10 unusual vegetables

Don’t like vegetables? Maybe you just want something special? The world is extremely rich in edible, healthy and tasty root, stem and leafy plants that you’ve barely had a chance to try.


Tuberous soursop

A relative of the hare kale, which many of us tasted as children in the woods. It was bred in the Andes in South America and is also known there as oca and New Zealand yam, the name under which the tubers were sold in the mid-19th century. At home, the oca is a serious competitor to the potato because it is rich in starch, vitamin C, potassium and iron. Unfortunately, in other continents it is difficult to find it on sale.

The variety of tuberous soursop gives a wide range of flavors as well; in general we can say that it is sharper and sweeter than potatoes and can be both with a pronounced starchy flavor and with a more delicate, almost fruity flavor. For example, the apricot oki variety has a close flavor resemblance to the fruit of the same name.



It is also an edible oatmeal, aka ground almond. “Nuts” refer to the root part of the plant. Chufa was bred in ancient Egypt, today it is grown mainly in Southern Europe and partly in Spain.

Ground almonds are soaked before use. The root vegetable tastes sweet and has a nutty flavor. In Spanish cuisine, they are used to make orchata, a sweet drink resembling milk. Orchata is especially popular with vegans and people with lactose intolerance.



In general, it is an ordinary cauliflower in an unusual form, and you have probably already seen its photo on the Internet more than once. In particular, it attracts the attention of mathematicians as a natural embodiment of the fractal. It contains a lot of vitamins C, K, fiber and carotenoids.

oat root

Oatmeal root

In botanical nomenclature, the plant is known as the cauliflower. The plant belongs to the same family as the sunflower. Oat root has a long history of use in Europe and the Middle East for culinary and medicinal purposes – until some time it was thought to be able to neutralize snake venom.

Goatweed can be roasted, boiled, stewed, and added to soups just like any root vegetable. It is most similar in taste to artichoke hearts.


Kai-lan (gai-lan)

It is more commonly referred to as Chinese broccoli on restaurant menus in the United States. It is a leafy crop that came into use from Cantonese cuisine. The flavor of the leaves is excellent with any salad and can be used as an alternative to broccoli.

sea crytum

Crittum of the Sea

It is also called “sea asparagus. The knobby stalks can be found on the coast. Crittum prefers salty soils, where very few vegetable crops can survive.

Serves as an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes. In England, sea asparagus has been preserved and added to salads for centuries. And nowadays, this tenacious vegetable is seen as a potential resource for biofuel production.



If you’ve ever seen this cactus, it’s hard to forget it – it consists entirely of flat leaves. In Mexico, both the leaves and fruits of opuntia are consumed as food. The prickles are removed and the skin is peeled off before eating. The juicy pulp is a traditional ingredient in salads and a worthy vegetarian alternative for tacos.


Manioc edible

Also known as cassava. This starchy root vegetable is widely grown throughout South America. Its crops play a crucial role as a source of carbohydrate in developing countries – cassava is a major part of the diet of some 502 million people worldwide. Cassava is highly valued for its drought tolerance, an unusual quality for a crop from the tropical and subtropical belts.

But in northern latitudes it is almost impossible to buy it. One of the reasons is the difficulty in cooking – if you do not follow the technology, the dish will turn out poisonous. Otherwise, cassava can replace potatoes.

long green beans

Long string beans

It really is so long that it is often sold braided – the pods are up to 90 cm in size. It is native to Southeast Asia. It is distinguished by its high growth rate, noticeable even after one day.

The bean is often referred to as the Chinese long bean. In preparation and taste they do not differ from ordinary asparagus beans, they are also rich in fiber, vitamins C and A, except that the dishes will have a more authentic look.

fern shoots

Fern shoots

Russian people searched unsuccessfully for fern flowers, and New Englanders ate its young shoots in boiled form and added them to salads with mayonnaise or butter. For the rest of the United States, however, the product was completely unknown.

It is not possible to produce fern shoots on an industrial scale, because they are only harvested in a certain season in local forests from wild bushes. As with mushrooms, you need to be able to distinguish edible from non-edible species in order to harvest them.

Young fern shoots are rich in nutrients, omega-3 and fiber, and contain twice as many antioxidants as blueberries.