From green beans to zucchini and kale to cabbage, we are covering 60 different green vegetables in this helpful guide!
Green may well be the most common color of vegetable as there are easily several hundred green vegetable varieties and variants worldwide. We will look at 60 of the most popular and common, as well as a few oddities.
Green vegetables are, as a group, extremely healthy so we provide nutrition data for some and links to data for many others. The recent, but very sound, advice from dietitians is to eat the colors of the rainbow to get the full spectrum of vitamins and micronutrients. If you are looking for other colored veggies, check out one of our other articles on:
- 🍅 Red Vegetables
- 🥕 Orange Vegetables
- 🌽 Yellow Vegetables
- 🫐 Blue Vegetables
- 🍆 Purple Vegetables
- 🍈 White Vegetables
Which US President famously said that he didn’t like broccoli? Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
- Harry S Truman
- John F Kennedy
- George HW Bush
- Donald Trump
What is a Vegetable?
Botanists classify fruits and vegetables based on the part of the plant they come from. A fruit develops from the flower of a plant, and a vegetable is anything that is not a reproductive part of a plant derived from a flower.
This leaves what is a fruit and what is a vegetable a bit confusing, and many of the foods we culinarily consider (opinion) vegetables are in fact fruits. Our list of green veggies contains a lot of botanically classified fruits from A to Z (looking at you Acorn Squash and Zucchini). Some well known ones are tomatoes, pumpkins, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and quite a few others.
The question is “So What?” Well, our opinion is that if we use a food like a vegetable in the kitchen, we are including it in this list of vegetables. I mean, bell pepper and zucchini are actually fruits, but would you cut them up and put them in your oatmeal for breakfast? Probably not. Sounds like vegetables to us.
Types of Green Vegetables
- Acorn Squash
- Anaheim Pepper
- Baby Beet Greens
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bean Sprouts
- Belgian Endive
- Bell Peppers
- Bitter Melon
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Butterhead Lettuce
- Chinese Kale
- Chrysanthemum Greens
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Fava Beans
- French Bean
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Looseleaf Lettuce
- Mung Beans
- Ornamental Kale
- Romaine Lettuce
- Snap Peas
- Speckled Lettuce
- Zephyr Squash
Description & Taste: Our first green vegetable on this list is technically a fruit. Okay, but we eat it like a veggie. Acorn squash is a small winter squash that has a wonderful bright yellow-orange flesh. You can use these in so many ways as their mild pleasant flavor supports both savory and sweet cuisines, and unlike most winter squash the peel is perfectly edible when cooked. This is good as their shape makes them difficult to peel. If you don’t want to use the peel, you can easily scrape the cooked flesh out for use in your cooking, or just eat it as it is with herbs or maple syrup. That peel, however, is loaded with fiber!
Uses: Acorn Squash are great roasted, sautéed, steamed, or even just microwaved. They are wonderful in a lot of our favorite acorn squash recipes. I do have to say , however, my hands down favorite for taste and presentation is either Stuffed Acorn Squash or Harvest Bowls. Acorn squash also have an Impressive Nutrition Profile.
Our second entry is also a fruit, but this “fruit” is definitely not one you would cut up and eat with yogurt.
Taste & Heat: The Anaheim pepper is mild, sweet, and a bit tangy. It was named after the city of Anaheim, CA though it originated in New Mexico. These peppers have a Shiller Heat Unit score that ranges between 500 and 2,500. That makes them hot, but not run to the fridge for milk hot. Consider that jalapenos range from 1,000 to 8,000. Anaheim’s wide range of hotness varies with growing conditions. Those grown in New Mexico tend to be much hotter than those grown in California.
Uses: Anaheim peppers are often sold as canned green chilis, and are generally mild enough to be eaten raw. They are great for seasoning chili, but not really hot enough for pepper eating contests. If you want to know a lot more about peppers from very mild to OMG my mouth is on fire, check out 29 Types of Peppers Ranked by Hotness.
Description: The artichoke is actually a variety of thistle grown for food, and the part we eat is the flower bud. Spain and Italy are the world’s largest producers.
Uses: In these nations the most common use of artichokes is to stuff them with a variety of different fillings to include bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, grated cheese, and prosciutto. Our favorite use of artichoke, however, is as a Veggie Dip or cracker topping.
Description & Taste: Arugula is a bright green lettuce variety found in a lot of Mediterranean cuisines. It looks like little pointy leaves typically 2-3 inch long that are in the UK called “rocket leaves” for their shape. Arugula is a somewhat pungent leafy green vegetable that has been added to salads since the time of the Romans.
Uses: Rocket is a great add to salads where its taste contrasts well with most lettuce varieties. Another great use is on Pizza where it is normally added just after baking. Our favorite uses, however, aren’t really on either salads or pizza but as a supporting ingredient in recipes like Blueberry Grilled Cheese.
Origin: Asparagus was first cultivated, we believe, in Mesopotamia around 2,000 years ago. It was then adopted by the Romans who seemed to believe that it had mystical powers like helping to reduce sexual fatigue. Similarly, there are medieval references to its use as an aphrodisiac.
What to Look For: The asparagus we eat today is the young plant. Once the tips of the asparagus begin to open, the stalks become very woody. A buying tip is that the thinner the stalk, the younger and more tender the asparagus. Like so many other green veggies, asparagus is off the carts healthy.
