demonstrates a fairly easy way to grow sunflower sprouts.
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 photo-sensitivity in some people. So, 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 of vegetables. Noticed some already? Then, please let us know. But above all, eat some of these veggies yourself!
Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.
Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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