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Purple Vegetables for your garden are a must have, not only are they beautiful, but they are super healthy too! Today we will go over 20+ different purple vegetables for your garden and share varieties of each that you should consider growing.
When it comes to putting a garden together that is both beautiful and able to provide for your family, you may want to consider working more color variety into your garden. Many new gardeners are shocked to find out how many different varieties of food are available to them that they would not be able to find in the local grocery store. Growing veggie starts from seed is another way to try more unusual varieties as you will find so many more varieties available when looking at seed.
The good news is that you can add a lot of variety to your diet by trying out new options in the garden. One great way to do this is to grow purple vegetables that are packed with healthy antioxidants. Or, let your kids have their own fun purple vegetable garden! For more ideas for kids and gardening, see my article Vegetable Gardening with Kids.
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The health benefits of purple vegetables
Deep purple vegetables are packed with antioxidants that can help to improve your health, slow down aging, and even prevent cancer. To be truly healthy we should spend time eating food from the whole spectrum of the rainbow, but many people do not realize just how many options for purple plants are out there.
When choosing what to grow in your garden you should consider giving some of these purple vegetable varieties a chance for both the health benefits and simply to help add more variety to your diet.
Anthocyanins in purple vegetables have been proven to help with everything from inflammatory pain to heart disease and to even help with age-related memory loss and cognitive decline. This makes purple vegetables a great superfood option for both adding a pop of color to your garden and your table while helping to improve your overall health.
Purple vegetables for your garden
While you can probably think of a few purple vegetables, there are so many more options Be sure to consider growing some fun blue, purple and even black veggies! Here are some of the best blue, black and purple vegetables to grow in your garden.
1. Purple Artichoke: Artichokes are an amazing food to grow, not only for their amazing flavor, or their gorgeous flowers, but they are a perennial food in many areas that you can plant once and they keep on giving. Two purple varieties to try are the Purple Globe Artichoke or the Violetto Purple Artichoke.
2. Purple Asparagus: If you love asparagus you can add purple asparagus to your asparagus bed for a wonderful and simple way to get more purple vegetables into your diet. This easy-to-grow perennial will keep producing year after year. This is a great way to add a pop of color with all of the antioxidant benefits in this compact high protein vegetable.
Purple Passion is the most popular purple asparagus variety.
3. Purple String Beans: Beans come in several purple varieties and are packed with antioxidants. While many people do not think to grow purple string beans in their garden because they are not something that you would find at the typical grocery store, these beans make a great addition to your home garden where you can preserve them through canning or freezing for the winter.
I personally prefer to grow either purple bush beans or yellow ones instead of green, because I find they are much easier to spot when harvesting compared to the green which are camouflaged amongst the green leaves and stems. Some fun purple bean varieties to try are Dragon Tongue Bean or Royal Burgundy, but there are many others.
4. Purple Bell Peppers: Bell peppers make a great addition to your garden and purple ones are especially striking. These papers taste like traditional red and green bell peppers but have a stunning purple color that stands out in salads and dishes making it a fun option for growing if you enjoy bell peppers and would like to add a pop of color and variety to your meals.
Try Purple Beauty for an almost black bell pepper and Oda purple pepper is one that has a beautiful jewel toned purple color. Both of these varieties I’ve grown and they have both done very well for me. See more info on planting peppers from seed in my Seed Starting 101: Planting Pepper Seed article.
5. Purple Bok Choy: This purple leafy vegetables may just be one of the most stunning vegetables I have ever grown. A deep dark violet leaf with a stunning lime green stem, and they taste great too! This one is on my must grow list every year. Bok Choy is a cool season plant, so it does best in early spring or late fall, it will bolt quickly when the temps warm. This variety is the Purple Lady Bok Choy and my photo's don't do it full justice, be sure to look it up online!
6. Purple Broccoli: This is another purple veggie the kids are sure to love. The most common purple broccoli is the Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
7. Purple Brussels Sprouts: Yes, even brussel sprouts come in a purple variety that many people do not know about. This can be a great way to get picky eaters to give them a try because they might not recognize them right away. These little vegetables are great roasted and can make a wonderful addition to the holiday dinner table as well
Like some other vegetables, red brussel sprouts actually appear more purple. Red Rubine Brussel Sprouts are one purple variety, but there are several purple brussel sprout varieties you can try.
8. Red (purple) Cabbage: Purple cabbage is actually red cabbage with a striking purple color that is packed with antioxidants. You can ferment purple cabbage to add in more benefits or simply work this great vegetable into your salads and fresh dishes. Try growing purple cabbage in your garden and enjoy the bright beautiful and vibrant leaves that will add a wonderful pop of color to your garden beds.
Red Express is a popular red cabbage variety but there are several purple cabbage varieties worth trying.
9. Purple and Black Carrots: We all know that carrots are good for you but there are even purple and black varieties of carrots that are packed with even more nutrients that can help keep your family healthy. Purple carrots make a fun addition to salads and are a great candidate to make roasted and kids are sure to love them.
My favorite colorful varieties of carrot are the Black Nebula carrot and the Purple Dragon carrot but there are quite a few out there to choose from.
10. Purple Cauliflower: This classic vegetable takes on a bright purple hue due to the high amount of anthocyanin where regular varieties have a light off-white flesh. This vegetable gives you all of the benefits of purple vegetables while working for all of your favorite uses for cauliflower. This is a great option for those that use this vegetable for a low carb substitution.
Kids may find regular white cauliflower boring, but when it’s purple, it makes it a little more interesting and fun. Purple of Sicily is a must have purple cauliflower I grow every year and there are several other purple cauliflower varieties as well.
11. Purple Eggplant: Eggplant may not be the most exciting vegetable but eggplant is still well worth growing. Eggplant is great for using as a meat substitute allowing you to diversify your diet and to save money on food by reducing your meat intake.
Try adding eggplant to your garden beds. They can companion plants with most of your garden including peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and even potatoes. Most eggplants are purple, so there are sure to be a bunch to choose from!
12. Blue or Purple Kale: While kale may not be a favorite vegetable, the purple variety can be a bit more fun to see in your food and a great way to get kids to be more willing to try this healthy vegetable. Like cabbage, red kale looks more purple than it does red.
Try Dazzling Blue kale or Scarlet or Russian Red kale, or better yet, grow a few of each color for a nice coloration in your garden and on your plate!
13. