top of page
  • Anya

20 Nutrient Rich vegetables to add to your diet (and 55 recipes to try them)

Updated: Jun 17, 2021


I don’t believe in superfoods...but these nutrient dense vegetables come close.





Everyone is crazy about superfoods. The more exotic (and the more expensive) the better. But just like unicorns or miracle diets, superfoods do not exist.


But that doesn’t mean some foods don’t come close.


Packed with nutrients, low in calories, cheap, and easily available, nutrient dense foods are the stars of the nutrition world and are an absolute must in your diet.


That's why I’ve made a list of 20 of the best you can find here in Mauritius. And, to prove that vegetables can be fun too, I’ve also included 55 recipes you can use them in. But before that…



What is Nutrient Density?


As their name implies, nutrient dense foods provide more nutrients than calories (Nutrients > Calories).


The average Mauritian diet tends to have more calories per meal than nutrients.


Even if you think you have a balanced diet, you could be opting for less nutrient dense options.


For example, let’s take the case of a good carbohydrate source. If you choose white rice over brown at every meal, you’re opting for a higher calorie to nutrient ratio at every meal. To illustrate, compare the two labels below.






 


20 Nutrient Dense Vegetables and Recipes



The vegetables listed here are all easily available in Mauritius. And you should have no trouble finding the ingredients listed in the recipes in most super markets.





Spinach

Benefits: A great source of iron. Especially for vegetarians.


Spinach won’t give you Popeye levels of strength, but the benefits it provides make it just as good, in my opinion. Its rich iron content gives you an energy kick when you need it (add it in a smoothie for immediate effect), and it’s reported to be beneficial to maintain good vision, heart health and support healthy bones. If you don’t quite know how to add spinach to your diet, any of these tasty recipes should do the trick.


Recipes:


Cream Curried Spinach

Spinach Wraps

Saag Paneer

Sautéed Spinach

Super tasty green smoothie



 





Cabbage


Benefits: Excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C.



Even though it might not be the most flavoursome vegetable in the world, human beings have been eating cabbage for thousands of years, and we’re definitely not stopping any time soon. That’s a good thing. Cabbage is one of the most nutritious and versatile foods out there and can easily fit into various dishes whether used raw, fermented, or cooked. Check out some of these recipes if you’re looking for new ways to serve them.


Recipes:


Sautéed Cabbage

Vegan Stir-Fried Cabbage in Peanut Sauce (our local cabbage will do)

Hot and Sour Soup with Cabbage, Rice and Mushroom





 



Radish



Benefits: An excellent antioxidant as it is rich in vitamin A


Radishes are not the most popular vegetable in Mauritius. I rarely see our local recipes using this vegetable, and that’s too bad because it has a host of reported benefits, including reducing the risk of diabetes and improving liver function.


Here are some cool recipes which put radishes as a centerpiece ingredient.


Recipe


Roasted Radishes

Shaved Radish Salad with Walnut and Mint

Beetroot and radish salad with hard-boiled eggs



 




Sweet Potatoes



Benefits: High in fiber and vitamin A


It's hard not to fall in love with the sweet potato.


Packed with nutrients, slightly healthier than regular potatoes, and so versatile that they're used in various recipes, it's the perfect vegetable to have around at home if you're running out of healthy food ideas. Studies suggest that eating sweet potatoes may help manage type 2 diabetes, and that they are good for eye health. So what's not to love? Here are some recipe ideas to help you make the most of them (I strongly recommend you try the fries).


Recipes


Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad



 




Green Beans (Haricot Vert)



Benefits: Good source of plant based protein


Whether eaten raw or cooked, green beans are a great addition to your weekly diet. Plus, I find that their chewy texture adds some extra “oomph” to a vegetarian-only meal for those trying to transition from meat.



Recipe:

Garlic Green Beans




 





Cauliflower



Benefits: Excellent source of vitamin C and rich in fiber



Once shaved, the cauliflower florets (the flower-like part) have a rice-like texture and, just like rice, easily soak up the flavours of any sauce or curry poured on it, which is great because it has a ridiculously low-calorie count. You’ll find the recipe for cauliflower rice below, along with some other tasty options you can try.



Recipes:

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Aloo Gobi

Spicy Cauliflower Rice with Minty Cucumber Raita

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower




 




Pumpkins



Benefits: Excellent source of vitamin K


The pumpkin has got to be one of our favourite fruits in Mauritius (because yes, pumpkins are fruits). Available year-round, pumpkins find themselves on dinner tables across the island. But, other than our traditional “fricassé giraumon” there’s a lot more that we can do with it. Check out the recipes below for some new ideas.


Recipes

Pumpkin and Lentil Red Curry

Roasted Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Fricassé

Pumpkin Fries