Orange vegetables are not only visually appealing, but also offer a wide range of health benefits. In this post, we’ll explore 15 delicious and nutritious orange vegetables that you should consider adding to your diet!
Eating a variety of colorful vegetables is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients and health benefits. While green veggies often get a lot of attention, orange vegetables are just as important for a well-rounded diet.
In this post, we’ll explore 15 different types of orange vegetables, their unique nutritional profiles, and how you can incorporate them into your meals!
From familiar favorites like carrots and sweet potatoes to lesser-known options like kohlrabi and pumpkin, there’s something for everyone on this list. So, whether you’re looking to add some color to your plate or just curious about the nutritional benefits of orange veggies, keep reading to learn more!
True or False: Eating too many orange vegetables can turn your skin orange (answer at the end of this post!)
Why are orange vegetables so healthy?
Orange vegetables are not only beautiful and delicious, but they’re also incredibly healthy. These veggies get their vibrant hue from the high levels of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function, and it also plays a crucial role in bone health and reproduction. Additionally, orange vegetables are rich in other beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Regularly consuming orange vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. So take it from a nutritionist, adding more orange veggies to your diet is an easy and delicious way to support overall health and well-being.
Orange Vegetable List
- Acorn Squash
- Ambercup Squash
- Cheddar Cauliflower
- Habanero Peppers
- Honey Bear Squash
- Hubbard Squash
- Honeynut Squash
- Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin
- Orange Bell Peppers
- Orange Tomatoes
- Pie Pumpkins
- Red Kuri Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash are small winter squash with bright yellow-orange flesh. You can roast, steam, or microwave them and use them in a wide variety of acorn squash recipes. They have a mild flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. For more on the incredible nutritional profile of acorn squash as well as tips on how to roast, steam, sauté, or just microwave squash check out Acorn Squash 101 + How to Cook It 4 Ways! Here at Live Eat Learn our favorite use for both taste and appearance has to be either this Stuffed Acorn Squash or in these Harvest Bowls.
Ambercup Squash are also known as Japanese pumpkins. This type of squash has green to orange skins, and normally grow to 4-6 lbs. This winter squash is an oddity in that it can be eaten raw or cooked. Typically, only summer squash can really be eaten raw, but with squash there are few absolutes.
So why are carrots orange? We could discuss the beta-carotene content, but that isn’t the real reason for today’s color. The truth is that the color is the result of a 17th Century Dutch patriot agriculturist. He cross-bred all manner of carrots until he developed a vegetable with a distinctive orange color as orange was, and is, the Dutch national color. What he developed 400 years ago remains the carrots we eat today.
There are several varieties of carrots, but baby-cut carrots make up 80% of sales in the USA, and again to be truthful baby carrots aren’t even a variety. They are simply larger carrots bred to be thin and cut into small cylindrical shapes perfect for veggie trays and dipping. If you want to know more about how to select, store and use carrots check out our Everything Carrots Guide or our How to Cut Carrots Tutorial.
You have probably seen orange cauliflower at the grocery. Its name is only a nod to its color as it tastes nothing like cheese though it is mildly sweet and creamier than white cauliflower. It is also generally a bit lighter and not quite as hard as white cauliflower. Cheddar cauliflower does have a few advantages. Nutritionally it has 25% more Vitamin A than white cauliflower, and its color presents several culinary possibilities.
Habanero peppers are the gold standard for hotness among hot peppers. Often, for example, peppers are said to be hotter than jalapeños but not quite habanero hot. This makes sense as they are about the hottest pepper readily found at the grocery store. Habaneros grow in hot climates, and are an important crop in Mexico’s Yucatan.
They are often stewed, fried, fermented, and used to make any recipe crazy hot. They are named after the Cuban city of Havana. They aren’t grown anywhere near there, but Havana was long a trading center for such peppers. Our photo shows them in red, but is often found as an orange hot pepper as well. If hot peppers are your thing check out our 29 Types of Peppers from Mild to OMG!
Honey Bear Squash
This squash got its name for its sweet flavor. It is a variety of acorn squash that was specifically bred to be baked and served in the half shell. Try them in place of acorn squash in this Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe! We have found this to be a nice side served for guests as the presentation is unique but oh so simple.
