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.

salted seaweed, nama wakame
salted seaweed
Nama wakame is Japanese for "raw seaweed." Look for bags of this heavily salted seaweed in Japanese or Korean markets.
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sator, bitter bean, sataw, stink bean, twisted cluster bean
sator
Thai cooks like to add these squat green beans to stir-fries. They have a strong, somewhat bitter flavor.
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sauce tomato, Italian plum tomato, Italian tomato, paste tomato, plum tomato
sauce tomato
This tomato isn't as juicy as other tomatoes, which gives it a more concentrated flavor that works well in sauces and stews. These are also the best tomatoes for drying. You may want to remove the bitter seeds before cooking these tomatoes, but save the gel that surrounds the seeds--it's rich in flavor. Varieties include the roma tomato = Italian tomato = Italian plum tomato and saladette tomato. Sauce tomatoes are most flavorful in the summer. During the rest of the year, many cooks prefer canned tomatoes over the bland and mealy fresh tomatoes they usually find in markets.
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savoy cabbage, Savoyer Kohl
savoy cabbage
Savoy cabbage is like ordinary cabbage, but with a milder flavor. It can often be used in place of green cabbage, and your dish will probably be the better for it.
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scallopini
scallopini
This is like a pattypan squash, only it's greener and rounder.
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Scotch bonnet chili, Scotch bonnet chile
Scotch bonnet chili
This extremely hot pepper is almost indistinguishable from the habanero, except that it's a bit smaller and has a fruitier flavor. It's popular in the Caribbean.
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Sea Vegetables, algae, marine algae, seaweeds
Sea Vegetables
Most of us unknowingly eat processed sea vegetables every day. Manufacturers use them as thickeners and stabilizers in such products as ice cream, instant pudding, whipped toppings, salad dressings, and even toothpaste. But unprocessed sea vegetables haven't caught on much outside of Asia. It's a shame, since they're dense with vitamins, minerals, and protein, yet low in calories. You can usually find plastic bags of dehydrated sea vegetables in health food stores, or in the Asian foods section of larger supermarkets. After rehydrating, chop them up and add them to salads, soups, stews, or stir-fries
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seabean, glasswort, marsh samphire, passe-pierre, pousse-pied, pousse-pierre
seabean
These crisp, salty sprigs make terrific garnishes. They're sometimes available fresh in the summer. If not, look for a pickled version in specialty food shops. These grow along the English coast.
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Serrano pepper
Serrano pepper
These have thin walls, so they don't need to be charred, steamed, and peeled before using. They are moderately hot. When dried, this is called a chile seco.
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Sevillano olive, Queen olive
Sevillano olive
This is a large, green, brine-cured olive.
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shallot, French gray shallot, French red shallot, Persian shallot
shallot
Australians use the term shallots to describe green onions, but to Americans, shallots are shaped like small brown onions with papery brown skins. They have a more delicate, garlicky flavor than other cooking onions, and are a common ingredient in French sauces. Many people find them too hot to eat raw. They're available year-round.
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shiitake mushroom, black forest mushroom, black mushroom
shiitake mushroom
Though shiitake mushrooms are now cultivated, they have the earthiness and flavor of wild mushrooms. They're large and meaty, and they work well in stir-fries, soups, and side dishes, or as a meat substitute. Dried shiitakes are excellent, and often preferable to fresh due to their more intense flavor. Soak them in water for about thirty minutes to reconstitute them, then use the water they soaked in to enhance your sauce.
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shimeji mushroom, pioppini mushroom
shimeji mushroom
Like matsutake mushrooms, these grow on trees. They're very tasty, with a peppery flavor. They're great in stir-fries.
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shishito chili, shishito chile
shishito chili
This Japanese chile is very sweet and mild with a grassy flavor. It's about two inches long.
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Sicilian eggplants, Sicilian zebra eggplant
Sicilian eggplants
These are large with purple stripes. They have thin skins and a subtle flavor.
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Sicilian olive
Sicilian olive
These are large, green, sour olives that are usually marinated with herbs. They sometimes pitted and stuffed with pimento, garlic, or jalapeño pepper.
