A healthy plant-based diet naturally consists of a wide variety of vegetables – but if you’re new to this approach to eating, you might need a little introduction to all the different options available. Discovering new vegetables will make it so much easier to crowd out the meat and dairy on your plate, leaving you with a delicious, healthy, and varied diet. Here’s a guide to the different types of vegetables you might find in your local supermarket or farmer’s market.
Think spinach, kale, collard greens, and swiss chard. Keep these refrigerated, and use them soon, as they won’t keep for very long. For the most part, you can eat them raw or cooked: try some sauteed spinach with garlic and sunflower seeds, or a lemon-marinated kale salad, or a green smoothie.
These veggies are nutritional powerhouses are delicious, if well-prepared. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are a few options. They’re best kept refrigerated, but will last a bit longer than leafy greens. You can eat them raw, but they’re also great roasted, stewed, or grilled. Try some cajun cauliflower bites, grilled cabbage steaks, or an easy vegetable curry.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel and beets are some familiar root veggies. Some, such as sweet potatoes and fennel, can be kept at room temperature while others, such as carrots and beets, should be refrigerated. Try smoked carrot lox, or a bean burger served with sweet-potato fries.
Nightshade is a strange name for a familiar family of vegetables, including tomatoes, eggplants and bell peppers. Tomatoes are best kept at room temperature, while eggplant and bell peppers should be refrigerated. Try a creamy tomato soup, or baba ganoush, or a ratatouille.
Edible plant stems
Think celery, asparagus, artichokes, and kohlrabi. Keep these refrigerated. Celery is a great raw option, dipped in hummus for an afternoon snack, while steamed artichoke is a delicious starter, served with a creamy lemon dipping sauce.
The squash family includes butternut, pumpkin, and zucchini. For the most part, they will last for quite a while at room temperature. Great for roasting, they can also be steamed, stewed, or boiled. Try a butternut soup for a winter warmer, pumpkin pie for a classic American sweet treat, or zucchini ribbons as a low-calorie “pasta” alternative.
This strange name denotes aromatic root vegetables such as garlic, onion, leek, and shallots. These can be kept at room temperature (except for leeks, which should be refrigerated). Try whole-roasted garlic to complement your tray of roast vegetables, or caramelised onion to serve as a gourmet burger topping, or indulge in a lovely potato and leek soup.