When it comes to veggies, so many people are stuck in a rut. On Mondays, it’s green beans. Tuesdays are for corn. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, it’s salad. On Fridays, pizza makes for the perfect splurge meal, but it needs to be topped with green peppers and onions for that dose of veggies. With this repetitiveness, it’s no wonder vegetables end up with a boring reputation.
But the fact is that there are many exciting, tasty but majorly underrated veggies out there that most people haven’t even tried. Instead of being hesitant to try something new, embrace these seven vegetables. They’re filled with flavorful goodness, rich in vitamins and minerals, and add some new flare to your eating experience.
When people talk about beets, they think of the red flesh of the root vegetable, but the top of beet plant, the beet greens, should also be making its way to your plate. Rich in vitamin K, beet greens improve calcium absorption and may lower the risk of type two diabetes.
Serving suggestion: These leafy greens can be thrown into salads, eaten on sandwiches, or sautéed in oil with a little bit of garlic and sea salt for a tasty side dish.
A southern specialty for years, okra has just begun to spread beyond the Mason-Dixon line. And it’s about time. This tubular veggie is filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as calcium, folate, and insoluble fiber, which eases constipation.
Serving suggestion: Cook it just about anyway, as okra tastes great steamed, sautéed, oven-fried, or even pickled. It can be eaten alone or thrown into soups, casseroles, or salads. But be sure not to cook okra in iron, copper, or brass pans. It creates a chemical reaction and turns the okra dark.
Sometimes referred to as a yellow turnip, rutabagas are larger and sweeter than the root vegetable they resemble. Filled with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, rutabagas store well and taste delicious with their earthy flavor.
Serving suggestion: Rutabagas often turn yellow when cooked and are great to mash. You can even mix them right in with regular mashed potatoes, substituting half of your traditional potatoes with soft-boiled rutabagas.
Perhaps one of the most nutritionally dense greens, there’s no reason not to be eating watercress. Filled with a variety of antioxidants, watercress fights free radicals that can cause aging, cell damage, and even cancer. This green also has significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, making it well balanced and nutritious.
Serving suggestion: This pepper green can be eaten just about any way and tastes great in salads and on sandwiches and can also be tossed into soups and casseroles.
Celery’s underutilized cousin, celeriac is a root vegetable that’s bumpy, pale yellow, and has a range of healthy vitamins and minerals. Celeriac contains vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, as well as phosphorus, fiber, potassium, and manganese.
Serving suggestion: Celeriac has a hard outer shell that can be difficult to get through, but its center is earthy and smooth. It tastes delicious mixed in hearty fall soups or mashed on its own or with potatoes.
Sometimes called Romanesco broccoli, Romanesco is more like cauliflower than its namesake. With its lime green coloring and spire-shaped florets, Romanesco is as beautiful as it is healthy. Rich in vitamin C and vitamin K, it’s also high in carotenoids and phytochemicals, and is a good source of fiber.
Serving suggestion: Romanesco is crunchy, has a nutty flavor, and can be cooked any way you’d cook cauliflower or broccoli. Be careful not to overcook it, though. You want Romanesco to be al dente, not a mushy mash.
Starting with the top and ending with the bottom, beets are a necessary addition to your dinner plate. Rich in antioxidants, beets also contain vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, and lutein, which improves eye health. What’s more, beets are a good source of natural nitrates, which lower blood pressure, sometimes within an hour. Beets are also a unique source of betaine, which protects cells from environmental stresses.
Serving suggestion: Beets are high in sugar content, the highest in the vegetable family, so don’t eat them every day. But by consuming beets two or three times a week, it can greatly improve heart health.