The Wonderful Variety Of Vegetables




Certainly, if you are aiming to follow Plant-Based Vegan Nutrition, or perhaps you already do, the Vegetable Group is one important group of foods that you will become quite familiar with.  You will discover incredible variety, in form, texture, flavor, and nutritional content.

Vegetables can best be defined as plants or plant parts that are too low in calories to form the center part of the meal.  (If you remember from a previous article, that central role belongs to the Starches).  Vegetables do indeed provide valuable nutritional offerings – vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, essential fat and protein.

What Makes A Vegetable A Vegetable?

This is something occasionally get asked.  Like I said above, a vegetable is something that is too low-calorie to be a  center-stage.  That being said, it is important to recognize that some well-intentioned vegans are going astray by eating primarily vegetables without enough starchy foods to provide enough building blocks for your body’s energy.  This is precisely the most common stumbling block of newbie vegans, by the way.

The Wide Varieties Of Vegetables

When exploring the vast varieties of vegetables, many people new to a healthy diet exclaim – “I never knew so many vegetables exist!”  Ha!  That is truly a common response that I’ve heard over and over again.

With that, let’s build a good foundation to understand this vast food group.  While many different vegetables exist, they can all be classified into eight different groups.  The vegetable groups are:

  1. Summer Squash
  2. Flowers
  3. Roots
  4. Leafy
  5. Pod Legumes
  6. Stalks
  7. Mushrooms
  8. Fruitlike

Before we jump into the descriptions, it is important to remind you of something I shared in previous articles.  The big distinction about whether a food is classified as a starch or a fruit or a vegetable has a lot to do with whether it has enough calories to offer to be a central part of a meal … or not.  The potato for example, is commonly thought of as a vegetable.  But, in actuality, it carries substantial enough calories that it can be classified as a starch.  Likewise, some foods that are ‘fruitlike’ will be classified as a fruit or a vegetable based on the calorie contribution.

Not to confuse things, the tomato is one food that is actually often classified in both categories.  Strangely, when a tomato is raw, it is a vegetable in calorie contribution.  When it is cooked, it actually becomes more calorie dense and is considered a fruit.

Aside from that one exception, all other foods are pretty straightforward.  Let’s jump into the descriptions.

Summer Squash

This delicious light squash has lots of varieties, as listed here:

Summer Squash


This vegetable group is composed of foods that indeed have a ‘flower component’.  Such foods include:

flower component’


Just like in the Starch Family, the Vegetable Roots are foods which grow underground.  Unlike the Starches, these foods are low in calories – and are therefore classified as vegetables.  Such foods include:



Just as the name implies, these vegetables have a leaf-like appearance and composition.  These foods include:


Pod Legumes

Again, like the legumes in the Starch Family, these legumes are much lower in calories.  These foods include:

Pod Legumes


Just like it sounds, these vegetable grow on a stalk. They are naturally rich in fiber.  Examples include:



Ah, the infamous ‘shrooms’.  Commonly known to be a ‘fungus’, these foods have their own unique flavor, consistency and nutritive contribution.  Examples include:



As noted above, these foods are very similar to fruits – but lack a higher calorie value.  They have seeds, just like fruits.  Without the higher calorie content, these foods are perfect additions to a starch centered meal.  Examples include:


Now The Challenge:  Explore, Invent, And Create New Healthy Meals

So, there you have it.  A fairly exhaustive list of vegetables for you to choose from.  Delicious recipes abound, with new concoctions awaiting exploration every day.  With the wide variety of colors, textures, flavors and aromas, you can easily add wonderful vegetables to your healthy starch-centered meals.  Enjoy!

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