Strange Vegetarian foods you would never have considered

by in Nutrition 24/10/2012

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I’d be willing to bet that there are still quite a few vegetables out there you haven’t heard of, or hardly even considered eating. Let’s see how many you’ve tried:

  1. 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 ex-foliating 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.
  2. Bamboo. You know that the world’s tallest grass will make good construction or furniture material, but as a main course? Perhaps not. Unless you are from Asia or Africa you are banana flowerprobably unaware 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.
  3. Romanescu broccoli. If you are not Italian and encountered this vegetable for the first time you’d think that the Hulk and a horned lizard had a love-child who walks the earth pretending to be a vegetable. Romanescu is actually a variety of the cauliflower and its main feature is its cone shaped, spiny exterior. There are a lot of recipes with Romanescu as a main ingredient. It is normally prepared like broccoli which is fitting because both have similar nutritional values.
  4. Banana flowers. You may have had banana flowers without even knowing it – they’re popular in many recipes around the world. Banana flowers are rich in dietary fibres, unsaturated fatty acids, protein and vitamin E. It also has huge medicinal value as its extracts have anti-infective properties. The extracts have also shown the ability to lower blood sugar levels and are a good source of antioxidants.
  5. Drumstick tree. It may not take long before Americans begin seeing a profusion of cultured drumstick trees. Named for its long Romanescu Broccoli | Vegetarian Foodseed pods which resemble drumsticks this plant holds tremendous potential, especially in developing countries. 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.
  6. Cattails. Cattails are edible and some homesteading and survivalist forums are even sharing recipes for them. They say that cattails are a good source of iron, phosphorous, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. However, just like tumbleweeds (which apparently are 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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