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slicing tomato, beefstake tomato, globe tomato, oxheart tomato
slicing tomato
These large tomatoes are best for sandwiches and grilling. Varieties include the beefstake tomato and oxheart tomato. The red varieties tend to be more acidic than the yellow.
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snap bean, string beans
snap bean
With most beans, you eat only the seeds, usually after they've been dried. But you can eat snap beans pod and all. Until a century ago, the pods had tough strings that cooks had to pull off before cooking (hence the name "string beans") but the snap beans you'll find in markets today are almost all stringless. To learn about different varieties of snap beans, click here.
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snow pea, Chinese pea, Chinese pea pod, Chinese snow pea, edible-podded pea
snow pea
You eat these whole, pod and all. They're often stir-fried very briefly (no more than a minute), but they're also good raw. They're easy to prepare, just wash and trim the ends. Some people string them as well, but that's not necessary. Select crisp, flat snow peas that snap when you break them.
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snow pea shoots
snow pea shoots
Look for these in Asian markets.
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green garlic, garlic
softneck garlic
Softneck garlics do not have the main stem in the bulb and are the type commonly sold in stores. They are milder and last longer. Softneck garlics include purple stripe, green garlic, Italian garlic, California garlic and others.
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sorrel, common sorrel, dock, garden sorrel, rosella, sour dock, sour grass
sorrel
This sour herb is quite popular in France. They like to cook it briefly and make a purée out of it, which they ladle over eggs, fish, meat, and other dishes. It can also be served raw in salads.
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soybean sprouts
soybean sprouts
These sturdy, crunchy sprouts are good in salads or stir-fries. They become bitter when the tails get too long, so eat them soon after they sprout.
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spaghetti squash, calabash, vegetable spaghetti
spaghetti squash
After it's cooked, you can dig a fork into the flesh of a spaghetti squash and pull out long yellow strands that resemble spaghetti. Though they taste like squash, the "noodles" can serve as a low-calorie substitute for pasta.
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Spanish onion
Spanish onion
These are similar to yellow onions, only larger and a bit sweeter.
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spinach, curly leaf spinach, flat leaf spinach, salad spinach
spinach
Spinach is packed with nutrients, and it's quite versatile. You can toss it raw into salads, or cook it briefly to make a side dish or soup. Of the two main varieties, smooth leaf spinach = flat leaf spinach = salad spinach is more delicate and better suited to salads than curly leaf spinach. Look for spinach with small, narrow stems--they're younger and more tender. And always use fresh spinach if you can; it's much more palatable than frozen or canned spinach.
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spring onion
spring onion
Some people use the name spring onion as a synonym for green onion, while others use it to refer to a green onion with a partially formed bulb.
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spring salad mix, field greens, mesclun, spring mix
spring salad mix
This is a mix of different young salad greens. Commercial mixes usually include arugula, mizuna, tat soi, frisee, oakleaf, red chard, radicchio, mustard greens, and radicchio.
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Sprouts
Sprouts
Sprouts spring from newly germinated peas and beans. They won't add much in the way of nutrients--or calories--to your diet, but they're tasty and inexpensive. There are many varieties, ranging from mild and crunchy mung bean sprouts to spicy and delicate radish sprouts. Raw sprouts are great in salads and sandwiches, and the sturdier varieties can also be stir-fried briefly.
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storage onion, fall onion
storage onion
These onions are available year-round, since their low water content prevents molding during storage. Since storage makes onions more pungent, these onions are usually cooked before eating. This category includes the yellow onion, white onion, red onion, Spanish onion, and Bermuda onion.
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straw mushrooms, paddy straw mushrooms
straw mushrooms
These are a common ingredient in Chinese stir-fries. They're hard to find fresh, but canned straw mushrooms work well and are sold in many supermarkets. Better yet, but harder to find, are dried straw mushrooms, which have a more intense flavor than canned.
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su choy, Chinese celery cabbage
su choy
This is just like napa cabbage, only elongated.
