If you’re a vegetarian, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions vegetables is probably iceberg lettuce. While it’s true that this leafy green can provide your body with plenty of essential nutrients such as Vitamin C and potassium, there are many other non-cruciferous vegetable options out there. In fact, these veggies have been known for their health benefits for centuries.
Here we’ll look at some of the most popular varieties of non-cruciferous vegetables so you can pick up an arsenal of healthy foods in order to fuel yourself throughout the day without having to rely on meat or dairy products.
Table of Contents
What Are Non-Cruciferous Vegetable?
non-cruciferous refers to plants which don’t belong to the cabbage family. This includes all kinds of greens like kale, collard, mustard, turnip, broccoli, arugula, radicchio, etc. They also include onions (including scallions), garlic, beets, peppers, cucumbers, artichokes, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress and leeks. These types of veggies contain high amounts of antioxidants and may help prevent cancer because they contain phytonutrients. Some people even use them to treat certain diseases. It has been found that consuming large amounts of cruciferous vegetables causes gas, bloating and stomach discomfort while eating smaller amounts doesn’t.
When choosing fresh produce from a supermarket shelf, make sure to check the nutrition labels carefully. You will see whether each type of food contains any amount of “sulphur compounds” including sulphites, sulfates and mercaptans. Sulphites should never exceed 100 parts per million. As well, watch out for ingredients such as carboxymethylcellulose, cellulose gum, calcium propionate, diacetin, disodium EDTA, dyes derived from coal tar, flavorings, gelatine, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, hydroxpropyl methyl cellulose, lactose, magnesium silicate, maltodextrin, polyvinyl acetate, sorbitan monostearate, sodium benzoate, triethanolamine, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin E succinate or xanthum gum. Also note if the product is organic.
List of Non-Cruciferous Vegetables
- Beet greens
- Sweet Potatoes
There are many different types of non-crucifers and they all come from separate families. As with most things that we eat, there are good for us ones, bad for us ones, and some definitely should be avoided altogether. Before making your next trip out at the grocery store, make sure to check off these items so you can avoid those unhealthy picks.
Spinach is one of the most nutritious and valuable foods. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of human diseases including cancer, diabetes, obesity, and liver disorders. This plant also provides various health benefits besides food consumption. The anti-cancer properties of spinach are due to its antioxidant compounds which can help in fighting free radicals.
Parsley is a biennial herb that has long been prized for its culinary quality. It has a flavor that is mild, slightly anise-like and also quite peppery. The leaves can be used as a garnish, in salads or to flavor soups and stews.
Beet greens are actually quite different from other types of green vegetables such as kale, collard, mustard, etc., because they contain less moisture content and higher levels of fiber. They also contain slightly lower amounts of carbohydrates (as compared to their leaf counterparts) but higher percentages of protein and calcium. Not only does it help with digestion but they’re packed with antioxidants which helps reduce inflammation and fight cancerous cells.
The fact that they’re low in calories makes them ideal for people who are trying to lose weight while still keeping their energy level up throughout the day. Aside from being high in dietary fiber, they also provide essential minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and manganese. These are just some of the many reasons why they’re beneficial for human health.
This herbaceous perennial belongs to the mint family and grows 2 feet tall with large leaves. It does best in full sun and needs moist soil. Cilantro tastes mildly lemony and fresh. This leafy green is used throughout Latin America in soups, salads, tacos, casseroles, and rice dishes. Use this versatile herb by adding chopped stems directly to sauces, stir-fries, salsa and guacamole. There are also tons of recipes online where cilantro is combined with chili powder, lime juice, fish sauce, and soy sauce.
A grass native to South Africa, wheatgrass looks very much like hay although slightly taller at 1 – 3 foot high depending on species. Wheatgrass usually requires no preparation once harvested. Its roots run deep underground and spread out horizontally creating a network of tiny air pockets called bubbles which gives the grass its characteristic appearance. Harvesting occurs after the blades die back completely during late summer. After harvesting, cut the stalks into short pieces and store them dry in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Once stored, wheatgrass stays fresh longer than any other type of grass. If possible, take your own supply home instead of buying frozen. Freshly ground wheatgrass makes a healthy addition to smoothies, cereal, granola and yogurt.