Uses: So what do you do with asparagus? Well you can cut it up and sprinkle it over salads, but it is so much better in cooked recipes. Check our four in-house developed favorites.
- Asparagus Pizza with Burrata
- Asparagus Noodles
- Almond Crusted Asparagus Fries
- Roasted Asparagus with Romesco Sauce
Baby Beet Greens
Description: The leaves of beet tops, when young and immature, are great used as salad greens. Young leaves are tender and a bit spicy. They are identifiable by the unique purple-red veins which can give your salad mix a nice aesthetic look.
Nutrition Content: Beet greens are also a great way to bump up the nutrition content of your salads. According to the USDA 100g (3.5 ounce) of beet greens contains only 22 calories, but provides 2g of protein, 3.7g of fiber, and loads of vitamins and micronutrients.
Description: Bamboo Shoots come primarily from China and Japan, and can be purchased fresh, dried, or canned. The most popular variety is the giant timber bamboo due to its sweet taste.
Uses: Bamboo shoots are a versatile ingredient used extensively in Asian-cuisine.They can be sliced, diced, or grated and added to stir-fries, soups, curries, salads, noodle dishes, and our favorite Buddha’s veggie bowls. In many Asian cuisines, they are considered a delicacy and prized for their crunchy texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Description: Basil is a leafy green herb used by fine chefs and normal cooking enthusiasts alike. It has a strong flavor and aroma, and is often used in Mediterranean and Thai cuisine among others. As with most herbs, it is difficult to exactly describe the taste of basil, but you know it when you taste it, and it presents a world of options in the kitchen.
Uses: Our favorite recipe with basil is definitely Tomato Mango Bruschetta, but don’t think basil is just an herb compatible with savory recipes. It can be used to make unique desserts like Grilled Peach Caprese and even a Basil Oil.
Description & Uses: A sprout forms when a seed puts out a shoot. In this case we are referring to the mung bean or soybean, the sprouts of which are used in a variety of Asian cuisines. The sprouts are actually more nutritious than the bean they come from, so give them a try. Add some to your stir-fry or mix them into your favorite salad.
Description & Uses: Endive is a lettuce-like veggie that falls into the chicory category. It can be light green, but you may also see it in light yellow or white. It is somewhat bitter, but a perfect addition to salads or sautéed balsamic recipes. Give Endive Gratin a try.
Description: Bell Peppers are, we confess, actually fruits. We use them, however, like vegetables, and they are as essential in my kitchen as my chef’s knife.They are sometimes also called sweet peppers or paprika, and are most commonly green, red, orange, or yellow. You can, however, find them in white, purple, brown, or even stripped. They score a Zero on the Shilled Heat Units scale meaning they are not at all spicy or hot. If you are looking for a Pepper with more Heat, there is a world to choose from.
Origin: Peppers are native to Mexico as well as Central & South America. Peppers were brought to Europe from the “New World” in 1493, but the bell pepper we know today wasn’t developed until the 1920s. The world’s largest producer of bell peppers today is China.
Uses: The culinary options for bell peppers are numerous. Mexican cuisines like fajitas are an American favorite. Use multiple colors on a veggie tray to make a colorful presentation, or cut the colors into a salad.
Origin & Taste: Also known as bitter gourd or Momordica charantia, bitter melon belongs to the gourd family (again, a family of fruits). It is native to Southeast Asia, but is now cultivated in various warm regions around the world. Bitter melon gets its name from its distinct bitter taste, which is at best an acquired taste for many people.
Uses: Bitter melon is a popular vegetable in many Asian cuisines where it is valued for its unique flavor and nutritional benefits. It is used in various dishes, including stir-fries, curries, soups, and stews. In some cuisines, the bitterness of the melon is balanced by cooking it with spices, onions, garlic, or fermented sauces.
Nutrition: Bitter melon is also used as a nutritional supplement.which is understandable as it is a low-calorie food rich in nutrients vitamins A and C, folate, and minerals like potassium and magnesium.
Description and Taste: Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, originated in China. It has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine and is now popular worldwide. Bok choy has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. The stems are crunchy, while the dark green leaves have a tender texture. It is often described as having a flavor similar to spinach or Swiss chard.
Uses: Bok Choy is a nutrition packed vegetable most commonly used in stir fries, soups, and salads. It can also be used in veggie bowls, sautéed, steamed, boiled, or even grilled. The stems and leaves can be cooked together or separately, depending on the desired texture. Try Filipino Veggies in Coconut.
Origin: Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, which also includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. It traces its origin to the Roman Empire, and was bred from wild cabbage. It came to America in the 19th Century with Italian immigrants.
Uses: Broccoli is sort of the veggie we love to hate, but according to the USDA it is the most purchased vegetable in the USA. It is commonly used in veggie trays, roasted, steamed, or microwaved as a quick side dish. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked a lot of ways. Here at Live Eat Learn we have found that one of the best ways to cook broccoli is in your air fryer. You can air fry it fresh or frozen.
Nutrition: Our editor asked me not to drone on about veggie health benefits in this post (don’t worry, we put in a lot of nutrition links if you are looking that info), but you need to know Broccoli is a nutrition superstar high in vitamins A, C & K as well as a good source of protein and fiber, so for a vegan or vegetarian it is a go to food. A one cup serving contains only 34 calories, but provides 3g of protein.
