Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ask the Internet: Top 5 Vegetables?

Sweet readers, this one was born of a backyard barbecue conversation. It got unexpectedly (and excitedly) in-depth, and it could help to determine future content of the blog (especially recipes).

Q: What are your top five favorite vegetables, and why?

A: Seems like an easy question, right? But my list took awhile. Eventually I came up with:
  1. Sweet potatoes. The candy of the earth.
  2. Red bell peppers. So versatile, so delicious.
  3. Tomatoes. In any form, any time.
  4. Swiss Chard/Kale. Who knew leafy greens could be so tasty?
  5. Onions. Is there food that exists without them?
Eggplant would have been #6. I don't care for radishes (which is why you almost never see them here), and cauliflower has to be pretty heavily doctored for me to dig in.

And with that, I throw it to you. I wonder what will win? We can even post the results on Friday.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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Diane said...

1. Onions - although I don't know if I'd call this a vegetable, as it forms more of a backdrop flavor to many dishes, and I rarely cook it by itself. Still - gotta have them!

2. Gai Lan - A staple at my farmers markets. I don't know if I've gone a week in the past year without buying this. The crispness of its stems, and its lovely flavor are an outstanding side to many meals. I typically make it blanched lightly with oyster sauce and sesame oil, although its been known to go in curries, frittatas, etc. I'll never eat regular broccoli again.

3. Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potato "fries" with spiced rub. Just sayin'...

4. Tomatoes - sort of like onions - so ubiquitous that I almost don't think of them any more as a vegetable but a background ingredient - spaghetti sauce, indian chillas, sliced for a summer salad, the base for curries, etc etc.

5. Snap Peas - I eat these almost year round. Sauteed with salt and dried mint - heaven. Good TV snack raw too.

Annie Jones said...

I don't think there is a veggie I don't like, but my five faves are probably leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage, onions, and zucchini.

Of course, potatoes, too, but I usually count them more as starch and less as veggie.

Laura said...

1. Mushrooms
2. Tomatoes
3. Onions
4. Greens
5. Broccoli

Jenna said...

Let's see - Top 5?
1 - Tomatoes
2 - Sweet Peppers (all colors)
3 - Sweet Potatoes (hmm, a theme there.)
4 - Spinach (we eat TONS)
5 - Sugar snap peas (again, the sweet seems pretty thematic lol)

After that comes the kale, chard, and leeks... but that's pretty much a set 5 for me (and my husband, luckily)

Elizabeth said...

1. Tomatoes - they just make everything better
2. Garlic - everything needs garlic
3. Bell Peppers - so many varieties, s many uses
4. Onions - like garlic, everything needs onion
5. Corn - so yummy

Muchadoaboutnothing said...

My top five vegetables: tomatoes, onions, brussels sprouts, lettuces (I eat a lot of salads), corn.

Serena said...

for me it's:
1 tomato, cause hey, I'm italian! :D
2 fennel because it has virtually no calorie, and it's GREAT in soups
3 snap beans. just because, yeah.
4 asparagus. oh dear asparagus, you're so good that I shall forgive thee for the funny-smelling pee...
5 carrot, for the love of my carrot cake

Mariaa said...

You're right-- this was deceptively tough (and also fun)! There are a lot of veggies that I love but just don't eat often enough for me to include them (like fennel), while there are others (like the indispensable tomato and onion) that I probably eat almost every day and that I appreciate a lot, but I just couldn't get excited enough about them to put them in my top 5.

1. Garlic (makes everything better; there's never enough of it)
2. Avocado (it's like a guilty pleasure vegetable, so fatty and delicious)
3. Collard Greens (I also love me some leafy greens and as an added bonus these seem to be cheap all year round)
4. Brussels Sprouts (I never ate these when I was young and discovered an undying love for them only about a year ago when my husband-to-be introduced me to how delicious they can be when roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper)
5. Red Cabbage (raw or cooked, I just find it so much more flavorful than ordinary cabbage, and visually interesting!)

Sara A. said...

1. Tomatoes
2. Onions
3. Zucchini
4. Mushrooms
5. Artichokes

heather said...

1. tomatoes
2. broccoli
3. mushrooms
4. onions
5. edamame

Anonymous said...

