Vegetables Category

Vegetables

Vegetables is a catch-all category that includes many of the edible parts of a plant, like stems, roots, flowers, tubers, and leaves. Some biological fruits that aren't very sweet, like tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants, and beans, are considered by cooks to be vegetables.

oyster mushroom, abalone mushroom, pleurotte, pleurotus mushroom
oyster mushroom
Oyster mushrooms are prized for their smooth texture and subtle, oyster-like flavor. They can also be grown commercially, so they're widely available and fairly inexpensive.
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parsley root, Dutch parsley, Hamburg parsley, heimischer, padrushka
parsley root
This is hard to find in the United States, but it's a popular root vegetable in Central Europe. For more information, see the Wegman's Food Market's page on Parsley Root.
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parsnip
parsnip
These are like carrots, except that they're cream-colored and never served raw. Northern Europeans like to add them to stews, but they can also be puréed or served as a side dish. Choose small, crisp ones.
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pasilla chili, chile negro, pasilla negro, pasilla pepper, chile mixe
pasilla chili
This is the dried version of the chilaca chili. It's mild, long, black, and wrinkled, and a standard ingredient in mole sauces. Ancho chilies are sometimes mislabeled as pasillas.
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pattypan squash, custard squash, cymling, granny squash, peter pan squash
pattypan squash
These have a pleasant, nutty flavor. They're small enough to grill whole, but lots of recipes call for them to be hollowed out, stuffed, and baked. There are green and yellow varieties; yellow ones are sometimes called sunburst squash.
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pea eggplants, baby Thai eggplants makua puong, makheau phuang
pea eggplants
These tiny Thai eggplants are quite bitter. They're sold in clusters and look like large green peas. You can find them fresh in Thai markets, or buy them pickled in jars.
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pearl onion, baby onions, button onions, silverskin onions
pearl onion
These tiny onions are sweet and mild. About one inch in diameter, they're often pickled or creamed.
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pequin pepper dried, piquin pepper, chile congo, chile de monte, chile pequín
pequin pepper dried
These small red peppers are very hot.
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Persian cucumber
Persian cucumber
This is very similar to a Japanese cucumber.
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Picholine olive
Picholine olives
Picholines are green, torpedo-shaped olives that are brine-cured. Those made in Provence are marinated with coriander and herbes de Provence, while American picholines are soaked in citric acid. They make great martini olives.
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pimento, cherry pepper, pimiento
pimento
Pimentos are often sold roasted and peeled in cans or jars, or used to stuff green olives.
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Pinkerton avocado
Pinkerton avocado
These peel easily and their flavor is excellent. One of the best varieties.
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piri piri pepper dried, bird's-eye chili, pili pili, peri peri pepper
piri piri pepper dried
These are insanely hot tiny peppers.
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poblano pepper , ancho chile, pasilla pepper
poblano pepper
These mild, heart-shaped peppers are large and have very thick walls, which make them great for stuffing. They're best in the summer. When dried, this pepper is called an Ancho chili.
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pom pom mushroom, monkeys head mushroom, beard mushroom, bear's head
pom pom mushroom
The flavor of this mushroom has been likened to that of lobster and crab.
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Ponentine olives
These are mild Italian brine-cured black olives.
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porcini, bolete, borowik, cep, cepe, king bolete, penny bun, Polish mushroom
porcini
Porcini mushrooms are well appreciated in Europe for their meaty texture and interesting flavor. If you can find them fresh, pick the largest caps you can find (or afford). Just wipe them clean before using; if you wash them, they'll soak up the water like a sponge. Dried porcini are also excellent.
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portobello mushroom, giant cremini, portabello mushroom
portobello mushroom
These are just large cremini mushrooms, and their size (about the same as a hamburger patty) makes them perfect for grilling or roasting. They're also more flavorful than younger, smaller creminis.
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pumpkin, jack o'lantern pumpkin, pie pumpkin, sugar pumpkin
pumpkin
Use the small sugar pumpkin = pie pumpkin for pies; the larger jack o'lantern pumpkin is too watery. Canned pumpkin purée is convenient and a good substitute for fresh.
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pumpkin leaves, pumpkin greens
pumpkin leaves
Pumpkin leaves can be served fresh or in soups and stews.
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purple potato, black potato, blue potato, purple Peruvian potato
purple potato
These purple-fleshed potatoes have a medium starch content, so they're good all-purpose potatoes. They lend an interesting color to mashed potatoes or potato salads, but they're not as flavorful as other varieties. They tend to get mushy if they're over-cooked.
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purslane, duckweed, little hogweed, verdolaga
purslane
Hispanic cooks especially like these crunchy, mild tasting greens. You can use purslane raw in salads, or cook them as a side dish. Look for purslane in Hispanic markets.
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puya chili dried, pulla chile, puya pepper
puya chili dried
This is similar to the guajillo chile, only smaller and more potent. It has a fruity flavor that's good in salsas and stews. They are fairly hot.
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quail grass, celosia, feather cockscomb, soko, soko yokoto, velvet flower
quail grass
Quail grass stems, leaves and young flowers can be cooked and eaten.
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radicchio, chioggia, red chicory, red Italian chicory, red-leafed chicory