Description: Broccolini is a very recently developed vegetable. It is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale. Broccolini was first grown commercially in 1994 and introduced in the USA in 1996. Like broccoli, both stem and flower are edible. It has a milder flavor than broccoli, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Uses:It is commonly steamed, boiled, stir fried, or sauteed. Also like broccoli, it is very nutritious with a nutrition profile similar to that of broccoli.
Origin: Brussels sprouts are believed to have originated in Ancient Rome. They gained their popularity and name, however, in Brussels, Belgium. They’re now widely popular in the U.S. and Europe, with the Netherlands being the largest producer of these little cabbages.
Taste: Brussels sprouts have a distinct flavor that can be described as slightly bitter and nutty. The taste becomes milder and sweeter when they are cooked, though they are good finely chopped and mixed into your salads.
Uses: Brussels sprouts are often roasted, steamed, or sautéed. They can be used as a side dish, added to salads, used in stir-fries, made into great soups, or even on pizza. You will have to trust us on that one until you try it. Not surprisingly Brussels sprouts are highly nutritious as well.
Origin: Often just called Butter lettuce or Bibb, it is aptly named for its buttery flavor. The name Bibb comes from Mr. John Bibb who developed this variety of lettuce on his farm in Kentucky in the 1860s.
Description & Taste: If you ranked all lettuce varieties on a scale with crunchy and watery on one end, and leafy and soft on the other, iceberg and butter lettuce would be on the two ends. While Iceberg lettuce is crunchy and watery, butterhead is soft, leafy, and delicious! As we stated above, butter lettuce tastes how you’d expect — buttery and sweet. It is a no miss choice for salads, wraps, tacos, and sandwiches.
While we won’t attempt to list every variety of green lettuce in this article, we can name at least 26 types of lettuce that are worth including in your cooking.
Origin: The origin of cabbage isn’t precisely known, but it is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region or perhaps Western Europe. The cultivation of cabbage, however, can be traced back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans both cultivated and consumed cabbage. During the 17th and 18th centuries, European immigrants brought cabbage to North America. It quickly became a staple vegetable in colonial America, especially among German settlers. In fact, the term “coleslaw” is derived from the Dutch term “koolsla,” which means “cabbage salad.”
Uses: Cabbage is eaten worldwide, and is most noted as the prime ingredient in both kimchi and sauerkraut. If you care to make your own, start with our brief tutorial (with video) on How to Cut Cabbage . Home made Kimchi and Sauerkraut are both quite easy to make, and generally cheaper than buying it at the grocery.
Nutrition: Cabbage is also off the charts nutritious. A mere 100g (3.5 ounce) serving contains only 25 calories, but provides 2.5g of fiber and 60% of the RDA of Vitamin C.
Origin: Celery can be traced back to the Mediterranean region over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They used it not only as a food source but also for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans considered celery a symbol of victory, and used it to make crowns for winners in athletic competitions. Celery as we know it today, with its crisp stalks and leaves, was developed in the 17th century in Italy and France. Through selective breeding, varieties with a milder flavor and more substantial stalks were cultivated..
Uses: Celery is now grown and consumed worldwide. It is a cool-season crop that thrives in temperate climates. It is characterized by its long, crisp, and fibrous stalks. The stalks are typically consumed raw or cooked, while the leaves are often used as an herb for flavoring dishes or simply discarded. Celery is a crunchy addition to salads and raw vegetable platters. Its mild, slightly bitter taste adds depth to various dishes including soups, stews, stir-fries, casseroles, and smoothies.
Nutrition: One cup of chopped celery (about 3.5 ounces) only contains 16 calories, but provides a healthy dose of fiber and various vitamins and micronutrients.
Description: Cilantro is actually the Spanish word for Coriander. In the USA, however, they aren’t actually the same (confused yet?) We refer to the seeds of the coriander plant as “coriander,” and the leaves and stems as “cilantro.” Other countries call it all coriander, though they may differentiate between the leaf and seed portions by referring to the seeds as “coriander seeds.”
Flavor and Uses: Cilantro has a sort of citrusy flavor and is very fragrant. Like most herbs, it is difficult to describe the taste, but you know it when you taste it. Cilantro is great for Mexican dishes in particular. Guacamole, salsa, tacos, and huevos rancheros all benefit from a touch or more of cilantro. It can, however, also be used to flavor soup, sandwiches, chili, rice, roasted vegetables, stir fry, or wherever a strong and citrusy herb is needed. Cilantro is definitely one of our Go to Herbs.
Description: Chard, also known as Swiss chard or Silverbeet, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the beet family. It has a long history and is believed to have originated in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The leaves of chard are the most commonly consumed part of the plant. They are large, glossy, and have a slightly bitter, earthy taste. Chard leaves come in various colors, including green, red, and yellow, with colorful veins running through them.
Uses: Chard is a versatile vegetable and can be used in a variety of ways to include salads. The young, tender leaves are often preferred for salads as they have a milder flavor. Chard leaves can also be sautéed or stir-fried with olive oil, garlic, and other seasonings. They cook down quickly and make a nutritious side dish or a base for other ingredients. Chard is also a suitable substitute for spinach if you prefer its taste.
Description: Chinese kale is also known as Gai Lan or Chinese broccoli. It is a bitter kale variety used in stir-fries and all manner of Chinese cuisine. Chinese kale looks a bit like broccoli, and the stems are often cooked as one might broccoli stems.
Uses: Chinese kale is probably most often used in stir-fry, but you can also just sauté and eat it. Use it in recipes featuring a sweetened sauce to counter the bitterness.
Description: What Are They? Chives are an herb that often gets confused with green onions. People often think they’re eating the similar-looking onion plant, not even realizing they’re actually enjoying chives, but, it’s a fair mistake. Chives and green onions look very much alike, and it’s very easy to mistake one for the other in the produce aisle.
Uses: Chives work well as a garnish for nearly any type of savory dish to include: vegetables, potatoes, omelets, soups, dressings, etc. They can also be cooked into recipes to add extra flavor! However, they should always be added toward the end of the cooking process to preserve the flavor (heat can make them milder).
Oh, and if you aren’t sure how to cut chives? It’s similar to cutting green onions. Check out our tutorial with video.
Origin: Often just called Mums, these are the greens from the chrysanthemum flowers grown in gardens across America. They originated in China, and references to them have been found in Chinese writing as early as 1,500 BCE. Mums were used as an herbal remedy by the ancient Chinese. They reached Europe sometime in the 17th Century, and America not long after.
Uses: While today we value them mostly for their beauty, they also have their place in our salad bowls. The sprouts and petals are great additions to any salad, and give it an extra nutritional boost. You are best to cut them young as the larger they grow the more bitter they become.
Nutrition: 1 Cup of greens has only 20 calories, but provides 2.3g of fiber, 39% of the RDA of Vit C and 20% of Iron.
Origin: Collard greens are leafy green vegetables that are a staple in many Southern American (USA) cuisines. The origin of collard greens can be traced back to ancient times, and this wild cabbage-like plant grew along the coastal areas of Europe, from the Iberian Peninsula to Britain. Over time, humans selectively bred and cultivated it for different characteristics, leading to the development of the collard greens we know today.
Uses: Once in North America, collard greens thrived in the warm and humid climate of the southern states, and remain a significant part of southern cuisine, particularly in dishes like collard greens with ham hocks or smoked turkey, which are often served with cornbread and black-eyed peas.
Collards are less bitter than either kale or spinach, and are suitable in a wide range of recipes. They are great in Collard Wraps, and you can also use them in grain bowls, curries, stir fry dishes, chilis, salads, or soup. Throw some into your favorite green smoothie for extra nutrients!
Description: Cress is an ancient vegetable, and is probably one of the oldest leafy greens eaten by humans. It comes from the family of mustard and cabbage which gives the small delicate leaves a distinctly spicy, peppery, and pungent flavor. While you should always wash any vegetable before eating, be particularly diligent with cress as some varieties grow in water or sandy soil, and will often come to you from the grocery still sandy. Cress is a good add to any salad, but can also form the salad base as in this Watercress Citrus Salad.
Varieties: There are four main varieties of cress:
- Watercress: This variety, as its name suggests, grows in water, and has the most pungent flavor of the four.
- Garden Cress: This variety also grows in water, and has a spicy flavor some liken to horseradish.
- Upland Cress: Is noted for its thinner stem and more delicate flavor. This variety is generally sold in plastic bags with the cress still attached to the roots.
- Korean Watercress: This is a decidedly more crunchy and bitter variety.
Description: Cucumbers are, as you may have guessed, actually fruits, and they are very usable in desserts or eaten raw with yogurt like you might fruits. Most groceries will usually only carry 2 varieties of cucumber, but there are at least 57 Types of Cucumbers to choose from though many will only be available at an international market.
Uses: Cucumbers are most commonly chopped into your salads or sliced for use on veggie trays. You might consider, however, using cucumbers as the main ingredient in your salad like this Cucumber Avocado Salad or Tzatziki Cucumber Salad.
Nutrition: A medium sized cucumber (about 7 ounces) only contains 30 calories. They are mostly water, so they are a refreshing way to rehydrate. They also contain a commendable amount of both vitamins and minerals.
Description: These greens are definitely the ultimate free leafy greens, no grocery or garden required. Our yard in the Highland area of Denver is tiny, but these “free greens” seem to find their way into that little patch.
Uses: The parts you want to cut are the green and red leaves that grow along the stem. The leaves are best picked young as, like most greens, they become increasingly bitter with age. Once they get larger, you will want to cook them to mellow the taste. Young leaves you can just cut right into your salad.
Description: Dill, like other types of herbs, is used in cooking for its great flavor. You may see it called “dill weed,” but that is just another name for the plant without its seeds. The plant is part of the celery family, and grows just about worldwide. It is a great herb to grow at home as it is very hardy, and there is something nice about cutting your own herbs.
Use: Edamame is simply an immature soybean still in the pod. Soybeans are known to have been eaten as long as 7,000 years ago, but the first reference to edamame was found in China dating to 1275. It is widely used in Japanese cooking, typically boiled or steamed and then used in both sweet and savory cuisines.
Nutrition: Edamame is not a low-calorie vegetable. A 100g (3.5 ounce) serving has 122 calories, but USDA data shows it provides an impressive 9.5g of protein, 4g of fiber, 30% of the RDA for Iron, and 8% for Calcium.
Varieties: Endive is a lettuce-like leafy vegetable that is part of the chicory family. Its leaves are slightly bitter with a nutty flavor. They look rather like lettuce, and are very crisp making it a great salad addition. There are three primary types of endive:
- Green Belgian Endive: The leaves are white and yellow or light green. They’re bitter in flavor with sweet and nutty undertones. Choose the heads with the least amount of green. More yellow = a fresher endive!
- Red Belgian Endive: The red variant is more like a tiny radicchio than an endive. They can be used interchangeably with other varieties.
- Curly Endive: Also known as frisée, it is bright green and looks similar to a head of arugula. It’s curly at the ends, and the outer leaves hold more bitterness than the inside leaves.
Uses: Our favorite way to use endive in the kitchen is in salads where we recommend pairing it with sweet toppings to bring out those sweet and nutty undertones. Perhaps also consider pairing with cranberries, nuts or blue cheese. Sautéed is another great option as is roasting. Roasting removes much of the bitterness and makes them soft and tender. Try roasted endive in Endive Gratin.
Description: Escarole is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. It is native to the Mediterranean region, and is also known as broad-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, scarole, and Batavian endive. Escarole has a slightly bitter flavor, which becomes milder when cooked. The outer leaves are typically darker green and more bitter than the inner leaves.
Uses: Escarole is commonly used in various cuisines around the world, particularly in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. You can use it in salads if you want the slightly bitter taste to contrast with other ingredients. Escarole is often added to soups and stews, where it imparts a rich flavor and provides a slightly bitter note. It is commonly used in Italian wedding soup and minestrone. It can also be sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and other seasonings. Cooking helps to mellow out the bitterness and brings out the vegetable’s natural sweetness. And finally, we recommend it in wraps. The big sturdy leaves of escarole can be used as a healthy alternative to tortillas in wraps. This is a great way to work wraps into a low-carb or keto diet.
Description: Fava Beans, also known as broad beans, are eaten around the globe, and are believed to be one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world dating to perhaps 6,000 BCE. We know they were eaten by both the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Uses: They are great in salads, stews, sauces, you name it. But, there is always a but, they are more expensive than other similar beans because harvesting them is a labor-intensive process which naturally makes them more expensive. Don’t expect to find these at the Aldi.
Description: Fennel is a member of the carrot family, but interestingly is not a root vegetable as Its bulb grows above ground. The whole plant is edible, but the bulb is the most commonly used part in cooking.
Bulb: It has a sweet, licorice-like taste with hints of mint and anise. It can be chopped and added raw to salads for a crunchy texture and subtle anise flavor. The bulb can also be roasted, grilled, or sautéed, becoming tender and developing a sweeter taste.
Leaves: Fennel leaves, also known as fronds, have a delicate, feathery texture and add a fresh, herbal note to dishes. They are often used as a garnish for soups, salads, and seafood dishes, or chopped and incorporated into marinades, dressings, and sauces.
Seeds: Fennel seeds have a stronger and more concentrated flavor than the bulb or leaves. They are commonly used as a spice in both sweet and savory dishes. Fennel seeds are used in baking, particularly in bread, cookies, and pastries, as well as in spice blends, curries, sausages, pickles, and tea.
Description: French green beans are the young (unripe) form of the common bean. They are also called string beans or snap beans. They are cooked and served in their pods as the seeds within are still quite small.
Nutrition: French beans are another nutritional powerhouse. A 100g (3.5oz) serving has only about 30 calories yet provides 27% of the RDA of vitamin C as well as a variety of other vitamins and micronutrients.
Uses: French beans can be heated and served as a side dish, but work best in a variety of recipes. This Thanksgiving or Christmas try this Easy Vegan Green Bean Casserole (and you don’t even need to mention the vegan part to Uncle George!) or make air fryer green beans for a tasty treat.
Description: Frisee is also called curly endive, curly chicory, or chicory endive. It is a type of chicory with pale-green, yellow, or white curled leaves.
Uses: Frisee is quite bitter, so it is best used in recipes that mask this bitterness. The bitterness of frisee can vary depending on its maturity and growing conditions. Younger frisee leaves tend to be milder in flavor, while more mature leaves may have a stronger and slightly bitter taste. Some people enjoy the bitterness of frisee, while others may find it too intense. Mixing frisee with other salad greens or pairing it with ingredients that have contrasting flavors can help balance its bitterness.
Description: Iceberg lettuce is the variety many of us grew up with. It is crisp and watery. It almost seems like you drink a glass of water when eating an iceberg salad.
Uses: Iceberg lettuce is great in tacos as the crunch adds so much to a good taco. Use it in your salads, and its slightly sweet flavor will compliment the other ingredients just perfectly. The classic Iceberg recipe is, of course, a Wedge Salad. Give this slight twist on an old favorite a try.
Nutrition: Many people say that iceberg lettuce is just water and fiber with little nutritional value. This is just not the case. Take a look at the nutritional chart at the bottom of this article, and you can see that while it isn’t the nutritional dynamo that Spinach or Arugula are, it is a solid healthy base for your salads.
Description: Looseleaf lettuce is a broad category of lettuce whose leaves are loosely held together which allows you to cut off individual leaves vs harvesting the whole head as you would say iceberg lettuce. This is a great type for your home garden as it is said to be one of the simplest lettuces to grow, and is in fact the most commonly home grown lettuce.
Flavor and Uses: These leafy green varieties all share a sweet mild taste even when the leaves are large, making them great added to salad, soup, or as a burger topping. Consider using these leaves in Fresh Lettuce Veggie Wraps though this recipe works great with romaine or butter lettuce as well.
Description: Jalapenos are the ubiquitous pepper that we all consider to be hot, but not burn your throat hot. It has a Shiller Heat Unit score between 1,000 and 8,000. By way of reference the crazy hot Ghost Peppers are around a million. The hotness of jalapenos can vary quite a bit based on where it is grown, soil conditions, etc.
Uses: The jalapeno is one of the most commonly used peppers in cooking, and is a great add to blender salsas, vegetarian chilis, or stuff it with cheese in the form of these vegetarian jalapeno poppers.
Origin: Kale is an ancient form of cabbage that originated in the area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, primarily modern-day Turkey. The name was spelled “Cale” in medieval Britain, and prior to this, it came from the Latin term “Caulis” meaning cabbage. Kale has been cultivated for thousands of years and was eaten in Greece as early as the 4th Century BCE. It wasn’t until the 1800s that kale made its way to the United States and became popularized in dishes like kale salad.
Flavor: At the grocery, you generally only have one option for buying kale, but there are actually at least 23 types of kale. Many kale varieties are slightly bitter, but kale can also be spicy or sweet. You don’t have to accept the bitterness! One way to reduce bitterness is to cut the stem from the leaves and marinate them with olive oil in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will make the leaves more tender and less bitter.
Kale Nutrition: We don’t like to say that anything is a “superfood”, but if we were to do so…..kale is it. According to the USDA, a 100 gram serving of raw kale has only 43 calories, but it provides:
- 308% of the RDA of Vitamin A
- 125% of Vitamin C
- 1,021% of Vitamin K
- 3.3 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber
Kale has a pretty impressive array of other vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids!
Description & Flavor: If you haven’t used Leeks before, you may have seen them in the grocery and thought they were giant green onions, but nope they were leeks. So what are they? Leeks come from the garlic, shallot, and onion family, and they are actually similar to green onions, but their flavor is milder and they have subtle sweet undertones.
Uses: The white and light green parts are typically eaten while the darkest ends of the stems are discarded. The ends are edible, but their bitter flavor often consigns them to the compost pile leaving the rest to be enjoyed in soup, pasta, stir fry, and so much more. We are betting you will like them in our Latkes Recipe. If you are even mildly intrigued, we have a whole lot of other proven recipes for leeks.
Description: Microgreens, sometimes called baby kale, is a young kale that makes a great addition to mixed salads. In fact, you will often see it listed in prepackaged salad mixes. Baby kale is a great option if you haven’t cared much for kale in the past, as it is sweeter than most of the many other varieties of kale.
Uses: You can use microgreens in any recipe calling for kale or even spinach if you prefer the taste, but keep in mind that it does not need to be cooked as long as other more mature kale varieties. If you are growing your own kale at home, you can make any variety into baby kale simply by harvesting it early. Try baby kale in this kale salad. Baby kale is also a good option as a lettuce substitute in your sandwiches to give them a nutritional boost.
Description: Mint, like other herbs, comes in fresh and dried forms. Its fresh form contains a more potent flavor, but the dried form can just as easily take any recipe up a notch. In the United States, you’ll find mint grown and harvested in the midwest and west coast in states including California, Idaho, and Wisconsin, among others. The plant is also grown in Australia, Africa, Europe, and Asia! It nearly has the entire globe covered.
Uses: Mint is one of the most commonly used herbs in the USA. When it comes to using mint in cooking, you have a ton of options! It can be used in everything under the sun, from mint teas and other beverages (including adult options — Hugo Cocktails, anyone?) to salads, kombucha, popsicles, and more. Keep in mind though that a little bit of the herb goes a long way, allowing it to make a punch in any recipe it’s added to.
Nutrition: Mint is loaded with health benefits. Nutrients in mint include vitamin A, iron, manganese, folate, a touch of fiber, and even antioxidants. The herb is purported to support brain function, assist in the relief of various aches and pains, digestive issues, and even cold symptoms. We can’t vouch for these claims, but we do like our breath after a bit of mint.
Description: Mung Beans are sometimes called Maash or Moong. They are small green beans that resemble peas, but are actually legumes.
Uses: Mung beans are commonly found in Asian and Indian cuisine, though our favorite use is in this Mung Bean Soup.
Nutrition: Like most beans and legumes, mung beans are nutrition powerhouses, loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and benefits in each bite. They provide lots of protein in addition to fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc. They’re also filled with antioxidants and are purported to benefit your cholesterol, digestion, and blood sugar. Pretty impressive for a bean with a goofy name.
Description: Okra, also known as lady’s finger or gumbo, is a flowering plant that produces long, green pods with a distinct ridged texture. Okra plants typically grow up to 6-7 feet tall and produce vibrant, hibiscus-like flowers. The edible part of the plant is the green pod, which ranges from 3 to 8 inches in length. The pods are covered with fine hairs and have a ridged or grooved texture on the outside. Inside, they contain small, round, white seeds arranged in several rows.
Taste: Okra can be described as mild, slightly grassy, and subtly sweet. When cooked the pods become tender with a somewhat slippery texture due to their natural mucilage content. Some people compare the taste of okra to that of eggplant or green beans. Beware that the larger okra grow, the harder and more fibrous they become. If you are home growing okra, don’t let them go beyond about 5-6” before harvesting them.