1. Onions
2. Garlic
3. Potatoes
4. Carrots
5. Corn

Anonymous said...

1) Red Bell Peppers - raw, sauteed, roasted, you can't go wrong!

2) Spinach - Steamed baby spinach with a little olive oil, garlic and nutmeg is one of my all time favorite side dishes, but I've been known to toss spinach in just about anything.

3) Sweet Potatoes - Everybody has covered this pretty well already.

4) Broccoli - Raw is acceptable but steamed with just a pinch of salt is heavenly.

5) Tomatoes - I only recently developed a taste for them and now I can't get enough! I'm enjoying exploring all the heirloom varieties.

Onions, obviously, give everything so much extra flavor, but they are not a veg that I would eat standing alone.

MsLeading said...

Sigh, I won't get on my high horse about how a lot of these "vegetables" are actually fruits...

Onions, garlic, ginger, etc. are pretty much ubiquitous flavor foods for me, but I hardly ever eat them on their own or as centerpieces of a dish. So for those things traditionally considered veggies in a culinary sense:

1) Bell peppers
2) Asparagus
3) Mushrooms
4) Kale
5) Sweet potatoes

Anonymous said...

Nothing too fancy for us -- we like the time tested and versatile veggies:

1. Tomatoes - 'nuff said.
2. Sweet corn - can't believe this hasn't gotten more votes! Delicious and quite versatile.
3. Onions - you can't cook without 'em
4. Potatoes -- I know, boring and old school but I can't imagine not having them around
5. Green beans -- we eat them at almost every meal

That leaves off a lot of great contenders: peppers of all kinds, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, oh my... I'm so glad I don't have to limit myself to just 5!

Kristen said...

1. Beets. I know they're a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable and I'm firmly in the former.

2. Peas.

3. Potatoes of all sorts.

4. Winter squash (especially butternut).

5. Cabbage.

Although I love tomatoes and corn during the summer, during the rest of the year, they get a little depressing, so they didn't make my list.

Sara said...

1. Garlic
2. Onions
3. Tomatoes

(almost everything I make has those three things)

4. Bell peppers (any color)
5. Carrots (bit of a classic, really)

MMB said...

1. Cauliflower
2. Red bell peppers
3. Cucumbers
4. Tomatoes
5. Brussel sprouts

But I really like all vegetables except okra.

Susan said...

1. Sweet potatoes
2. Bell peppers (all except green)
3. Avocado
4. Brussels sprouts
5. Broccoli

This really was tough. I love most vegetables.

Kristin said...

Onion -- How can you not start your cooking with diced onions suateed in olive oil?
Spinach -- I keep a bag of frozen spinach to easily add flavor and nutrition to meals.
Carrots -- I love to munch on these raw while I'm fixing the rest of my dinner.
Tomato (Canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste are just so versatile and nutritious.)
Brocolli -- Very healthy and so tasty.

Sassy Molassy said...

1. tomatoes
2. peppers, any and every kind
3. garlic
4. mushrooms
5. okra


Sugar Peas
Sweet Corn
Sweet Potatoes

Kimberly said...

1. garlic/onions/leeks/shallots--they're all in the same general family, so I'm counting them as one. Delicious.

2. carrots-- not baby carrots, but full-on, delicious, sweet, crunchy carrots.

3. spinach-- my favorite green. So tasty and versatile.

4. asparagus-- roasted or grilled with olive oil, salt, and lots of pepper. Not steamed.

5. zucchini-- so tasty, so inexpensive.

I feel terrible having left out broccoli. Or bell peppers. Or butter leaf lettuce. Or brussel sprouts. Or chard. Well, you get the idea. ;)

You should do another one of these for fruit. Oh, I could wax poetic about my favorite fruits...

wanderlustandfoodstuff said...

So tough to decide...

1. garlic - all forms (like ramps, garlic scapes, etc.)
2. Asparagus
3. Tomatoes (ok, technically not a veg... whatev)
4. Butter or Bibb Leaf Lettuce
5. Peppers - usually the hot and spicy kind, but also bell peppers

krista {urbanite jewelry} said...

