It might seem arbitrary, but the color of the vegetables you eat also matters. While brightly-colored vegetables contain many essential vitamins and minerals, white vegetables carry compounds proven to provide certain health benefits. To ensure a balanced diet, include vegetables and fruits of all colors.
Table of Contents
- The Health Benefits of White Vegetables
- Japanese White Sweet Potatoes
- White Eggplant
- White Carrot
- White Asparagus
- Daikon Radishes
- White Button Mushrooms
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- White Corn
- Taro Root
- Lotus Root
- White Onions
- Navy Beans
- Enoki Mushrooms
The Health Benefits of White Vegetables
If you have been avoiding white vegetables in your diet, you are missing out on some powerful health benefits such as:
1. Rich In Minerals
White vegetables are rich in essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium which are often included in “Shortfall nutrients” since they are missing in most foods. However, white vegetables like potatoes are rich in potassium. In fact, a medium baked potato contains 941 gm of potassium.
2. Powerful Antioxidants
White vegetables such as cauliflower, onions, and garlic contain powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols and glucosinolates which play a protective role against cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Protection Against Cardiovascular Diseases
White fruits and vegetables contain certain nutrients that lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes, such as quercetin and high amounts of soluble fiber. A Dutch study found that eating white fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of strokes by 52%.
This list includes vegetables that have a white exterior as well as those that have white flesh. Let’s dive in…
With the growing popularity of vegan and gluten-free recipes, Cauliflower is big in the market right now. Given its versatile nature and delicate flavor profile that can be enhanced with a variety of spices, many innovative recipes use Cauliflower as a substitute for other ingredients. Even when simply prepared by roasting with butter and salt, it is a delicious treat.
Cauliflower is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants with very few calories. In fact, many nutritionists recommend eating cauliflower to meet your daily fiber needs.
Japanese White Sweet Potatoes
Japanese White Sweet Potatoes, also known as Satsumaimo in Japan, are a delicious fall vegetable often used in both sweet and savory dishes. They have a purple to red exterior with creamy white flesh that turns yellow when cooked.
You can prepare these sweet potatoes in a variety of ways such as steaming, deep-frying, and baking. However, roasted sweet potatoes are the most popular in Japan. Japanese Sweet Potatoes contain a great deal of protein, vitamin A, iron, copper, and potassium.
White eggplants vary in size and shape since they come in many varieties. Their outer skin is thin, smooth, and bright white while the inside is cream-colored. Compared to purple eggplants, white eggplants are much sweeter and have a lighter flavor. This is due to their thin skin since eggplants carry most of their bitterness in the skin. The popular varieties of white eggplants include Casper, Albino, White Beauty, Casper, and Paloma.
Everyone’s favorite and one of the most popular vegetables in the world: the potato. The potato is a super versatile vegetable that shines regardless of how you prepare it and pairs well with many flavors. Aside from French fries, the potato by itself is low in calories and sodium. In fact, it also contains a high amount of fiber which leads to fullness after eating.
Potatoes are a staple in many cuisines around the world and play a vital role in various recipes. There are many varieties of potatoes that vary in flavor, texture, and size. When cooking with potatoes, you have many options to find one that is best-suited to your recipe.
White or golden carrots are a variety of carrots that were popular during the 19th century. They are a yellow or cream in color with a crisp texture. White carrots are often mistaken for parsnips but they are very different.
These carrots have a mild, sweet flavor that lacks the earthiness of a red carrot. Their sweet flavor shines best when they are roasted, but you can also glaze and pan-fry them. They are also great in stews and soups for a burst of sweetness.
Garlic is a pantry staple for many and is commonly used as seasoning. Not only is it a food staple but it also has many medicinal properties. Packed with flavor, Garlic cloves only contain a few calories. It tastes great and also has a variety of health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk as well as inflammation.
For its small size, Garlic also contains a surprisingly high amount of antioxidants which are responsible for the health of the immune system.
White Asparagus is basically just like green asparagus but doesn’t contain chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color in vegetables. It grows underground without any exposure to sunlight so the stalks remain white. White asparagus is generally more expensive than the green kind since it is difficult to grow.
Compared to green asparagus, the white variety is tender and sweeter. You can prepare white asparagus in a variety of ways after peeling. The traditional preparation for white asparagus involves simmering it in an emulsion of water, butter, lemon juice, and salt.
