A whole new crop of vegetables has hit the market. Some are European imports, while others are mash-ups of varieties you already know and love—like kale and Brussels sprouts. “Foodies have been eating a lot of these vegetables for years, but now they are going mainstream,” says Keri Glassman MS, RD, CDN, owner of Nutritious Life. These fresh bites will add excitement to your plate, and will be sure to spark conversations at your next dinner party.
What is it? Also called Kalettes, this Brussels sprouts/red Russian kale hybrid combines the best of both: it’s leafy on top, with softer texture and nutty flavor. “You get all the health benefits of both kale and Brussels sprouts,” says Glassman. That means one serving is loaded with heart-protective vitamins C and A, plus the anti-cancer effect of cruciferous veggies.
How to eat it: Eat them raw or in a salad. Or bake them into crisp chips.
What is it? This European heirloom variety is composed of mostly tender white parts, making cooking prep a breeze. Like all members of the allium family, Belgian leeks are anti-inflammatory, says Glassman. They contain a compound called campesterol, which studies show prevents blood vessel damage. Belgian leeks have a mellower, sweeter flavor compared to regular leeks. “If you’re not hardcore into onions, this taste won’t linger.”
How to eat it: Swap it for onions in a salad or soup, or sauté it with other veggies.
What is it? This odd-looking, knobby bulb attached to greens may be one of the more foreign farmer’s market finds, but it’s actually a cousin of the humble cabbage. Underneath its thick skin is a juicy, crisp vegetable that’s high in disease-fighting antioxidants.
How to eat it: Use it in slaws and soups. Or make an Asian-inspired kohlrabi salad with a recipe from Food52 .
What is it? Ireland’s top-selling potato has arrived Stateside and blends the fluffiness of a russet and the buttery flavor of a Yukon Gold. Contrary to popular belief, spuds can actually help you loose weight, since they contain resistant starch, a type of fiber that reigns in the hunger hormone ghrelin and signals your body to use fat for fuel, says Glassman.
How to eat it: The yellow-fleshed potatoes have a lighter texture, so are perfect for mashing. Cook, and then cool to activate resistant starch.
Baby Brussels sprouts
What is it? The mini-me version is marble-sized, so there’s no need to trim tough leaves or halve them before cooking. They have a sweeter, less bitter flavor and a more delicate texture than the full-size variety. And it packs the same cancer-fighting power as the big guys.
How to eat it: Roast them in a tray with other vegetables and bacon or another type of meat for a one-dish dinner.
What is it? This European import has the bright red color of a bell pepper and an even sweeter taste. They also contain hunger-quashing and cancer-fighting capsaicin found in other peppers—without the heat.
How to eat it: Grill with salt and pepper and use in sandwiches or add it to pastas and stir-fries; stuff them with healthy add-ins like quinoa and beans.