If you’re used to eating only the usual suspects in the vegetable aisle, such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, lettuce, and cabbage, you may have never heard of these 8 healthy but weird vegetables before.
Maybe it’s time to expand your horizons and try something new! Here are eight strange but healthy vegetables to try this week. Their unusual flavors might take some time to get used to, but once you do, you’ll be adding them to your weekly shopping list in no time.
The Healthiest Weird Vegetables to Try
Daikon, also known as Chinese or Japanese radish, is a winter radish and a cruciferous vegetable native to East Asia and commonly consumed in Japan. It’s a white, crunchy, peppery root vegetable with a taste similar to a mild red radish and a shape like a giant carrot.
Daikon is a great source of vitamin C and folate, with 7-inch long daikon containing 124 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement and 24 percent of your daily folate requirement. It also contains reasonable amounts of other nutrients, including copper, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, fiber, and pantothenic acid.
Additionally, it’s rich in two potent antioxidants: quercetin and ferulic acid, which have been linked to various health benefits. Ferulic acid works explicitly to boost the effects of other antioxidants in the body. At the same time, quercetin has been linked to reduced inflammation, lowered blood sugar and blood pressure levels, increased exercise performance, improved brain health, and anti-cancer and anti-allergy benefits. Read More.
Easy ways to eat daikon
Daikon is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many different ways. Here are some other recipes you might enjoy.
i. Daikon stir fry
Daikon star fry is a dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or main course. It is simple to make and requires only a few ingredients. The best part? It’s perfect for those days when you don’t have much time to cook but still want something delicious and nutritious to eat.
- 2 medium-sized daikons, diced into large chunks
- 1⁄2 cup of green peas
- 1 red onion, sliced into thick rings
- 2 tablespoons of ginger and garlic paste
- 1/2 cup of cashew nuts
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- Coriander for garnish (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When it is hot enough, add onions.
Stir fry until onions are partially cooked.
- Add ginger/garlic paste and stir fry for another minute or two.
- Add cashew nuts and stir fry until they turn golden brown.
- Add daikon chunks, peas, salt, pepper, and coriander leaves (if using), cover with a lid and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- You can also include other vegetables like carrots or potatoes if you prefer. Serve with rice or rotis along with any curry of your choice!
ii. Fried daikon
Daikon can be fried and enjoyed as a side dish or as a snack. Cut it into strips, lightly salt it, and then fry it. The crispiness of freshly fried daikon is delightful when topped with sweet-and-sour sauce. Daikon fries make for a great comfort food alternative to french fries, so if you haven’t tried them yet, give them a try!
iii. Daikon salad
This salad is a great way to enjoy daikon in a fresh and healthy way. It is easy to make and can be made ahead of time, so it is perfect for a quick and easy meal.
To make daikon salad, first, wash the daikon and then peel it. Cut the daikon into bite-sized pieces and mix with your favorite dressing. This salad is best served cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!
iv. Boiled daikon
The easiest way to prepare Daikon is simply to boil it for 10 minutes. This is a great introductory recipe and the perfect way to use up leftover Daikon!
Serve hot with soy sauce, rice vinegar, or other condiments. You can enjoy boiled daikon as is or add it to any number of dishes for an added boost of nutrients and flavor.
2. Chayote squash
Chayote squash is a thin-skinned, wrinkly green pear-shaped fruit that’s eaten as a vegetable.
It comes from the gourd family and originates from Central America. It has white flesh with a mild flavor making it a versatile addition to many recipes. Chayote can be eaten raw or cooked.
It’s a great low-carb vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. It’s also high in water content, making it great for juicing.
Benefits include boosting liver function, improving digestive health, promoting hydration, inhibiting the progression of certain cancers such as cervical cancer and leukemia, fighting infections, and increasing folate intake, especially for pregnant women. Black Chayote.
Easy ways to eat chayote squash
I. As a Side Dish
Chayote squash can be enjoyed as a side dish with any meal. Simply cube the squash and sauté it in a little olive oil or butter until it is soft. Then, add your favorite seasoning and serve warm.
ii. In Soup
Chayote squash can be used in soup as a substitute for potatoes or other starchy vegetables. Simply cube the squash and add it to your soup along with water or vegetable broth.
iii. As a Snack
Chayote squash is also great as a snack. Cube the squash and fry it in some oil or butter until it is soft. Then, season it with salt and pepper, and enjoy!
iv. As an appetizer
Cube the squash and sauté it in a little oil or butter until it is soft. Add your favorite seasoning and serve warm or cold.
v. In Salads
Chayote squash can be used in salads as well. Shred the squash or cut it into cubes and add it to your salad along with other vegetables like diced tomatoes,
Also known as romanesco broccoli, romanesco is an edible flower and a part of the brassica family, including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
It has a fascinating appearance with complex spiral-like buds.
