Funky Fruits and Weird Veggies
So much of our diets revolve around a few choice fruits and vegetables. (Think apples and bananas, carrots and broccoli) Change things up by trying something new!
Apples > Jicama
Known as “yam bean”, “Mexican potato” and “Chinese turnip”, jicama is a juicy and crunchy root vegetable. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor described as a cross between a potato and pear, with smaller ones having a sweeter flavor. Jicama makes an excellent swap because it can be used in sweet or savory uses and it beats out apples (and potatoes!) nutritionally for being lower in calories, higher in fiber and containing more vitamin C! You can use it instead of apples in pies and slaws, as well as in place of potatoes for fries and hash browns!
Tricks to picking a good jicama:
- Choose ones with firm, smooth skin that is not cracked or bruised
- Avoid if dry or shriveled
- Avoid if there are soft or wet spots on the skin
Try This: Jicama “Apple” Pie Filling
Watermelon > Dragon Fruit
Famous for its vibrant red skin and sweet, soft inner-flesh, the taste of dragon fruit has been described as a cross between a kiwi and a pear. Also called pitaya or strawberry pear, it is native to Mexico and Central America where it is mostly enjoyed by cutting in half and scooping out the inner fruit with a spoon as you would avocado. Nutritionally dragon fruit is similar to watermelon in calories, but contains more fiber, less sugar, and 77% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a 100 gram serving – 64% more than an equal serving of watermelon!
Try This: Fresh Dragon Fruit Strawberry Acai Bowls
Potatoes > Kohlrabi
A staple in northern India and gaining popularity in European countries, kohlrabi is in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Both the leaves and the bulb can be eaten raw or cooked, with the bulb having a similar taste to broccoli but less fibrous. Compared to potato, kohlrabi is lower in calories, sodium and carbs. A 100 gram portion contains a whopping 103% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. As a healthy alternative to potatoes, simply cut that bulb up into chunks or fries and proceed exactly as you would potatoes!
Try This: Kohlrabi Fries
Grapefruit > Pomelo
Considered the under-appreciated giant of the citrus family, pomelos are larger, with a yellow-to-green skin and pink flesh. They have a thicker pith than other citrus fruits, with a taste like a sweeter, milder version of grapefruit. Pomelo is lower in calories but contains twice as much vitamin C as grapefruit, making it a nutritionally smart swap as well! Enjoy pomelos the same way you would most citrus fruits – raw, tossed into salads or salsa, used in a marinade, made into jam, or juiced for a cocktail.
Try This: Pomelo With Yogurt and Pistachios
Carrots > Radishes
Change things up for your next salad or side dish by giving radishes a try! Just like carrots, they are great raw or roasted with your favorite seasonings. When raw, radishes are crisp, crunchy and peppery. When roasted, they lose their peppery taste and do a wonderful job of taking on the flavors they are seasoned with. Radishes are lower in calories, carbs and sugar, which means you can load up!
Try This: Garlic Roasted Radishes
Lettuce > Kale
Next time you’re preparing a salad or adding greens to a sandwich, consider kale! While it is higher in calories than regular lettuce, it is also far superior nutritionally. Beating out lettuce in every aspect of your daily recommended nutrition, it’s loaded with vitamins A, C, B-6 with calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. It’s a great source of healthy fiber AND plant-based protein, a win-win-win! Not only can you use it in place of lettuce, but kale is also excellent sauteed, braised, roasted to chips or added to frittatas, fritters and more.
Try This: Grape and Feta Kale Salad
Sweet Potatoes > Butternut Squash
Made into fries, mashed, roasted or baked into sweet deliciousness, anything sweet potatoes can do butternut squash can do better! Especially awesome since they go on sale during the Fall and Winter months (we get them from our local grower in Upstate NY!), butternut squash is an awesome way to change things up in the kitchen. Not only does it have a similar sweet taste and texture, but its lower in calories, carbs and sugar than sweet potatoes with more potassium and a hefty amount of vitamins A and C!
Try This: Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash
What’s one funky fruit or weird veggie you love? Tag us with #BestMarket, we would love to see!
September 17, 2019