1. Asparagus
2. Tomatoes
3. Cucumber
4. Zucchini
5. Mushrooms!

(i love onions too, but honestly, i feel like they're such a big staple/base ingredient for so many recipes that they almost don't count)

Daniel said...

I'm going to consider chickpeas as #0 because I see them as a given for one of the top vegetables.

1.Kabocha Squash/Pumpkin
4.Sweet Potato

Melis said...

I've sat here for 10 mins rearranging the order and adding/deleting to come up with this final list:
1. Zucchini
2. Avocado
3. Sweet Potato
4. Brussel Sprouts
5. Can't decide between green beans or artichoke

My apologies to asparagus, mushrooms and broccoli for not making the cut!

Harper said...

Brussels Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Vidalia Onions

Beets are my number 6.

Fruit/Vegetables - Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Anna N said...

1. Tomatoes - mainly because of my love of eating them fresh (and ideally straight off the plant), but also as an ingredient.

2. Toscano kale - my favorite kind of kale, and my favorite leafy green, because it's also good raw (so good that I compulsively nibble on it if I'm prepping it).

3. Winter squash - just always loved it, and I love trying different varieties. Mmm, squash pie.

4. Cucumber - when in season, I eat the small ones whole like a piece of fruit.

5. Onions - because they're in practically everything I cook. (I'm making it easy for myself and counting garlic as a spice.)

Those would be the five for me, although it pains me to leave out avocado and sweet corn!

Kris said...

This is great! A few observations:

-Though I love both of them dearly, I'm surprised at how well asparagus and Brussels sprouts are doing here. I didn't think they'd rival corn in popularity.

-Oh man, how could I forget pumpkin, butternut squash, and mushrooms?

-Ain't no love for yellow squash, bok choy, arugula, rutabagas, parsnips, or turnips yet. *sniffle*

Edward Antrobus said...

1 Tomatoes
2 Cauliflower
3 Sweet Corn
4 Lima beans
5 Peas

Anonymous said...

Most of my favorites are only favorites if they are straight out of the garden, preferably my mom's:
1. Sweet corn
2. Sweet peas
3. Cucumbers
4. Bell peppers (any color)
5. Sugar snap peas
Also, I prefer all of the above raw. Bonus points for eating them barefoot in the garden.

Anonymous said...

1. Asparagus
2. Sweet corn
3. Collards/kale
4. Sweet potatoes
5. Tomatoes

LibertyJB & Now E said...


Oh man I love those! I wish I had them right now!

Claire said...

1. Asparagus
2. Carrots
3. Broccoli
4. Green beans
5. Cucumbers

I'm kind of not counting onions, which are a different category for me, or potatoes or sweet potatoes, for the same reason. Or starchy, protein-y beans like black beans or chickpeas. Is that cheating? Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

This requires serious brain power!

And after much consideration. . .

1. Fresh garden cucumbers
2. Sugar Snap peas, actually peas in general, just not canned
3. Asparagus
4. Members of the lily family (garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, ramps. . . )
5. Peppers. . . sweet or with a kick

I love tomatoes in things (salsa, tomato sauce) but just eating them I can't handle the texture so they come in at 6.

And Kris, I used to HATE radishes, but then I souvede them and now I love them, but they are at 7

This question for top 5 fruits. . . can't wait for next week! RW

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I left out lettuce/spinach/kale!


Libby said...

Oh wow, only 5?!? A top 20 would be much more feasible :)

1. kale
2. onions
3. broccoli
4. butternut squash
5. spinach

Jaime said...

1. Brussels Sprouts - cooked right they're like vegetarian bacon.
2. Kale - same story - these cruciferous dudes taste amazing cooked hot with salt.
3. Mushrooms - so earthy and delicious!
4. Tomatoes - fresh and ripe, they're like a party in your mouth.
5. This is where it gets hard to choose. Broccoli? Zucchini? Onions? It's all so good.

I love you, vegetables.

Diane said...

Oh yes, and I must say I excluded two vegetables from my list above which both fall into the category "I-eat-these-almost-every-meal-even-breakfast-and-cannot-live-without":

...garlic and chiles...

They go without saying. Well not really, as I guess I am saying them here. But if they had to go in the top 5 something else would get bumped! Can't live without them...