You can prepare it as you would cauliflower recipe, including eating it raw, light cooking, steaming, cooking it through, or sautéing.
Research shows that brassica vegetables such as romanesco are rich in antioxidants and other compounds that may help fight against cancer and boost the immune system.
Easy ways to eat Romanesco
I. Make a salad with walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
First, prepare the romanesco lettuce by tearing it into small pieces. Add the walnuts and pomegranate vinaigrette to a bowl and mix well. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature and enjoy!
ii. As a side dish
To enjoy Romanesco as a side dish, simply steam it or boil it in water. It can also be grilled, sautéed, or roasted. Serve it with baked potatoes or rice or any other food of choice.
iii. As a soup base
Add some stock to make a delicious and healthy soup. This soup is especially good when it is cold outside and you want something warming that will fill you up.
iv. Use it as a salad dressing
Shred and mix with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to create your own unique salad dressing.
v. For a dinner option
Romanesco can be cooked in the oven or on the stovetop. Try roasting it with some garlic cloves and onions for a delicious and healthy dinner option.
Rutabaga is another unique yet nutritious vegetable that you should be consuming.
It’s a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the same family as cauliflower, kale, and cabbage.
This vegetable closely resembles a turnip and is believed to be a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.
Besides that, it has a very mild flavor and are low in calories. They also contain essential nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.
Easy ways to eat rutabaga
I. Roast it
The easiest way to eat rutabaga is by roasting it. There are so many different spices and seasonings you can use when roasting that it’s hard not to have an exciting new dinner every time. Take half of your rutabaga and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and a bit of olive oil. Throw in your oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Once cooked through (use a fork), drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve warm.
ii. Add it to soups
When making soup at home add rutabagas—you won’t even notice they are there, but you will see how much creamier your soup has become. This is one of my all-time favorite health hacks.
iii. Turn it into fries
A healthy alternative to french fries, rutabaga fries are low in calories and high in nutrients. Simply peel and slice your rutabaga into french-fries shaped pieces and roast them at 350°F until crispy—about 15 minutes.
iv. Sautee with onions
Sauteeing vegetables is an excellent way to preserve flavor and texture, and it’s ideal for rutabagas. Peel your rutabaga first, and be sure to cut off extra stringy fiber at its core. Doing so will allow you to slice and dice it easily while shortening cooking time—mix diced rutabaga with sliced onions and green peppers for an easy side dish. You can also add other veggies! Rutabagas pair well with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.
v. Mash it
If you’re new to rutabagas, start with them mashed. A great substitute for potatoes when making potato salad,
vi. Blend in smoothies
When blended into smoothies, it adds creaminess and spiciness. Try combining with spinach and cucumber for a refreshing morning pick-me-up.
5. Bitter melon
Also known as bitter gourd, bitter melon gets its name from its taste. It’s a bitter tropical vine from the gourd family and is closely related to cucumber, zucchini, squash, and pumpkin.
It has traditionally been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various conditions, including pneumonia, psoriasis, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Bitter lemon has been shown to mimic insulin effects helping normalize blood sugar and treat diabetes.
It may also help reduce respiratory infections like pneumonia, fight inflammation, fight cancer, boost immunity, lower menstrual irregularities, and treat skin infections such as scabies, eczema, and psoriasis.
Easy ways to eat bitter lemon
I. Raw juice
Use bitter melon juice as a substitute for lime or lemon juice in any recipe. Adding bitter melon to a smoothie will also help mask its distinct flavor.
ii. Add it to salad
Bitter melon can be a great way to add texture and sweetness to a salad. Chop or cut slices of bitter melon, and top your greens with them. You can also take bitter melon in a savory direction and add it as an ingredient in Asian-style salads.
