10 Strange Names of Vegetables that Taste Great

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Have you ever come across some veggies names in a recipe that you have never heard of? Well, I have, and I like vegetables, so when I find something new, it piques my curiosity. Recently, I have made an effort to try some of the more unique vegetables that are available at my local market. I even visited my local Asian food market to see if there were some vegetables names in the produce section that were new to me. I found quite a few, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

Common Vegetables in Recipes

Of course, you have used vegetables in your cooking, but there are some vegetables that get used much more than others. The most common vegetables to find in recipes include:

  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Celery

Different Vegetables to Try

There are a lot of different vegetables that you can find from around the world. Some of the ones that I discovered have long vegetable names that are difficult to remember, while others are simple to recall. I found vegetables that grow in the ground, above the ground, and even under the water during my search for new vegetables to try.

Some of the vegetables come from humid areas of the world, while others can only be found in the desert. I decided to make a list of vegetables to try. Out of all the vegetables that I tried, here are some of the ones that were on my list that I’m sure you will enjoy:

Vegetables List

  1. Romanesco – This vegetable may look a lot like green cauliflower to you, which is because it is related to the vegetable that we all know. Romanesco is a great vegetable to add to a stir-fry, especially if you are looking for that bright green coloration.
  2. Nopales – Nopales is the flesh of a Nopal cactus. It is a popular vegetable to serve in Mexico, and it is often fried to make a healthier taco shell.
  3. Kohlrabi – This vegetable is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. The leaves can be used in a salad or the roots, and the stems can be used in a stir-fry.
  4. Samphire – This is a vegetable that grows near the coast. It is a great vegetable to serve with fish, or you can pickle the samphire and toss it in a salad.
  5. Dulse – Dulse is actually a type of seaweed that is found in the Northern Atlantic near Iceland.
  6. Fiddleheads – Fiddleheads are often found in Asian and Indian cuisine, but it is also a vegetable that is found in Maine. It can be a great addition to a salad, or it can be sautéed in butter.
  7. Jicama – This is a root vegetable that can be found in Mexico. Commonly enjoyed raw, it has a taste that is between an apple and a water chestnut. Jicama is great for slaws and salsas.
  8. Yardlong – This is a long bean that can be found in Southeast Asia. They are great in a stir-fry, or you can simply sauté them with some mushrooms.
  9. Kai-Lan – Kai-Lan is a leafy green that is often referred to as “Chinese broccoli.” It does not look much like broccoli, but it can replace it in nearly every dish.
  10. Purple Sweet Potatoes – This is a vegetable that originates in Okinawa, Japan. The purple coloration of the inside of this vegetable looks terrific in any dish.

Vegetable Recipes

I enjoyed trying new recipes so that I could experience these vegetables the way that they are meant to be experienced. Some of the recipes that I enjoyed the most include:

Nopales Tacos with Jicama Mango Salsa

Tacos are one of my favorite dishes to make, and I enjoy them a lot of different ways, so when I heard that nopales could be used in tacos, I was anxious to try it. I also found that a bit of jicama mango salsa hit the spot as a topping for the tacos.

For the tacos, you will need:

  • Four large nopal cactus paddles
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One pound of flank steak
  • One teaspoon of ground coriander
  • One teaspoon of ground cumin
  • One teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ¼ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Two cloves of minced garlic
  • One tablespoon of soy sauce
  • ¼ of a cup of lime juice

Start by preparing and marinating the steak. In a bowl, combine the coriander, the cumin, the paprika, the cayenne pepper, the garlic, the olive oil, the soy sauce, and the lime juice. Marinate the steak for at least an hour, but I prefer to let it sit overnight.

If there are still thorns on the flesh of the nopal paddles, you will need to remove them with a sharp knife. Then, cut around the outer edge of the paddle; you only need to remove about 1/8 of an inch or less. Heat olive oil in a pan, and cook the cactus paddles for about four minutes per side. Cut the nopales into thin strips and set aside.

Next, you will need to either prepare the grill or the oven to cook the steak. If you are planning to grill it, sear both sides of the steak until it reaches the desired doneness. If you plan to bake the steak, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and sear the outside in a cast iron skillet on the top of the stove. When the outside is browned to your liking, place I in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking. Slice the steak and assemble the taco with any garnishes that you would like.

For the salsa, you will need:

  • Two cups of diced jicama
  • Two cups of diced mango
  • ½ of a cup of chopped onion
  • Three tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
  • Three tablespoons of lime juice
  • Two finely chopped Serrano chiles
  • Salt

Simply mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate the salsa until you are ready to use it.

Salmon Ramen with Dulse

Ramen is one of my favorite Japanese dishes, so when I found this recipe, I was excited to give it a try. This dish is incredibly flavorful, and it is one that I have made a few times since exploring these vegetables. To create this recipe, you will need:

  • Two tablespoons of dulse
  • 4 ¼ cups of vegetable stock
  • Two tablespoons of miso paste
  • Two thinly sliced shallots
  • Two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Two packets of udon noodles (200 g each)
  • One tablespoon of rapeseed oil (cold-pressed)
  • Two salmon fillets
  • Two sliced spring onions
  • Two tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • Two handfuls of bean sprouts
  • Wasabi paste to taste
  • Pickled ginger to taste

Start by bringing the miso paste and the broth to a boil in a large pan. Once the broth is boiling, add the shallots, the ginger, and the soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for five minutes. While the broth is simmering, cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions.

In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds with the dulse. If you want a little spice to the dish, you can choose a variety of furikake to add to the mixture as well. Use the mixture to coat the salmon. Heat the oil in a skillet, and then sear the salmon for about three minutes per side. Set the salmon aside to cool slightly, and then slice it.

Divide the noodles between two bowls. Top the noodles with the salmon, the onions, and the bean sprouts. Carefully pour the broth over the noodles, and serve with the desired amount of pickled ginger and wasabi.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, after reading my guide on vegetables, you have learned some of the vegetables names that were featured so that you can try them in recipes that you cook at home. Trying new things can be exciting, and if you find vegetables that you enjoy, they will be a healthy addition to your diet as well.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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