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sugar snap, mangetout, snap pea, sugar pea, sugar snap pea
sugar snap
This cross between an English pea and a snow pea is sweet and crisp, and is eaten whole, pod and all. Sugar snaps can be served raw, briefly stir-fried, pickled, or steamed as a side dish.
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summer squash
summer squash
Unlike winter squash, summer squash can be eaten rind, seeds, and all. The different varieties vary in size, shape, and color, but they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Select summer squash that are small and firm.
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sunflower sprouts
sunflower sprouts
These are sweet and crunchy.
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sushi nori, nori, seaweed sheets
sushi nori
These thin dark sheets are used to make sushi. They're usually a dark purplish-black, but they turn green and acquire a pleasant, nutty flavor when toasted. You can make your own toasted nori sheets by passing nori sheets over a flame a few times. Yaki means cooked in Japanese, so pretoasted nori sheets are labeled yaki-nori or yaki sushi nori. Look for toasted and untoasted sushi nori in the Asian foods section of large supermarkets. The name nori is also used for laver, the plant that sushi nori is made from. Unlike sushi nori, laver should be rehydrated before use. If you can't find sushi nori, one option is to make sushi without a wrapper. It helps to use plastic wrap to shape the roll.
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sweet dumpling squash
sweet dumpling squash
Sweet dumpling squash are fairly small, so you can cut them in half, bake them, and serve each half as an individual portion. The flesh is sweeter and drier than that of other winter squash, and the peel is soft enough to be eaten.
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sweet onion, Arizona, Carzalia Sweet, fresh onion, Granex, Maui, Oso Sweet
sweet onion
These onions are mild and crisp, so they're the onions of choice for slicing raw on burgers and sandwiches. They can be lightly cooked, too, though they're not as pungent and flavorful as storage onions. There are several different varieties, often named after the region in which they're grown. The most popular include Vidalia, Walla Walla, Sweet Imperial, Texas Spring Sweet, Texas 1015Y, Carzalia Sweet, Oso Sweet, Arizona, Granex, and Maui. They're usually available from March through August, though some producers extend the season by storing them in a low-oxygen environment. Sweet onions are usually larger than storage onions. They also have a higher water content, so they don't keep as well.
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sweet potato, batata, Beauregard, camote, kumara
sweet potato
In American supermarkets, sweet potatoes are displayed next to something called "yams," which are moister than sweet potatoes and have darker skins. But according to the rest of the world (and botanists), we have it all wrong. To them, our "yams" are just a variety of sweet potatoes. They use the word yam to describe a completely different vegetable, something we call a tropical yam. Sweet potatoes are quite versatile, but they're most often baked, candied, or made into pies. It's best not to boil them, as they'll lose much of their flavor.
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Swiss chard, chard, green chard, leaf beet, perpetual spinach, Red chard
Swiss chard
Swiss chard is used much like spinach, except that it has an appealing beet-like flavor and a heavier texture, which requires longer cooking. Many cooks simply sauté it in olive oil and serve it as a side dish. Red chard = rhubarb chard = ruby chard, with green leaves and red stalks, is slightly more tender and flavorful than white chard = green chard, with white stalks and green leaves, but the two are interchangeable in most recipes.
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tango
tango
This mild green lettuce has ruffled edges, which makes it an interesting salad lettuce
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taro, baddo, coco, cocoyam, dasheen, eddo, elephant's ear, Japanese potato
taro
If you've sampled poi at a Hawaiian luau, then you're already familiar with taro. Many people don't think much of poi, but taro can be served far more advantageously. It has an interesting, nutty flavor, and it's quite good in stews or soups, or deep-fat fried or roasted. In its raw state, it can be toxic and harsh on the skin, so wear gloves or oil your hands when handling it, and always cook it before serving it.
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tat soi, Chinese flat cabbage, spoon cabbage, spoon mustard
tat soi
This has an interesting spoon-like shape and a peppery flavor.
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tatume squash, tatuma squash
tatume squash
This Mexican variety looks like a pale zucchini, but it's a tad sweeter.
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