Types of Vegetables

picture of an artichoke

Vegetables, the food source either loved, hated or tolerated by people and animals around the world, are a necessary ingredient in a balanced and healthy diet.

Discussions about their relative nutritional value generally begin by organizing them into five different groups.

  • Dark green vegetables: Green power rules in the vegetable world. A general nutrition rule of thumb reminds us that greener is better. Dark green vegetables, offer higher concentrations of vitamins (especially vitamins A and C) and minerals (especially iron and calcium) that other vegetable groups. Green vegetables are also a good source of fiber. The dark green vegetables come in a variety of forms, from the leaf like look of romain lettuce, and spinach, to the plant like look of broccoli and collard greens.
  • Orange vegetables: Many people think fall when they think orange vegetables because of the abundance of squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes available during the season. The orange group, which also includes carrots, provide beta carotene, along with vitamins A and C. Contrary to popular opinion, eating foods with high beta carotene content does not improve eye sight. It's more accurate to suggest that eating these foods helps maintain your current level of eye sight and health.
  • Dry beans and peas - This group of vegetables are best known for their protein and fiber content, however it is important to note that a balanced diet means combining beans with grains. Garbanzo Beans or chickpeas rank as the most popular members of the group.
  • Starchy vegetables - Depending on how the story unfolds, starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn, often get a bad rap, based primarily on their higher carbohydrate content than other vegetables. In and of themselves, carbohydrates, especially the complex carbohydrates associated with starchy vegetables, are a necessary ingredient for a well balanced diet. While the vitamin and mineral content of starchy vegetables generally ranks below that of their non-starchy counterparts, they do provide some nutrition value.
  • Other vegetables - Celery, zucchini, iceberg lettuce, onions and other popular vegetables often get placed into the catchall other category. While they do not contain the vitamin and mineral content of the green and orange vegetables, they are still an important source of nutrition. Because their taste and texture blends well with a variety of other foods, perhaps complimentary vegetables would be a better category name.

Nutrition experts suggest eating two and one-half cups of vegetables per day, divided among all the vegetable groups. All great cooks know there exist multiple ways to prepare vegetables that appeal to a wide array of pallets. Serving raw vegetables with a dip of one type or another satisfies many a party goer. Roasted, baked, boils and microwaved vegetables cooked in sauces from the stand by cheese sauces to vinaigrettes sell in households around the world.

Top Ten Vegetable Recipes

Today represents the best time to get started on regularly serving vegetables during meal time and snack time. Raw, steamed, baked or fried, vegetables, an integral part of every diet, can be prepared as a side dish or stand-along meal. Click on one of the tabs to read more about any of the top ten vegetable recipes.

Summer squash, an easy to grow back yard vegetable, provides a nice mix of taste and texture for any summer barbecue.

Getting started can be as easy as picking a couple of squash from the garden, peeling and slicing them into long strips.

Because they cook much quicker that the usual meats on the grill, plan to add them to the grill toward the end of the cooking process.

When placed on the grill, they can be marinated with any favorite vegetable topper such as oil and vinegar, lemon juice, or better and pepper.

When they are browned or glazed and tender in the middle, they are done. Serve warm with the rest of the meal.

Creativity remains the key to cooking up great tasting zucchini boats.


  • X number of zucchini halves with the middle scooped out. The exact number depends on you planned number of servings
  • chopped vegetables of choice: i.e., tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans, mushrooms, spinache
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • your choice


  1. Preheat oven to 350o
  2. Place the zucchini halves on a baking tray
  3. Fill the zucchini halves with your favorite ingredients, creativity counts
  4. Bake for twenty five minutes, or until the boats are soft
  5. Top with cheese, sour cream or your favorite salsa

Serve Hot and enjoy.

Spice up the old family favorite lasagna, by replacing the pasta with lucchini.

Ingredients: The choice of ingredients for lasagna is endless. Among the staples are:

  • chopped mushrooms
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions
  • tomato sauce
  • ricotta cheese
  • grated mozzarella
  • zucchini slices


  1. Preheat oven to 375o
  2. Place a layer of sliced zucchini along the bottom of a baking dish. The number of zucchini and size of the baking dish are determined by the planned number of servings.

