Vegetables you might not have heard of

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A vegan or vegetarian diet does not have to be dull. There are likely many vegetables that you probably have never heard of but that could bring some adventure and excitement back into your meals. Here are just a few:


Sometimes known as yuca, this is a starchy root that comes from Brazil. It is used widely in Brazilian cooking and is becoming increasingly popular across the world. It must be carefully prepared, as it does contain tiny amounts of cyanide. It can be boiled or fried and makes a great alternative to french fries.

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Garlic Scapes

These are the curly stalks that grow from the garlic plant bulb. They work well when used in pesto and can also be grilled or roasted as a seasoning with a pinch of salt.


This vegetable is like a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli. It comes from Italy and is now increasingly seen in shops and farmers markets.


This root vegetable is low in calories and high in fibre and can be eaten both roasted or raw. They are related to the sunflower and are packed full of iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They have a sweet, nutty flavour and can be treated in a similar way to potatoes, fried, mashed or boiled.


This veggie is also known as turnip cabbage and both the leaves and bulb can be eaten. It can be eaten roasted, mashed, steamed or raw and works well in salads. It makes an ideal low carb alternative to mashed potato.

Tiger Nut

Whilst they are called nuts, they are, in fact, tubers from the chufa sedge plant. They are soaked in water and have a pleasant sweet flavour. In southern Europe, they are used to make a sweet milky drink making it a great alternative for lactose intolerant people. Why not try some as part of vegan bodybuilding recipes. Find out more at


Originally cultivated in South America, this vegetable is often known as the New Zealand yam. It is second only to the potato in use in South America, such is its popularity. It is a wonderful source of vitamin C, iron and potassium. They have a flavour that is sweeter and tangier than the potato with some varieties tasting a lot like apricots.

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Related to the sunflower, this is the edible root and is thought to have medicinal properties. To prepare salsify is much like preparing any root vegetable and it has a flavour similar to artichoke hearts.


Otherwise known as Chinese broccoli, this is a green leafy vegetable used commonly in Cantonese cooking. It can be used in the same way that broccoli is used.


Believe it or not, this veggie comes from the cactus plant! Once the spines have been removed, the juicy flesh is good to eat. It is highly popular in Mexican cuisine and makes an ideal alternative to use in tacos.


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