Blue vegetables are beautiful, delicious, and nutritious!
Below is everything you wanted to know about these blue-hued veggies!
What are Blue Vegetables?
Blue vegetables are rare, as the color blue is not typically found in plants. However, there are a few vegetables that have bluish hues.
The blue is due to the presence of pigments called anthocyanins. These pigments give fruits, flowers, and vegetables their red, purple, and blue colors.
Check out this Age-Defying Dietitian recipe for blue matcha packed with anthocyanins – “Blue Matcha: The Benefits of its Vibrant Hue”.
Blue Vegetable List
Below are 10 blue vegetables:
1. Blue Bayou Tomatoes
This blue vegetable is a type of heirloom tomato. It has a deep navy blue color.
The blue bayou is a large tomato that can weigh up to 1 pound each!
They have a sweet, tangy taste, and are a good source of vitamins A and C.
2. Fahrenheit Blue Tomatoes
Another tomato sporting a blue hue is the Fahrenheit blue tomato. It is a rare variety of cherry tomatoes.
It can be found at some specialty nurseries and online.
Fahrenheit blue tomatoes have a sweet flavor and are delicious on their own or in a salad. Their sweet taste makes them great for tomato sauce!
3. Blue Cabbage
Blue cabbage has a naturally blue-purple color. It resembles a beautiful flower and is rich in vitamins C and K, along with fiber.
Blue cabbage may be eaten raw or cooked. It has a mild flavor and is a vibrant addition to salads, stir-fries, and soups.
4. Tall Blue Lettuce
This is not your average lettuce. This blue veggie is a wild lettuce that can be found on roadsides and meadows.
The leaves have a blue-green hue and a slightly bitter taste.
It is a good source of fiber, along with vitamins A and C. Tall blue lettuce is best in salads. It can also be used to make tea.
5. Filius Blue Pepper
A relatively new variety of pepper is the filius blue pepper. It starts as a blue-purple color and turns bright red once it matures!
Filius peppers are not hot. Instead, they have a sweet, fruity flavor. They are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect the body against free radicals.
6. Blue Corn
In the US, this might be the most familiar of the blue color vegetables. It is blue-purple and is considered a flint corn.
This means it has a hard kernel that is best for grinding into flour.
Blue corn has a slightly nutty flavor and is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins A and C. It is often used to make tortillas, flour, and chips.
7. Vates Blue Curled Scotch Kale
This variety of kale has curly, blue-green leaves.
Vates blue curled scotch kale is different from traditional kale in that it has a sweeter flavor and tender texture.
You can use it in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, kale chips, and stir-fry.
Much like other naturally blue foods, vates blue curled scotch kale is high in antioxidants.
8. Indigo Ruby
Indigo Ruby, a type of heirloom tomato, is known for its vibrant blue-purple hue.
They have a tangy, sweet flavor that some compare to the taste of a plum.
These are relatively scarce tomatoes and are a nice addition to sandwiches, salads, and pizza.
9. Blue Pumpkin
Native to Australia, these blue pumpkins are known for their blue-green rind. They have a nutty, sweet flavor.
Blue pumpkins are high in both vitamins A and C.
They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. Use this naturally blue food in baked goods, soups, and stews.
10. Blue Carrots
These unique carrots have a blue or purple hue on the outside and a yellow or orange center.
They have a slightly sweeter taste and earthy flavor than orange carrots. Their bright color can add a vivid touch to any dish!
5 Health Benefits of Blue Vegetables
Blue veggies are not just beautiful, they also offer health benefits.
Below are 5 health benefits of blue vegetables:
1. Antioxidants that Fight Chronic Disease
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
These antioxidants may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Some studies suggest that anthocyanins may have anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Brain Health
Research has suggested that anthocyanins may help improve brain function and protect against cognitive decline in older adults.
4. Eye Health
Anthocyanins may benefit eye health by protecting against age-related macular degeneration, a common eye condition that can cause vision loss.
5. Improved Digestion
Another way to get antioxidants is through a nutrient powerhouse called açai.
Check out this Age-Defying Dietitian blog post to learn more – “Açai Ice Cream: How to Make This Refreshing Frozen Treat“.
How to Add Blue Vegetables to Your Diet
Incorporating these blue veggies into your diet can provide a variety of nutrients. However, this unique produce can be difficult to find.
Where to Find Blue Veggies
With a little extra effort, you can find blue vegetables, even though they’re not as common as other produce.
You’re most likely to find these blue foods at specialty stores and farmers’ markets.
Inform a local grower of your interest in blue vegetables.
They can likely direct you to a grower that specializes in more hard-to-find produce.
Shiitake mushrooms are not a blue vegetable, however, they are much easier to find and support skin health.
Check out this Age-Defying Dietitian blog post to learn more – “5 Remarkable Skin Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms“.
How to Cook Blue Vegetables
Blue vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways, much like their traditional counterparts.
When cooking, it’s important to be gentle with them to avoid bruising or damaging their delicate texture.
Avoid overcooking them, as this can cause them to lose their color and nutrients.
Below are 4 cooking methods for blue vegetables:
Roasting is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness of blue vegetables. Toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tender and golden brown.
Steaming is a gentle cooking method that can help preserve color. Simply place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam until tender.
Boiling is a quick and easy cooking method. However, be careful not to overcook the vegetables, as this can cause them to lose their color and texture. Simply add them to a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
Sautéing is another quick and flavorful cooking method. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the veggies, and cook until tender and lightly browned.
Are you interested in more blue foods? Check out this Age-Defying Dietitian blog post “How to Make Blueberry Water“.
Takeaways on Blue Vegetables
Incorporate blue vegetables into your diet to support healthy aging.
These colorful veggies are rich in antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and prevent chronic diseases.
Blue vegetables can be difficult to find. Check specialty stores and farmers’ markets for this unique produce.
Are you interested in more unique and colorful options? Check out our 20 Green Fruit Options for a Healthier You.
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Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management. She has 20+ years of nutrition experience working in a variety of healthcare settings. Her passion is to provide evidence-based nutrition information that supports vitality and longevity!