Another member of the onion family, moringa packs quite a punch! Moringas’ thick skin acts as armor protecting against insects and birds. Inside, moringa leaves are packed with vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin C. Moringa trees reach heights of 30′-40′. When ripe, the bright yellow fruit appears to resemble broccoli florets but smaller. In India, the tree is considered sacred due to its ability to survive under harsh conditions. Moringa leaves are eaten raw while the fruits are cooked. Both require little processing since they contain no starch. Moringa leaves do need time to mature before harvest, therefore, providing consistent quality year-round.
There are two types of chicories grown commercially known as endive and radicchio. Endives are crisp dark green leaves that form heads like artichokes. Radicchios are larger light green leaves forming loose clusters. Chicory leaves vary greatly in size and shape. Typically, the endive leaves are heart-shaped whereas radicchio leaves tend to be elongated and broader. All chicory leaves possess bitter flavors making them good choices for sandwiches, salads, omelets, and wraps. Although they can stand alone, chicory works extremely well when added to pasta, risotto, and even desserts such as crepes. Try combining sliced chicory with apples and walnuts tossed with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top if desired.
Celery is actually a stalk of the carrot family and was first cultivated in ancient Egypt. Today celery provides a crunchy texture similar to eating sticks of sugar cane. Celery contains mostly water and fibers. People who prefer sweet stuff might think otherwise however, celery offers calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, folate, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins A and K, plus dietary fiber. Eating celery helps lower cholesterol levels and prevents constipation. Many medical studies report positive effects including reducing symptoms associated with PMS, arthritis pain, and general inflammation. Because celery is low-calorie and doesn’t contribute too heavily to saturated fat intake, it is recommended by nutritionists for those suffering from diabetes. Lastly, celery enhances digestion and aids in elimination. Celery is easy to use by chopping, juicing, or shredding finely. Enjoy pairing your favorite dip with freshly shredded celery. Add a dash of lemon juice and black pepper. Serve with whole-grain crackers or breadsticks.
Sweet potatoes originated in tropical Central America and were brought across rivers by slaves traveling westward. Sweet potato tubers grow underground and resemble marshmallows covered with orange fur. As with yams, sweet potatoes are loaded with carotenoids and flavonols. Carotenoid pigments give sweet potatoes their vibrant orange color. Flavonol pigment causes the golden brown hue seen around the edges. Eat them right out of the peel or cook them whole. Cut peeled sweet potatoes lengthways revealing a colorful interlocking latticed pattern underneath. Or bake them whole till soft and serve alongside savory meals like roasted chicken or grilled steak. Sweet potatoes work equally well baked, boiled, steamed, fried, or braised. Top with whipped cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg for dessert.
In New England, “potato” means spud. Potato plants belong to the nightshade family and include tomato, tobacco and eggplants among others. We call potatoes tubers meaning they sprout shoots above ground level. Most potatoes originate in Peru and Bolivia followed closely by Chile. Worldwide production averages 300 million pounds annually. There are several different kinds of potatoes. Russet, Yukon gold, fingerling, red, new, salad, baking, boiling, and Irish cream are common examples. Generally speaking, potatoes are prepared in one way or another whether chipped, cubed, diced, minced, quartered, or smashed. Roast, boil, mash, fry, steam, and microwave are common cooking methods. One thing is certain, potatoes pack a nutritious wallop containing lots of complex carbohydrates. So next time you feel hungry, consider grabbing a bowl of french fries rather than reaching for something greasy.
It takes approximately 10 months for a carrot seed to become edible! Not surprisingly, carrots are native to northern China and Mongolia. Throughout history, carrots have served as staples throughout many cultures. Ancient Romans ate the tops and bottoms of carrots believing them to hold aphrodisiac properties. Early Chinese settlers planted seeds close together resulting in dense bundles of small carrots. During World War II, military personnel carried canned carrots because transporting live ones was difficult. Nowadays, Americans consume roughly 500 lbs of carrots per person every year.
You shouldn’t limit your diet to only Non-Cruciferous veggies When you limit the amount of these foods in your diet, you reduce the nutritional value of the food you consume. However, when you eat broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, bok choy, radishes, turnips, parsley, spinach, and watercress, you will reduce the risk of cancer. Try these vegetables in your meals and salads, as snacks, and as sides. Some of these vegetables can be eaten as an appetizer, or as a main course. Either way, you should incorporate these into your diet.