Kohlrabi

Sounds like something to be shouted in Klingon, doesn’t it? No need to fear: kohlrabi won’t leap up and devour your face if you lean over it. This bizarre little “turnip cabbage” has a thick skin that needs to be peeled off before you get to its juicy little heart (which tastes quite a bit like broccoli stem), and its leaves can be cooked like collard greens or kale.

Great recipes to try:

Kohlrabi and zucchini fritters with sriracha mayo – You can make fritters out of just about any vegetable, but these two pair together perfectly.

Kohlrabi, cardamom, and coconut curry – Warming and filling, with just the right amount of heat.

Shaved kohlrabi with apple and hazelnuts – This is a beautiful way to highlight kohlrabi’s mild sweetness and crunchiness.

Spicy kohlrabi-kale kimchi – If you have more kohlrabi than you know what to do with and you’d like to use it up before it goes bad, make a batch of this kimchi and enjoy it later.

Celeriac

Celeriac Root

It looks like a tumor and tastes like celery, but what can you do with it? Quite a lot, actually. Celeriac is indeed part of the celery family, but is cultivated for its large root instead of its stalks.

Great recipes to try:

Celery root puree with balsamic beets and pearl onions – Buhhh. If anyone ever disparages vegan cuisine, feed them this, and it’ll blow their minds.

Celeriac, fennel, and pear salad with lentils – Celery root’s refreshing crunch is echoed by both the fennel and sweet pear, and complemented by creamy, nutty Puy lentils.

Celery root steaks with tomatillo salsa verde – Way to incorporate 2 CSA box items in one recipe! The savory meatiness of the root steak is brightened by spicy green salsa, and is a perfect summer dinner recipe.

Celeriac and roasted garlic soup with parsley oil – This is a delicious, elegant soup that’s both perfect for cooler evenings, and for when you’re aiming to impress dinner guests. Or in-laws. Same idea.

Rutabaga

Rutabagas

Also known as “Swedes”, rutabagas are root vegetables that likely originated by crossing a turnip with cabbage. Sounds bizarre, I know, but these tuberous powerhouses are quite versatile. They have a nutty sweetness from the cabbage, and the firm crunch normally associated with turnips. They can be used raw or cooked, and they make a great substitute for mashed potatoes for Paleo recipes, or for folks avoiding nightshade vegetables.

Great recipes to try:

Rutabaga fries – They’re low carb, vegan, AIP paleo compliant, and incredibly delicious.

Spiralized rutabaga noodles – You can top them with anything you like. Try them with pesto and hazelnuts.

Rutabaga hash with chilies and bacon – This can easily be made vegan with veg bacon or even toasted coconut.

Latkes – An all-time favorite pancake, only made with rutabaga instead of potato.

Fennel

Fennel

It looks like something from an alien landscape with its bulbous base and frilly hair, but fennel is a wonderful vegetable that’s quite versatile with a slight licorice flavor. You can eat it raw or cooked, and the green fronds are edible as well.

Great recipes to try:

Braised fennel with capers and olives – Magic happens when you combine the ingredients in this recipe.

Arugula, fennel, and olive salad – A great mixture of textures, flavors, sweetness, and bite.

Fennel, asparagus, and artichoke empanadas – This is a perfect way to showcase summer produce.

Roasted fennel and onion gratinati – It’s as scrumptious with vegan almond cheese as it is with regular Parmesan.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

They may look like a tangle of skinny snakes, but these vibrant greens are garlic’s flower stalks, and they’re as delicious as their root bulb, only milder. Garlic scapes can be pureed into sauce, chopped and sautéed like green beans, added to frittatas… they’re really only limited by your own culinary creativity.

Great recipes to try:

Garlic scape pesto – One of the easiest and most delicious recipes for scapes. You can add in foraged greens like garlic mustard, lambsquarters, or dandelion leaves to.

Summer vegetable strata – A brilliant way to use random bits from your CSA box in one delicious dish.

Beet, garlic scape, and leek pizza – Pizza is fabulous no matter what you put on it, but these ingredients elevate it to an art form.

Grilled garlic scape and asparagus soup with caramelized shallots – A lovely summer soup that’ll impress just about anyone.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)

These adorable little knuckle-shaped roots go quite nutty when you cook them, and are woefully under-used in most people’s kitchens. Not related to globe artichokes, these tubers are part of the sunflower family, and are packed with protein, potassium, iron, and calcium.

Great recipes to try:

Crispy Jerusalem artichokes with aged balsamic – Roasting the sunchokes brings out their natural sweetness, and the balsamic adds depth to their flavor.

Roasted Jerusalem artichoke, chestnut, and thyme soup – All of these rich flavors harmonize into a luxurious, creamy soup.

Baked Jerusalem artichoke chips – Who doesn’t love chips? These are low-carb, paleo, vegan, and have a low glycemic index too.

Sunchoke banana cake with maple syrup drizzle – Like any other tuber, these add richness, moisture, and texture to baked goods.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Most people who are unfamiliar with South American cuisine may never have encountered a tomatillo, but they’re definitely worth getting to know. Relatives of tomatoes and ground cherries (physalis), these papery-coated green gems have a great tart acidity that works beautifully for salsas and other sauces, and can be sweetened for preserves and jams.

Great recipes to try:

Watermelon, strawberry, and tomatillo salad – If this isn’t a perfect summer salad, I don’t know what is.

Tomatillo and lime salsa verde – Sharp and fresh, it’s as good on huevos rancheros as it is scooped up with tortilla chips.

Green shakshuka – One of our favorite brunch dishes.

Tomatillo jam – It can be made thick or thin (as a spread or as a syrup for pancakes), and is ridiculously good.

Radishes

Radishes

Although most people can identify radishes at a glance, these poor little roots often get relegated to salads. Regardless of whether you’ve received cherrybelle, watermelon, or even daikon radish, you’d be amazed at how their flavors change when they’ve been roasted with the aforementioned garlic and olive oil (or butter).

Great recipes to try:

Watermelon radish tea sandwiches – These radishes are bright pink and green, and are fabulous when sliced thinly on bread. Try these tea sandwiches for a light summer meal, or make open-faced versions for bridal showers.

Mulor shaak (spicy sauteed radish greens) – Don’t toss those radish greens into the compost! They’re the tastiest part of the vegetable, and are divine when sauteed with oil and spices.

Quick pickled radishes – This one is ideal if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat your radishes before they go bad: just make a quick pickle of them and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Cinnamon sugar radish chips – Although this one sounds a bit weird, the result is startlingly good. The radishes retain their warming bite, which is complemented perfectly by the cinnamon sugar.

If you’ve come across some other veggies, herbs, or even fruits that have been new and fun to explore, feel free to share your recipes in the comments section below.

Images by Stacy Spensley, ted_major, romana klee, ilovemypit, mom2rays, Green Mountain Girls Farm, stetted, and Oregon State University via Flickr Creative Commons.