Uses: Okra is great in soups, stews, fried, or roasted. Try it on the grill coated in a bit of olive oil. Okra is also used in many curry and stir-fry recipes, and is a good pickling vegetable. Our favorite use of okra, however, is in gumbo. This Creole dish, popular in Louisiana, often features okra as one of its key ingredients. It is a hearty stew made with a variety of vegetables, meats, and spices. The natural mucilage released during cooking acts as a thickening agent, giving gumbo a slightly viscous texture.
Nutrition: Okra is known for its health benefits. It is low in calories, rich in dietary fiber, and a good source of vitamins C & K, folate, and potassium. Its mucilage content is believed to have a soothing effect on the digestive system.
Flavor: The herb Oregano is a member of the mint family, but it certainly doesn’t taste like mint. Oregano is home to a very strong, punchy, peppery, and earthy flavor with a scent that’s just as strong. Fresh oregano has a stronger flavor than dried. Some, however, find the taste of it fresh to be bitter. You may love it, or you may find that the dried form of the herb is more your style. You just have to experiment a bit.
Uses: Oregano can be used to add flavor to vegetables, meats, plant-based meats, potatoes, soups, dressings, sauces, and pastas. Thousands of classic recipes benefit from a bit of the herb. Considering oregano is used in cuisines all over the world (including Italian, Mexican, Greek, and more), it’s safe to say that it’s a very versatile flavoring. If you aren’t familiar with it and just want to put a toe in the water, try it with this zucchini lasagna.
Description & Uses: Of the 23 types of kale we have written about, this is clearly the least often eaten. We included it because some flowering (ornamental) kale varieties can be really stunning, and great to grow at home. They tend to be tougher, less tasty, and often more bitter than other types.They are generally used in ornamental gardening or as a garnish, but they are certainly edible and as nutritious as most other varieties. If you enjoy gardening and like the bitter taste of kale, pick up some seeds and give it a try.
Description & Uses: Parsley is a classic garnish with loads of flavor potential. You can find it in two varieties, curly and flat. The curly variety lacks flavor, and is best used as a garnish. The flat variety has a peppery bite commonly used in French and Italian cooking. To preserve its fresh flavor, parsley is usually added towards the end of cooking. It is a great salad addition or as the featured salad ingredient. You can even make popsicles featuring flat parsley.
Origin: There are two types of peas, canned and frozen. Okay, just kidding, but that was pretty much what I would have said growing up with hard working parents. Peas date back thousands of years. They are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region or Western Asia. The cultivation of peas can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. From there, peas spread to other parts of Europe and eventually to other continents.
Uses: Peas are consumed in a variety of ways. They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or frozen. Fresh peas are often added to salads or served as a side dish, while cooked or frozen peas are commonly used in soups, stews, casseroles, and other dishes. One of our favorite uses is in this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, or on a cool day a Dutch Pea Soup.
Pea Nutrition: Peas are a good source of vitamins (such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and several B vitamins), minerals (including potassium, iron, and magnesium), and dietary fiber. They also provide a moderate amount of protein, making them a valuable part of a balanced diet. You might want to think of them more as a starch like potatoes as they are a bit higher in calories than many other vegetables due to their high starch content. Like most beans they provide about 25 calories an ounce.
Description: Purslane is a sweet salad green that is almost juicy. It grows wild, so it is often the target of foragers. Many grocery stores also carry it, so you don’t have to venture out to give it a try. If your grocery doesn’t stock purslane, try your local farmer’s market and use it to spruce up your salad mix. Give it a try in place of the spring mix in this Curried Melon Salad.
Description: Romaine lettuce is the ubiquitous leafy green we all depend on for a great salad base, wraps, sandwiches, etc. You can get it at any grocery, often in a three pack. Each head can be cut up for salad, or you can easily peel off individual leaves.
Flavor & Uses: Romaine is a juicy and crisp lettuce with a bit of bitterness toward the whitish ends. Perhaps we should say bitter compared to butter lettuce. The large leaves are stiff enough to use in Lettuce Wraps, and there is just enough bitterness to warrant their long time use in Caesar Salads. Our favorite use, however, has to be on the grill as in this Grilled Romaine Salad.
Origin: Rosemary, like its cousin thyme, is native to the Mediterranean region. Over centuries, its popularity grew and it is now a staple in cuisines around the world! Today, however, it is mostly grown in Asia, northern Africa, and southern Europe.
Flavor: Whether you’re fairly new to cooking or a master chef, you have probably come across a recipe calling for rosemary. And it’s safe to say, it was probably a good one! Rosemary is a powerful, hardy herb that adds a lot of flavor to any dish as it is one of the most flavorful herbs. Its taste is like a mix between earthy, lemon, mint, and even sage. To many, it smells similar to a Christmas tree! Like most herbs, it is hard to describe the taste and aroma, but once you identify that flavor with rosemary you know it.
Uses: Rosemary is often used in meat marinades, but it can also be used to marinade plant-based options like tofu, seitan, or tempeh. It can be mixed into soups and stews as a wonderful flavorful addition, and it makes a great garnish that adds taste to any dish like roasted potatoes.
