Trying to eat more veggies? While lettuce, tomatoes, corn and carrots make your grocery list and ultimately make it to your breakfast, lunch or dinner plate, think about changing up your vegetable routine. As a Together Counts™ partner for healthy active living, we know adding a new vegetable into the mix, whether sweet or savory, can inspire your taste buds. Soon you may find yourself lingering a little longer in the produce section to find something new.
Still, some veggies are lesser-known or unknown altogether! Check out these picks for five veggies you’ve probably never heard of and then challenge yourself to find, prepare and enjoy some exotic selections.
Also known as edible cactus, cactus paddles or cactus pads, nopales, which taste like green beans, have iron, beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium and some B vitamins. Sold at Mexican grocery stores, nopales are available year-round with peak season being spring through fall. They can be served raw or cooked Add cut up nopales to salsa, salad and side dishes. Nopales are especially delicious when paired with scrambled eggs!
Don’t let the funny name stop you from trying this tasty veggie! Fiddleheads, which are compared in taste to broccoli and asparagus, have many health benefits. They’re high in iron as well as in anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Make sure you wash them, and also, don’t eat them raw, which can result in illness. Instead sauté fiddleheads as an appetizer or a side, or serve them for the main dish, such as fiddleheads and shrimp tossed with pasta.
An edible crunchy root, oca is a versatile vegetable which can be served boiled, baked or fried. The cylindrical veggie, which is similar to potato, can be yellow, white, purple or red. It’s eaten raw with salt, lemon and hot pepper. It can also be sundried to become sweeter and used in desserts.
Known as an ugly vegetable, celeriac has lots of flavor – tasting like a cross between parsley and celery. Don’t eat the greenery; instead, go for the edible roots! Celeriac is great in soup, stew and cooked with a roast. The taste can be strong on its own though, so Epicurious suggests using it grated raw in a salad, paired with other strong flavors such as carrots and beets.
This winter, white veggie grows in southwest and eastern Asia. The daikon radish has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced inflammation, a boost in immunity, improvement in digestion, and like with many vegetables, prevention of certain types of cancer. Daikon radish is typically diced and added to soups, salads, condiments and rice dishes.
When looking for ways to bump up your veggie intake, think outside the box with more unusual choices like these to add flavor and variety to your meals. What unusual vegetables would you recommend?
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For more ideas on ways to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine, take a look at these other articles from Together Counts!