Daikon radish, also known as white radish, Chinese radish, Japanese radish, winter radish, and luobo, is a vegetable native to Southeast or East Asia. It looks like a large white carrot that is hefty and plump. Daikon radishes can be prepared in a variety of ways but they are also great when raw.
The most popular ways to prepare them include pickling and cooking in stews. Daikon radishes have a firm, crisp texture with a mildly sweet and peppery flavor. When cooked, these radishes acquire a sweet and nutty flavor that goes well with spicy curries.
Turnips are root vegetable that are round and white with a purple top. They are often overlooked due to their bitter flavor which is not palatable for everyone. However, learning the health benefits of these vegetables might just change your mind about eating them. Turnips are rich in calcium, sodium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally, they also contain less calories and high amounts of fiber which are great for improving metabolism.
There are many ways to prepare Turnips such as steaming, roasting, and pan-frying. Their strong flavor complements lemon juice, parmesan cheese, bacon, sweet potatoes, and sage.
Parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. It has a cream-colored skin and flesh which becomes sweeter in flavor after winter. Parsnips have been around since ancient times, cultivated by the Romans for their sweetness. They are rich in vitamins C, E, and K as well as magnesium.
Many find trouble describing the unique taste of the Parsnip since it has a complex flavor. They are similar in flavor to carrots but with less sweetness and more earthiness. It tastes a bit like a combination of potatoes, carrots, and turnips. There are many ways to prepare this unique vegetable, but most people prefer to slice it thinly for deep-frying or baking to make Parsnip chips,
White Button Mushrooms
White button mushrooms are one of the most common varieties of mushrooms found at grocery stores. Although these mushrooms mature into brown Portobello mushrooms, the young mushrooms are white. These mushrooms are great in soups, salads, and on pizza.
Mushrooms are one of the healthiest food items you can enjoy. They are low in calories, sodium, and contain no cholesterol. However, they are rich in many nutrients such as selenium, potassium, niacin, and vitamin D. You can prepare these mushrooms simply by sautéing or grilling.
The Jerusalem Artichoke is the root vegetable of a species of sunflower native to North America. The vegetable has many names including sunroot, sunchoke, topinambur, wild sunflower, or earth apple. The color of its exterior can range from white to brown but the flesh on the inside is white. It looks similar to ginger but has a rich, nutty flavor that can either be enjoyed raw or enhanced by cooking.
The Jerusalem Artichoke is rich in iron, potassium, and B vitamins. Additionally, they are a low-glycemic vegetable so they are safe for people with diabetic concerns.
If you are tired of yellow corn, why not try white corn? While the two are certainly similar in flavor, white corn can add a striking contrast to dishes. White corn may vary in flavor based on variety but is a good substitute for yellow corn in any recipe.
Mexico has the highest rate for consumption of white corn. They use it to make tortillas, tamales, cornbread, and even ice-creams, cakes, and pudding. White corn contains a great deal of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins E, B, and C.
Jicama. also known as Sweet Turnip, Mexican potato, and Mexican turnip, is an oval-shaped root vegetable native to Mexico and South America. It thrives in warm and tropical temperatures and is available all year long. The Jicama has a rough brown skin with a crisp white flesh. When uncooked, it is like a raw potato but juicier. The taste of this vegetable is sweet, nutty, and slightly tart which resembles a water chestnut.
Jicama is high in protein and low in fat. It can be prepared by slicing thinly to eat raw, or added to salads. It adds flavor and texture to a variety of dishes.
The word Kohlrabi is derived from the German word “kohl” for turnip and “rabi” for cabbage. There are two varieties of Kohlrabi, a green one and a purple one. Both have a brightly colored outside, while the inside is white or ivory. The Kohlrabi vegetable is juicy and crunchy with a mild, peppery flavor. It tastes similar to a combination of broccoli, cucumber, and cabbage with peppery notes.
There are many ways to prepare Kohlrabi in different cultures. In Hungary, they make a soup called karalábé leves which consists of cooked and pureed kohlrabi. In Germany, they serve the Kohlrabi in a cream-based sauce, while Indian recipes pair it with cumin, turmeric, and coriander in curries.