Hubbard squash are both nutritious and delicious, but they are a little hard to cook with. They have a tough lumpy skin that makes them difficult to cut. This notwithstanding, there are plenty of great cooks that swear by them in soups and other uses. The simplest way to cook them is to cut them in half laterally, scoop out the seeds, put a touch of water in the hole the seeds came from, cover it with saran wrap, and microwave on high until soft. You can then easily scoop out the squash like mashed potatoes and serve.
Honeynut squash look much like small butternut squash because they are a hybrid of butternut. It is sweeter than butternut with a darker orange pulp and a thinner skin. You can roast honeynut squash without peeling. Use them in any butternut recipe for which you want a sweeter flavor. This Mashed Butternut Squash Recipe would be the ideal recipe for the sweeter taste.
We could list 20 types of pumpkin with orange flesh, but that would get redundant. We chose jack-o-lantern to highlight that pumpkins are so much more than fall decorations. After Halloween take your uncut pumpkins and start cooking. Did you know that canned pumpkin is not necessarily pure pumpkin but is often an assortment of squashes. The orange color is generally artificial, so consider making your own. All our pumpkin recipes are made starting with Homemade Pumpkin Puree.
As to jack-o-lantern pumpkins, it is actually a pumpkin variety, not just the name for your artistic creation. These typically weigh in from 15-20 pounds and have a nice oval shape and orange color. These are not the sweetest pumpkins by any means, but they are still good for cooking. Try roasting them or make them into pumpkin puree.
Orange Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers are the least hot pepper you can buy or grow with a Shiller Heat Unit score of zero meaning they aren’t hot at all. Peppers are native to Mexico and Central America, but today China is the world’s leading producer of bell peppers. If you are looking for some new ideas for bell peppers check out 14 of Our Favorite Bell Pepper Recipes, or try our twist on the classic favorite: Fajitas. For an impressive display combine readily available orange, red, yellow, and green peppers with harder to find white, brown, or purple peppers in this Roasted Bell Peppers Recipe for a colorful and impressive display.
Orange tomatoes are nutritionally very similar to the many varieties of red tomato, but do offer the opportunity to produce some colorful salads. Combine orange and red cherry tomatoes in your garden salad, or better yet mix them in these Roasted Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms for an impressive display. They would combine nicely with any of these 15 Cherry Tomato Recipes.
There are a variety of orange tomato varieties to include: Dad’s Sunset, Kellog’s Orange Breakfast Tomatoes, Orange Icicle Tomatoes, Orange Cherry Tomatoes, Orange Hat Tomatoes, Apricot Zebras, and quite a few others.
We mentioned above that you can use just about any pumpkin variety in your baking, but….Pie Pumpkins are generally seen as the baking gold standard. They come in the same bright orange shade as traditional pumpkins, but are smaller, rounder, and as their name suggests perfect for baking!
Their sweet flavor makes them great for pureeing and using in pies, muffins, cupcakes, you name it. Thanks to their dense center (they aren’t as stringy as other pumpkins), they’re great for dicing up and roasting as well.
Red Kuri Squash
Red Kuri Squash are shaped like onions, and have deep red-orange skins. You can use red kuri like most other squash, but its size and appearance make it an ideal substitute in this Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe.
Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to white potatoes. Both originate in Southern Peru (not Ireland!), but their nutrient compositions are quite different. Sweet potatoes, while having the same amount of carbohydrates as white potatoes, have more fiber, twice the vitamin C, and a LOT more vitamin A. They can, however, be used in many of the same ways. Both are Great in the Air Fryer, and you can make great Potato or Sweet Potato Wedges out of either.
People often think that Yams and Sweet Potatoes are one in the same, but that is not the case. Yams are native to Africa and Asia while sweet potatoes originated in Central and South America. Yams are very starchy and dry and actually pretty difficult to find in your everyday grocery other than in cans.
Yams are nutritionally more like white potatoes and a bit more caloric than sweet potatoes. They are great in a whole host of desserts like candied yams, cakes, and pies. You can also find an abundance of savory recipes for yams as well.
True! According to the Dermatology Clinic at UAMS, eating excessive amounts of orange vegetables, which are rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene, can cause a condition called carotenemia where the skin turns orange.
We hope that you found an orange vegetable or two you want to use, and as always Happy Cooking!
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