  3. Top the zucchini with a layer of your favorite ingredients, including some tomato sauce.
  4. Repeat the process for two layers, remember to sprinkle some spices such as Parsley, oregano, basil, thyme and pepper on the layers.
  5. Traditionally lasagna is topped with mozzarella
  6. Bake for 45 minutes

Serve hot: Of course all left over lasagna is also delicious.

Wow you guests at the next summer barbecue with some carrot and zucchini puffs.


  • 5 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped red onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • pinch of pepper and nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF
  2. Gently mix the carrots, zucchini, scallions, eggs, honey, ginger, nutmeg and pepper in a bowl
  3. Place the mixture in a baking dish and bake for one hour
  4. Serve hot

Skillet Zucchini With Chopped Tomatoes is a low fat and easy to cook light dish.


  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 4 small zucchinis
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of you favorite cooking oil (for a vegetarian meal, any vegetable oil will do.


  1. Heat oil in Skillet
  2. Add onions, simmering until soft
  3. Add Zucchini and cook for two minutes
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for another three to five minutes, or until the zucchini is tender
  5. Add pepper to taste

Serve hot.

Looking for some variety? Couscous provides a great substitute for you basic rice or potato meal.


  • Couscous
  • Chopped zucchini
  • Your favorite ingredients


The basic idea underlying this recipe is to bring some creativity to the dinner table.

Couscous, a traditional Middle-east grain, normally is steamed and served alone, or with a variety of ingredients.

Add some chopped zucchini and grapes for a sweet and sour taste.

Nuts are also fun topping for all who do not have nut allergies.

Tabouleh, a Middle-eastern twist on the cold vegetarian salad, makes for an easy summer meal.


  • 1 cup of bulgur wheat (No. 3 size)
  • 1 Cups of boiling water
  • 1 1/2 Cups fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 Cup fresh cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • dash of fresh parsley, chopped
  • dash of minced onions
  • 1 Tsp fresh chopped mint
  • pinch of cumin (optional)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Follow the directions on the wheat package and mix until there's a doughy texture.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions, mint and cumin (optional) to the mix.
  3. Prepare the dressing, (salt and lemon juice in a separate bowl and add to the salad when ready to serve).
  4. For reasons of food safety, be sure to refrigerate the dish until ready to serve.

Raw spinach, a good source of Vitamin A, with a touch of fiber and iron thrown in for good measure often translates into spinach salad as an acquired taste. Many spinach lovers love spicing them up by adding in seasonal specials.

Eggs are always in season. Adding a couple of slices of hard boiled eggs on top of some raw spinach and topping it with a favorite dressing provides a light protein and vitamin packed meal.

Nuts to you - Sprinkle some of your favorite chopped nuts on the fresh spinach leaves for a variation of the protein and vitamin meal.

Fruits - Top the greens with a favorite fruit for a sweet and sour approach to salad making. Red strawberries on crisp green spinach makes for a very appealing color combination. Adding sliced pairs makes for a less contrast in taste. Adding a sprinkle of a favorite cheese turns the meal into a balanced source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

Dressings - Like your spinach salad the old fashion way, adding whatever might be growing in the garden? Try adding a raspberry or other light sweet dressing for a new twist on an old school salad.

Preparing for a big family occasion? Why not bake some Italian vegetables to compliment any pasta dish.

  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, sliced
  • 1/2 lb fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or
  • 3/4 C 1/2 10-oz pkg frozen okra
  • 3/4 C finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Drain and coarsely chop tomatoes. Save liquid. Mix together tomatoes and reserved liquid, onion, green beans, okra, green pepper, lemon juice, and herbs. Cover and bake at 325o F for 15 minutes.

Mix in zucchini and eggplant and continue baking, covered, 60-70 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese just before serving. Yield: 18 servings --Serving Size: 1/2 cup

For a consistent soup blend and color try to use only white color ingredients.


  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 chopped leeks (only the white parts
  • minced garlic to taste
  • one pound of white beans
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of evaoprated skim milk
  • 2 peeled and chopped potatoes
  • recommended herbs: pinch of thyme, parsley, white pepper and squirt of lemon juice


  1. saute the onions, leeks and garlic
  2. Add the beans and potatoes, then add one-half of the vegetable broth and simmer for twenty minutes
  3. Puree the ingredients until there's a smooth texture
  4. Return the mixture to the original frying pan, add remaining broth and evaporated milk and warm
  5. Add the spices to taste

Serve Hot with some French Bread and enjoy.

© 2009-2014 Patricia A. Michaels