Fed up with standardized products? The agricultural system has standardized crops excessively. Result: we are offered a limited range of plants. For lack of choice or lack of curiosity, the diet is sometimes monotonous.
What if colorful products came to disrupt all this? Diversifying your menus while eating healthy, here is our selection of 15 unusual and unknown vegetables that will not fail to surprise your guests.
1. The Jumbo Cabbage
Jumbo cabbage, or collard cabbage, is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Very popular in Spain or Portugal, the jumbo cabbage is full of benefits. Its strong antioxidant power makes it a food of choice to prevent cancers. (See those 6 simple anti cancer nutrition tips also) It is also a valuable source of beta-carotene that prevents cognitive decline and good calcium for the bones. In the kitchen, it is cooked with water or steam, a little like spinach.
2. The daikon or Japanese radish
This root vegetable of Asian origin is very popular in Japan. Very low in calories, daikon is an important source of fiber and facilitates digestion. It is also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It is eaten raw, in salad, but also cooked, in a wok for example or in brine (lacto-fermented).
3. Okra (picture of the article)
From Creole and African cuisine, okra, is an important source of manganese and vitamin K. Particularly rich in dietary fiber, this vegetable improves the digestive process and prevents bad cholesterol. Okra is prepared cooked, recooked or stewed in a vegetable or stew mixture.
4. The crazy onion
More decorative and more original than its classic counterpart, the onion has the same virtues: it has a protective action against certain cancers of the digestive system. Its consumption also prevents cardiovascular disorders. The plant has the advantage of being consumed entirely: the long stem is used instead of chives and bulbs are eaten like shallots.
5. The mashua or tuberose nasturtium
Native to South America, the mashua is a small tuber of white color. Its flavor is a little more full-bodied than that of the potato. Like potato, the mashua is cooked boiled, sautéed or gratin. Some even consume it raw and enjoy its spiciness.
6. The violin heads
The fiddleheads owe their name “fiddleheads” to their shape that resembles the butt of the string instrument. This wild vegetable is particularly rich in protein, copper and has important antioxidant properties. In fact, it has a preventive action against cardiovascular diseases and cancers. They are eaten cooked, boiled or steamed.
7. The saber bean
The immense pod of this legume can measure up to 40 cm. Cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, it provides large green pods that usually contain about 15 seeds each. In cooking, we use the pod and seeds harvested before maturity that we cook.
8. The chayote
Chayotte, also called christophine, darling, choko or colocynth depending on the region, is a plant of the cucurbitaceae family. Mainly grown in warm regions, this large green pear has a subtle taste that cooks like zucchini. Astringent and energetic, the chayotte lavishes all these benefits steamed or gratin.
9. The yacon
Also called earth pear, yacon is an edible tuber originating from Peru. The Amerindians used it especially in traditional medicine in the form of syrup. Its sweet taste conceals incredible benefits for the rebalancing of the intestinal flora and the immune system. In the US and Europe, it is usually found as a powder or syrup that is prepared in pastries or added to fresh fruit juice to replace sugar.
10. The salicorne
Salicorne is a plant that grows by the sea and benefits from healthy food algae: it is particularly rich in vitamins (including vitamin C) and minerals. Raw or cooked, it is usually used as a condiment or to enhance the taste of a dish or salad.
11. The helianthi
The helianthi is a root vegetable fallen into disuse. This American salsify is consumed in the same way as the Jerusalem artichoke or salsify: cooked, sautéed, or cooked in gratin. Some people also eat it raw like a radish. Low in calories and high in fiber, helianthi is an important source of iron and potassium.
12. The partridge’s eye
Recognizable by its white, rose-tinted robe, the King Edward or Partridge Eye is a variety of ancient British potatoes. This variety of potato is very rich in starch, which makes it a little floury and not very suitable for cooking with water. Tender and soft, it lends itself perfectly to the preparation of gnocchi or baking.
13. The scorzonera
Another forgotten vegetable that does not lack benefits! This plant has long black cylindrical roots with white flesh particularly tasty. The scorzonera also has great nutritional qualities and is rich in allantoin and vitamins E, B and C but especially in dietary fiber. Roasted or sautéed, it goes well with meat.
14. The cardoon
This winter vegetable, a cousin of the artichoke, fell into oblivion, and that’s a shame. Calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B and C… the cardoon is full of vitamins and minerals and is very rich in fiber. A nutritional nugget, it promotes the digestive process, has important antioxidant properties and regulates blood pressure.
15. Thai eggplant
Black, purple, red, white or green. Eggplant comes in all colors! A popular food of Asian cuisine, the Thai eggplant displays a pale green zebra skin that gives it an air of unripe vegetable. As hand-painted and full-bodied as it is, the Thai eggplant has a white flesh very appreciated for its tenderness.
If it is enough exotics for today, then take a look at 5 Benefits of consuming Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables