Strange Vegetarian foods you would never have considered (400-800 words)
– Start with a paragraph on the variety of vegetarian foods available.
– Mention half a dozen healthy weird plants or vegetables that are worthy of mentioning.
From the moment your mother told you to eat your vegetables to much of your adult life, you must have run through a gamut of every edible vegetable variety, both palatable and otherwise, that you’re pretty sure to have at one time or another, sampled almost every vegetable the plant kingdom has to offer.
You surely must have a lot of your meals made even more flavourful by bulb vegetables such as garlic and onions. Salads would have sated you with leaf vegetables like cabbage, lettuce and Brussels sprouts. You may not be a fan of fruit vegetables, but what would’ve been of your pasta without tomatoes, olives and pepper?
Your mom, like most other mothers, perhaps enjoyed preparing dishes with inflorescent vegetables like artichokes and broccoli. She must have made those dishes more interesting by adding root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and radishes. Maybe you found that particular dish of your mom tolerable but then she can only make you eat stalk vegetables like asparagus under the threat of death.
“Why can’t she make more tuber vegetable dishes like French fries or sweet potato casseroles?” You often find yourself complaining.
Yes, you have survived every vegetable the plant kingdom has thrown your way so far. However, there are still quite a few vegetable choices out there that you may have not heard about yet or have hardly even considered eating. Below is a list of some vegetables that you may have never thought of eating, but just like every other vegetable, it will also make you big and strong.
- Luffa. Yes that meshy, spongelike thing in the bathroom you use to scrub your body with is packed with essential nutrients and minerals. Famous for exfoliating dead skin cells from your body, this versatile fruit of a tropical vine can also be used to create furniture and construct houses. While the luffa is popularly eaten as a vegetable in Asia and Africa, most people in the west have yet to warm up to it.
- Bamboo. You know that the world’s tallest grass will make a good construction or furniture material, but as a main course? Perhaps not. Again unless you are from Asia or Africa, you are aware that bamboo shoots are surprisingly tasty. Mixed with western cuisine, it will add texture to casseroles and pasta dishes. Apart from being a good source of dietary fiber, bamboo shoots are rich in potassium and are also a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, phosphorous and zinc.
- Romanescu broccoli. If you are not Italian and have encountered this vegetable for the first time, you’d think that the Hulk and a horned lizard had a lovechild who walks the earth pretending to be a vegetable. Romanescu is actually a variety of the cauliflower and its main features are its cone shaped, spiny exterior. There are a lot of recipes with the Romanescu as a main ingredient. It is normally prepared like a brocolli which is fitting because both share almost similar nutritional values.
- Banana flowers. You may have had banana flowers before without even knowing it as banana flowers are part of many recipes around the world. Banana flowers are rich in dietary fibers, unsaturated fatty acids, protein and vitamin E. It also has huge medicinal value as its extracts are found to have anti-infective properties. The extracts have likewise shown the ability to lower blood sugar levels and it is a good source of antioxidants.
- Drumstick tree. It may not take long before Americans begin seeing a profusion of cultured drumstick trees. Named for its long seed pods which resemble drumsticks, this plant holds a tremendous potential especially in developing countries in improving nutrition and increasing food security. The plant is a significant source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, magnesium and protein. Its leaves and seed pods are commonly used in Asian soup and stew recipes.
- Cattails. This is actually taken from a survivalist website. Apparently cattails are edible and some homesteading and survivalist forums are even sharing recipes for cattails. They say that cattails are a good source of iron, phosphorous, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. However, just like tumbleweeds (yes, they said it is edible too), little is known about the long term effects of eating cattails so you may want to put that cattail soup recipe on hold.
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