Heidi said...

Top five favorites, but decidedly not the "Top five most used."

1. Parsnips - like carrots, only better
2. Spinach - the only leafy veg I like raw or cooked
3. Butternut Squash - the friendliest of the hard squashes
4. Artichokes - automatically add a touch of class to any dish
5. Beets - loved them all my life, purpled fingers and all

April said...

In no particular order (because I just can't):

1. peas
2. onions
3. red (or yellow or orange) bell peppers
4. sweet corn
5. kale or spinach, I can't decide

Asparagus, you'd totally have made it but you're usually so expensive I don't get you very much.

Hillbilly Betty / Waylon Aussies said...

In no particular order:
1) Tomatoes
2) Lima Beans
3) Cauliflower
4) Onions
5) Peas

wosnes said...

This took some thought! In the end I looked at what I always have on hand at what I scurry to replace.

1. Tomatoes/tomato products
2. Bell peppers, especially red and green
3. Spinach and other leafy greens
4. Garlic/onions
5. Potatoes -- sweet and white

Megan said...

1. CORN-- the best, and also the only vegetable I would eat as a child.

2. Tomatoes-- good on everything.

3. Onions- basically necessary in every dish.

4. Mushrooms-- over pasta, mmm.

5. Bell peppers- brighten up anything.

Zom G. said...

Ooo, I can't wait to read everyone's comments, but I want be be "pure of vegetable" with my response, so here we go...
4)Beets (this is a love of aesthetics, not necessarily taste)
5)Hot Peppers

Anonymous said...

MsLeading .. bell peppers are fruits, too.

Julie said...

1. Onions
2. Garlic
3. Bok Choy
4. Red Peppers
5. Peas

I really dislike tomatoes. I've been trying to incorporate them more, but I usually just pick them out of my meal.

Laura said...

Hmmmm, in no particular order...

Top 5 general use:
1. Tomatoes
2. Onions
3. Garlic
4. Carrots
5. Broccoli

Top 5 taste:
1. Asparagus
2. Eggplant
3. Yellow squash
4. Cooking greens (esp. collards and red russian kale)
5. Fresh white sweet corn on the cob, hot, dripping with butter, and covered in sea salt and fresh ground pepper...


Nita said...

1. Carrots - because they can be eaten raw or cooked, and they're so deliciously sweet when roasted.
2. Onions - as others have said, they go in almost everything.
3. Potatoes - Because they're a staple, and I couldn't live without cheesy mashed potatoes.
4. Tomatoes - Because they have such a lovely savoury "umami" taste. And red is my favourite colour.
5. Garlic - nothing beats it for flavour. And apparently it's good for you too.

Beth said...


I dint count garlic or onions, cause they are in everything I make.

scoutlostthewar said...

Assuming we're not getting into the uppity "tomato is a fruit" argument, my top 5 is:

1. Tomato
2. Potato
3. Swede
4. Parsnip
5. avocado

Allie said...

This is seriously difficult, but here's my stab at it:

1. Onions (including green onions)
2. Tomatoes
3. Mushrooms
4. Red Peppers
5. Spinach

Broccoli would be #6. Also, I didn't include garlic because I think of it more as a seasoning ... if I had to consider it a vegetable, it'd probably rank second or third.

Anonymous said...

1. Sweet corn - I live in Scotland now, and it doesn't grow here. Weep!
2. Potatoes
3. Pumpkin
4. Tomatoes (even if it's a fruit) - can't eat them as-is, but LOVE tomato sauce
5. Carrots - with hummus, a match made in heaven.

And to jump in to the whole 'is it a veggie or not' debate - mushrooms aren't.

Kelly said...

I would say Onions, Garlic and Peppers are 1-2-3 (although I agree with a lot of commenters that I don't know if I'd count onions and garlic as 'vegetables' in the culinary sense of the word - I think of vegetables as plant parts that are enjoyable eaten raw and alone. For example, I love cilantro and basil, but I wouldn't put them on this list...) Anyway, my next five would be:
1. grape tomatoes
2. sugar snap peas
3. sweet corn
4. edamame
5. carrots
6. spinach! (I know, I'm over the limit, but I couldn't leave spinach off!)

CJ said...

