You have likely eyed the obscure leafy greens, or furled tendrils of various, exotic fruits and vegetables and wondered, “What is it, and is it good?” After all, the amount produce consumption required in a healthy nutritional regimen can leave you yearning for some variety.
However, we often pass by these seemingly exotic options, because we don’t know what they taste like, or how to prepare them. Wonder no more! This easy guide will help you branch out in 2015, experimenting with new flavors, textures, and nutrients to keep your taste buds singing and boredom at bay.
Like broccoli? Try broccolini.
Broccolini is essentially broccoli with smaller florets, and long, soft stems, similar in appearance to a spear of asparagus. Broccolini has a sweeter flavor than broccoli, and requires less cooking time thanks to its more delicate physicality.
Hate kale? Try baby kale.
Aside from the tired, overdone kale chip trend (palatable only because they disappear on the tongue very quickly), mature kale boasts a texture not even a mother could love. Woody, vicious roughage, it’s enough to turn off even veggie lovers. Enter baby kale: more like a salad green, baby kale is excellent (even raw!) in salads, with none of the roughness of its older sister.
Like potatoes, but hate the hefty carb content?
Turnips, a white and purple root vegetable, boast a similar texture and flavor to that of a potato. Turnips contain 40 Calories and 8.5 g carbohydrate per cup, versus 116 Calories and 26 g carbohydrate for the same amount of potato. Turnips pass for potatoes when roasted with herbs and spices, or pureed with a bit of low-fat milk or sour cream.
Not a fan of brussels sprouts? Try cabbage.
Often, people dislike the pungency of cooked brussel sprouts; cabbage boasts a much milder flavor that lets it pass by under the radar, with a mellow sweetness when roasted, steamed, or sautéed. Red or green varieties both work well in cooking applications, with green having a slight edge relative to the more bitter purple variety.
Tired of spaghetti squash? Try zucchini noodles!
Spaghetti squash has earned favor with low-carb eaters in recent years for it’s form, which somewhat mimics pasta. Even better? Zucchini noodles are less wet and more toothsome, providing a feel more similar to that of real spaghetti. You’ll need a special peeler to make these, but the calories you’ll save and the dishes you’ll enjoy are well worth the purchase.