Broccoli has replaced the good ol’ phool gobhi, while asparagus, leeks, zucchinis and bell peppers have invaded our refrigerators with some other colorful friends.
How good are these new age vegetables? What do they contribute to your diet?
Here’s a closer look into seven exotics that have already made their way to your dinner table:
This cool leafy green vegetable has a distinct crunch and is juicy. Widely used in salads, these leaves are often used in fillings and wraps.
Benefits: With a zero fat and low calorie content, lettuce is a health conscious person’s best friend. A great food to help with weight loss, lettuce is rich in vitamins and folates, and provides valuable fiber content. A complete source of protein, they also contribute in maintaining a healthy heart.
These bright red flavorful tomatoes, the size of cherries, are pretty to look at and have a distinctly sweet taste. They are often used with a mix of vegetables that go into pastas, spaghettis, salsas and dips.
Benefits: A cup of cherry tomatoes provides a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. The lycopene content makes them a great source of antioxidants that fight cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Dark green or bright yellow in color, zucchini resembles a cucumber and has a mild crunch when raw. The vegetable is consumed both raw and cooked in salads, dips, toppings, in breads and stir-fries.
Benefits: An excellent source of vitamin C, zucchini helps fight diabetes, maintains eye health and has anti-aging nutrients. A great veggie for weight loss, it also helps prevent cancer.
Dense green in color, broccoli has a mellow taste and resembles a cauliflower. Cooked broccoli is often included in salads, gravies, toppings and fillings.
Benefits: A low-calorie vegetable, broccoli is known to be a great antioxidant. With vitamins C, A and folates, it is known to aid digestion and helps the cardiovascular and the immune systems. Broccoli also possesses anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing qualities.
These colorful veggies come in bright reds, greens and yellows. Possessing a crunchy texture complemented by tangy taste, these are glossy and bell-shaped. Eaten raw as well as cooked, peppers add vibrancy to salads, gravies and soups.
Benefits: Abundant in vitamins C and A, bell peppers are low in calories, rich in antioxidants, help reduce bad cholesterol, and fight diabetes.
Milder counterparts of onions, leeks possess a subdued onion flavor with greater sweetness. Their cylindrical leafy stalks are crunchy when raw and silky smooth when cooked. Leeks are often used as substitutes for onions in soups, salads, pies, pizzas etc.
Benefits: Leeks have a good amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Rich in fiber and folic acids, leeks protect against heart disease, help in weight loss and are beneficial during pregnancy.
A green spear-like vegetable, asparagus stalks are either thin and slender or thick and meaty. These two forms of asparagus are relished in pastas, soups, stir-fries, casseroles etc.
Benefits: Low calorie asparagus is known to cure irritable bowels, while its folate content helps prevent pregnancy defects. Abundant in dietary fiber, it is also rich in vitamin B6, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
So, new age food ninjas, the next time you raid the colorful vegetable counter, be sure you know what each of them does!