Flavor: Sage is a part of the mint family. Like other types of herbs, it comes fresh, dried, and in oil forms. The dried form is most commonly used in American kitchens. It has a strong, earthy, citrusy, and minty flavor, and just a little bit goes a long way. And, keep in mind that fresh sage is even stronger than dried!
Uses: Sage can be added to recipes in dried or fresh form. When dried, it comes in rubbed and powdered forms. It can be used as a garnish, or it can be cooked into recipes to add a deeper flavor. You’ll find it in dishes like pasta (it’s great in tomato sauce), bread dipping oils, or stuffing. It also works well when used as part of a flavoring for plant-based meats like tofu or tempeh.
Description and Uses: Snap Peas are also known as Sugar Snap Peas. They are a hybrid of snow peas and green peas, and are probably the sweetest pea variety. The edible pods are thinner and less fibrous than other peas, and perfectly edible when the pods are young. Snap peas are often used in Asian and Indian cuisines, and our favorite use is atop Thai Curry!
Nutrition: A 100g (3.5 oz) serving has only 42 calories, but provides almost 3g of protein and 2.5g of fiber. This is far less than other pea varieties which often have as much as 80 calories in a 100g serving.
Description: Also known as spinach dock or narrow-leaved dock, sorrel originated in Eurasia and has been cultivated around the world for centuries. It is quite sour due to oxalic acid in the leaves which are decidedly best when young as they become tougher with age.
Uses: Sorrel is a versatile herb whose tart, lemony flavor adds a unique taste to a wide range of dishes. Fresh sorrel leaves can be added to salads, providing a tangy and refreshing taste. It can also be used as an ingredient in soups, particularly in the famous French soup “soupe à l’oseille.” You can also find it in sauce recipes meant to accompany fish, poultry, or other dishes.
Description: lettuce is sometimes called trout lettuce, and appears to have originated in Austria or Germany where it was called Forellenschluss. This simply means “trout’s back” as the green leaves are beautifully speckled with burgundy spots much like a trout. Count on our German friends to call it like they see it.
Uses: This is a delicious variety of romaine that grows to medium size and is known for its buttery leaves though it is not a butter lettuce variety. We recommend cutting the leaves into smaller pieces and mixing them in salads to showcase their aesthetic appearance. Speckled lettuce can be a bit hard to find.
Description & Uses: Spinach is a cool weather leafy green that you can often use in lieu of lettuce, kale, or arugula. It is a nutritional powerhouse as we show in the nutrition chart at the bottom of the post, and has almost unlimited uses. Our favorite is probably in Hidden Spinach Guacamole. We have a whole separate guide on how to select, store and use spinach, and if you are wondering on whether to use spinach or kale, we cover that too.
Description: Thyme is an herb that looks sort of like a tiny twig. It has a unique brown stem (most herbs have a green stem), and the leaves are small and attached to the stem in bunches. It looks rather like a little bouquet of herbs. Thyme originally comes from the Mediterranean region. Today, however, you’ll find it grown and harvested worldwide, including in the USA. In fact, it’s a low-maintenance herb that you can grow at home. It doesn’t require much water, and can be neglected and still thrive.
Flavor and Uses: Thyme has a subtle flavor, yet it makes a difference when added to your cooking. You’ll likely find that it tastes earthy with a sort of lemony tinge. Its subtleness makes it great for adding to soups, veggie dishes, potatoes, plant-based meats, and more.
Description: We said upfront that we were listing 60 mostly popular green vegetables, but a few unique veggies as well. This is one of those. The Zephyr squash looks like someone cut both a zucchini and a yellow squash in half and fused half of each together. You can use it like you would either a zucchini or yellow squash. We think the best use would be in a stuffed zucchini recipe in order to showcase zephyr’s unique dual-color presentation.
We started with a botanically defined fruit in acorn squash, and finish with another in the humble zucchini.
Origin: All types of squash originated in the Americas. When early explorers discovered these starchy plants, they brought them back to Europe and started planting them there. The Italins can be credited with developing the modern-day zucchini. They called it the zucchino (little squash). The zucchini made its way back to America in the 1920s, but it was largely ignored by most Americans for about 50 years. We just didn’t know what we were missing!
Flavor: Zucchini has a mild, almost sweet flavor. The taste is not at all remarkable, but that is the beauty of zucchini. It takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with!
Uses: Zucchini is a summer squash (edible skin) that can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in salads, soups, stews, roasted as a side, and even as a substitute for pasta. While we generally only see one zucchini variety in the store, there are at least 15 Types of Zucchini grown around the world. One thing to keep in mind when buying zucchini is, don’t buy them (or grow them) too big. As they grow beyond a pound the seeds get larger and the skin gets harder. If you grow your own, you will see that they grow from 8 ounces to 24 ounces (or a lot more) in a few days. Resist the temptation to let them get that big.
Green Vegetable Nutrition Facts
Green vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even a hint of protein. However, it’s important to note that the nutrient profile can vary widely across different greens. This is why incorporating a variety of them into your diet is crucial. Don’t forget to diversify your plate with a spectrum of colors too. Oranges offer a Vitamin A boost, while purples and blues are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins. So, heed both dietary advice and your mom’s wise words to “Eat Your Vegetables!”
A varied diet of these greens not only promises health benefits but also adds vibrant colors to your plate!
The answer is George Bush. “I don’t like broccoli, it is bad, very, very bad. Everyone says so.”