Bitter melon is the main ingredient in Thai soups, where it adds savory flavor and pops of color. The taste can be overpowering if eaten alone, but when cooked in soups with other ingredients—such as mushrooms, eggplant or beans—it’s easily pa
Bitter melon works surprisingly well in fries. Cut it into fry-like shapes and bake it until it’s soft but not falling apart. Season with salt, pepper, and turmeric (which adds a pleasant color). Baked bitter melon fries are a great substitute for sweet potato fries. If you like spicy food, feel free to add some jalapeño peppers or chipotle chili powder to spice things up.
Simply slice up some green beans and other veggies like baby corn, carrots and mushrooms along with your bitter melon, then cook in sesame oil or any other oil of choice until tender.
Bitter Melon Recipes
6. Dandelion greens
Dandelion root is a powerful herb known to detoxify the liver and improve its functions.
What you may not know is that dandelion greens can be consumed as vegetables.
They offer a wide range of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, iron, calcium, and iron.
They may help promote good vision, regulate blood sugar, improve heart health, prevent colon cancer, and promote a healthy digestive system.
Dandelion greens can be eaten raw or cooked. Detox Tea Recipe
Easy ways to eat dandelion
i. Pop them in your salad
Not all greens are created equal—and if you’re a gardener, you know that some plants in your yard aren’t as healthy for you as others. For example, dandelions are often considered noxious weeds. But once harvested and cleaned, dandelion greens have similar nutritional value to many other dark leafy greens (like kale). They can be added to salads or used as wraps for sandwiches.
ii. Use them as garnish
Use dandelion greens as a garnish on salads, soups, and smoothies. This adds an extra pop of color without altering or compromising your recipes. You can also add finely chopped dandelion greens to sandwiches for a crunchy bite.
iii. Add them to smoothies
To really capture dandelion’s flavor, you need to add it fresh. Place a handful of fresh dandelion greens into your next green smoothie recipe. The dandelions will give your drink a nice texture and earthy taste without being overpowering. The result will be an extremely healthy drink that tastes delicious!
iv. Add them to soups
If you’re a soup fan, then adding some dandelion greens is a great way to get some of their health benefits in.
v. Blend them into juice
For a few days, blend dandelion greens into your juice. They’ll be undetectable while adding some vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
7. Taro root
Taro root is another weird vegetable to try. It’s starchy with a nutty and mildly sweet taste.
It’s a common carbohydrate source in Asia and Africa and can be used in the place of other starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and potatoes.
It’s remarkably high in fiber, promoting better digestion and increasing friendly gut bacteria, thus boosting the immune system.
It also contains impressive amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, and manganese.
Easy ways to eat taro root
i. Taro Root Fries
Taro root fries are a great way to enjoy this delicious vegetable. Simply cut the taro root into thin slices and fry them in a shallow pan until they are crisped up and browned.
ii. Taro Root Curry
A delicious taro root curry is perfect for a warm evening meal. Add the taro root to a traditional curry recipe and enjoy the flavorsome vegetables.
iii. Taro Root Stew
A hearty taro root stew is perfect for wintertime meals. Add the taro root to a simple vegetable stock recipe and enjoy the warming spices.
iv. Taro Root Smoothie
A healthy, refreshing taro root smoothie is perfect for summertime mornings. Throw together all of the ingredients and blend them together until smooth.
v. Taro Root Bites
These tasty bites are perfect for appetizers or snacks. Simply dice up some taro root and mix it with some spices to create a flavorful snack.
Taro Root Recipes
Also known as the Mexican husk tomato, the tomatillo is a small green fruit that resembles a small tomato. It’s covered in a husk that’s removed before eating.
Tomatillos belong to the nightshade family along with eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
They originated in Mexico and are prevalent in Mexican cuisine.
Depending on the variety, they often take different colors when ripe, such as purple, green, and red hue. They have a tart taste but become sweeter as they mature.
High in fiber, which can help improve digestion. They are also rich in vitamin C and unique antioxidant phytochemicals that can help fight against cancer.
They can be eaten raw or cooked. However, cooking them helps tone down their sour taste, especially when not fully matured.
Diversifying your food intake can be a great experience for your palate to pick new flavors and your body to benefit from the different nutrients.
Weird vegetables such as daikon, chayote squash, romanesco, rutabaga, bitter melon, tomatillos, taro root, and dandelion leaves are among the most unique but healthy vegetables that are not only tasty but very beneficial to your health.
They are all safe for consumption, and you should consider giving them a try whenever they are within your reach.
Other Unique Vegetables
Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.
Fortunately, because of the Ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.