Green beans
Sweet potatoes

Mary said...

My top five would be the five I grew up on:

1. Tomatoes
2. Sweet peas
3. Potatoes
4. Carrots
5. Cukes

(With about a million more to follow.)

Definitely garden fresh tomatoes gets my number one spot, though!

Nikki said...

1) Asparagus
3) Potatoes (sweet or otherwise)
4) Broccoli
5) spinach


Karen Oishi Walker said...

1. Broccoli
2. Asparagus
3. Snap peas
4. Tomatoes
5. Spinach

Kelly said...

1)sweet potatoes
3)Romanesco broccoli (the coolest-looking vegetable known to man)
5)Any hot pepper

Anna said...

Hmm. In no particular order...
Brussel sprouts
Sweet potatoes.

But I would have to also mention garlic and corn and carrots and eggplant and pumpkin!

K. Tree said...


Tomatoes - mostly cooked. I have to be in the mood to eat them raw.


Sweet Potatoes.

Spinach. Raw or cooked. I'll even eat the canned stuff.

Kate E. said...

Wow! This was hard. I've sat here for a long time thinking about this.

1. Hass Avocado. I went back and forth on this a lot since I think its technically a fruit, but since tomatoes were included (which are also technically a fruit, I guess) then I think the avocado could be included. It is green, after all.

2. Asparagus. I hope I settle down in one place someday long enough to have my own asparagus patch. That would make me happy.

3. Tomatoes
4. Winter squash (pumpkin, butternut, etc)
5. Garlic and onions (because life would be so bland without them.)

MS said...

This is a toughie! I almost don't want to put them in order, but here goes:
1. Tomatoes (though technically a fruit, the US Supreme Court declared them a vegetable, and that's good enough for me!)
2. All potatoes
3. Broccoli
4. Red bell pepper
5. Celery

a said...

I know I'm late but it's been a busy week and I felt compelled to adds my two cents
1. Garlic... It's like oxygen
2. Lentils...like mini gold coins from heaven
4. Zucchini
5. Broccoli rabe

If I could go on, I'd add chick peas, butternut, bok choy,cauliflower, mushrooms, romaine, seaweed, n cilantro n olives n capers (they're vegetal)

Also, usually I love any new random edible plant matter I encounter.. But I HATE limas and brussel sprouts-blarg

Marie said...

1. onioins
2. asparagus
3. eggplant
4. broccoli
5. sweet potato


Alastair said...

In no particular order:

1. Corn - on the cob, out of a tin.. in whatever shape or form, I can't get enough of corn!
2. Parsnips - roasted they're just the best
3. Potatoes (if they're not a fruit and they're not a meat, then they're a vegetable!) - the most versatile food item ever?
4. Broccoli - stir fried or with breaded chicken.. om nom nom nom!
5. Onions - like you say, is there any food without onions?

bakingwhims said...

I'm going to go with the top five vegetables I use in my recipes and almost always have in my fridge:

1. Onions
2. Tomatoes
3. Red peppers
4. Zucchinis
5. Mushrooms

On a side note--I LOVE vegetables!! I'm so glad they're good for you :)

GrowingRaw said...

My favourite vegetable changes with the seasons, but to pick a year round stand-out I'd have to go with carrots. They're the most productive vegetable to grow space-wise and both my kids happily snack on them raw. Whenever I'm worried they haven't eaten enough fresh veggies I know I can throw a cupful of carrots sticks and red capsicum slices with hommus at the pair of them. The veggies steadily disappear.

Julie said...

1) Spinach. I eat spinach everyday. Lettuce is all water, but Popeye knew what he was talking about with spinach.
2) Sweet potatoes. Before I moved to the South, I never experienced sweet potato fries, but I absolutely love them. They're a sweet carb and those are my favorite!
3) Avocado. If I could, I would eat this all the time, but there's a lot of fat. Thankfully, it's good fat. :)
4) Tomatoes. I used to hate it. I still hate big slices and I can never eat a whole tomato with salt. Gross. Though I could do that with an avocado... with sugar not salt. Low cal, zesty, yum.
5) Corn. This one was hard, but corn salsa is the best. I also am partial to onions, but I can't eat those alone.