Taro root, also known as cocoyam, arrow root, dasheen, gabi, and patra, is a root vegetable native to Malaysia. It is hairy and brown with a rough texture. ITaro plays a role in many recipes from Polynesian and Indian cuisine. It is closely related to the yautia, a vegetable used in African and Caribbean cuisine. Its bland flavor makes it a great option for strong and spicy dishes such as curries.
In Hawaii, they use taro to make a gelatinous dish by steaming and pounding the root till it turns to pulp. While in Indian cuisine, they slice the Taro root, season it with spices, and fry it. In Chinese cuisine, they make taro-filled moon cakes which are very popular during the Lunar New Year’s celebration.
Lotus root, also known as bhe and renkon, is the edible stem of the lotus plant. It looks like a bunch of giant pods that are connected to each other. There are many ways to prepare the Lotus root since it is crunchy and mildly sweet. It is rich in fiber and vitamin C which promote the health of the digestive and immune systems.
The most popular ways to prepare it include frying, sautéing, steaming, and boiling. The vegetable is cooked in a way that it retains its prized firmness that goes well in salads. Lotus root is an ingredient in many Asian cuisines including Indian and Chinese. Generally, the Lotus Root does well in stir-fry, soup and stews, or simply sliced thin for salads.
Galangal, also known as blue ginger, Thai ginger, Siamese ginger, Laos ginger, and galingale, is a root vegetable closely related to turmeric and ginger. It has a shape similar to ginger but its waxy skin is covered with distinct rings of red-orange to brown. The inside of the Galangal root is white but turns brown on exposure to air. When it comes to flavor, Galangal is similar to ginger but more pungent and peppery.
The common ways to use Galangal are similar to ginger since it is a spice root. You can mince, slice, grate, and grind it to use as seasoning. In Southeast Asia, Galangal is a common ingredient for Indonesian friend rice, and Malaysian and Thai curries.
Onions are a staple in many kitchens around the world and come in multiple varieties to appeal to unique tastes. White onions are a sweet variety of onions with a mild and light flavor profile. Compared to red and yellow onions, they are much less pungent so raw applications in sandwiches and salads are common.
When cooked with other ingredients, white onions impart a light, sweet flavor that does not overpower the other ingredients. In fact, their natural sweetness intensifies when cooked and they lose their astringency. You can thinly slice these white onions to use in salads and sandwiches. They also do great in mild broths and stews with poultry such as duck and quail.
Rutabaga, also known as Swedish Turnip or simply “Swede”, is a root vegetable created by the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin. They thrive in cold temperatures and are available all year long. The appearance of the Rutabaga is similar to a turnip but it is bigger. They are usually white or pale yellow with a purple top. The flavor profile of a Rutabaga is like a milder turnip with an earthy, nutty, and slightly bitter taste.
Rutabagas are easy to prepare since you can serve them raw by simply peeling their skin. In Swedish and north European dishes, they often use the Rutabaga as a substitute for potatoes. Although, you can boil, mash, sauté, and roast Rutabaga as well as combine it with garlic, onion, and celery. The Rutabaga is a cruciferous vegetable which are known for their cancer-fighting properties.
Navy Beans, also known as pearl haricot bean, haricot bean, Boston bean, pea bean, and white pea bean, is a white variety of the common bean. It is a smaller bean that is oval-shaped with a dry texture. These beans are a common ingredient for baked beans, Senate bean soup, and pies. Navy beans contain a variety of nutrients that lower blood cholesterol, boost immunity, and fight cancer cells.
Fun fact: The US Navy has served these beans as a staple to sailors since 1883. This is how they got the name “Navy Beans”.
Enoki mushrooms, also known as Enokitake, Golden Needle, Lily Mushrooms, Velvet Foot, and Enoko-take, are a variety of mushrooms native to Eastern Asia and North America. These mushrooms have grown wild since ancient times and are a prized ingredient in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine. Cultivated Enoki mushrooms are small and look like a tightly-packed bouquet of long stems with convex caps. Rich in vitamins and minerals, these mushrooms are beneficial for immune health.
Enoki mushrooms have a crisp flesh that has a mild fruity and umami flavor. They play a role in many recipes but the most common are hot pots and stir-fry. The ingredients that complement Enoki mushrooms are ginger, soy sauce, miso, and crab.