radicchio
With its beautiful coloring and slightly bitter flavor, radicchio is wonderful when combined with other salad greens. You can also use the leaves as a base for hors d'oeuvres, or sauté them for a side dish. The most common variety, radicchio rosso (left), is round, while the treviso radicchio is elongated.
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radish, european radishes
radish
With their crisp texture and peppery flavor, raw radishes are great in salads and on crudité platters. They can also be cut into attractive garnishes. Select firm, fresh-looking radishes and store them in your refrigerator for no more than a week.
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radish greens
radish greens
These have a peppery flavor, and they're great raw in salads and sandwiches, or you can cook them as you would other leafy greens. The leaves are fairly pungent, though, so a little goes a long way. The greens from young plants are best.
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ramps, Chicago leek, narrow-leaf ramps, ramp, ramson, Tennessee truffle
ramps
These have a strong onion-garlic flavor which tends to linger on the breath. Despite their humble Appalachian origins, ramps tend to be pricey and are usually found in gourmet produce markets. They're available from March to June.
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raw green olive
raw green olives
These are for the rare cook who's intrepid enough to cure olives from scratch. Do not eat them raw.
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red cabbage, blaukraut
red cabbage
Red cabbage tastes just like green cabbage, so your choice between them depends largely on which color you prefer. One problem with red cabbage, though, is that the color tends to bleed and discolor surrounding foods. Select heavy heads of cabbage that have shiny leaves.
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red mustard, brown mustard, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, leaf mustard
red mustard
This has a pungent, peppery flavor that adds zip to salads. You can cook it, too.
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red onion, creole onion, Italian red onion, red torpedo onion
red onion
These are sweet enough to eat raw, and they're often used to add color to salads. They're also excellent grilled or lightly cooked. Varieties include the sweet red Italian onion, Italian red onion, creole onion, and red torpedo onion.
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red oyster mushroom
red oyster mushroom
This beautiful mushroom, unfortunately, loses its red coloring when cooked.
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red-skinned potato, red potato, red round potato
red-skinned potato
These waxy potatoes hold their shape after they're cooked, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Don't mash them--you'll end up with a sticky, gooey mess.
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Reed avocado
Reed avocado
This large, roundish avocado slips easily from the peel, and has excellent flavor and texture. It will stay firm even when ripe, so it's not a good choice if you're making guacamole.
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rhubarb, pie plant
rhubarb
Though a vegetable, rhubarb is treated more like a fruit, and it's typically made into such things as pies, tarts, preserves, and wine. It's very tart, and at its best when combined with berries. Varieties includes cherry rhubarb and the more delicate strawberry rhubarb. Fresh rhubarb shows up in markets in the spring. If you can't find it fresh, frozen rhubarb is a fine substitute. Don't eat rhubarb leaves; they contain high levels of oxalic acid, a toxin.
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rocambole, Korean pickled-peel garlic, sand leek
rocambole
This is more like a leak than a garlic and shouldn't be confused with rocambole garlic.
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rock samphire, samphire, sea fennel
rock samphire
This is more commonly found in Europe than in the United States.
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rocotillo pepper
This is a small, sweet, mild pepper that looks like someone stepped on it. It's fruity-tasting like a habanero, only not nearly as hot.
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rocoto chili, rocoto chile
rocoto chili
These very hot chiles look like tiny bell peppers and have black seeds. They have an interesting fruity flavor.
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romaine lettuce, cos
romaine lettuce
Romaine combines good flavor and crunch, plus it has a decent shelf life in the refrigerator. It's the preferred green for Caesar salad. Green romaine is the most common variety, but you can sometimes find red romaine, which is more tender.
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Rosa Bianca eggplant
Rosa Bianca eggplant
This Italian heirloom eggplant has sweet, mild flesh and a creamy texture. They're hard to find, but knowing cooks scoop them up whenever they're in season.
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royal olive, Greek royal olive, Royal Victoria olive, Victoria olive
royal olives
This is large brown Greek olive is brine-cured.
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russet potato, baking potato, chef's potato, Idaho potato, russet Burbank
russet potato
These potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture, so they bake well and yield light, fluffy mashed potatoes. They don't hold their shape after cooking, so don't use them to make potato salads or scalloped potatoes. Don't wrap them in aluminum foil while baking them; the foil traps moisture and makes the potato mushier.
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rutabaga, neep, Swede, Swede turnip, yellow turnip
rutabaga
Rutabagas look like turnips, only they're a bit larger and have a yellow complexion. Use them just as you would turnips.
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salsify, black salsify, goatsbeard, oyster plant, serpent root
salsify
When cooked, salsify has the taste and texture of an artichoke heart. There are two types: white salsify (pictured at left) and the more highly regarded black salsify = scorzonera = black oyster plant = viper grass. After peeling salsify, put it into acidulated water right away to prevent it from turning brown. Canned salsify is a good substitute for fresh, but it's hard to find.
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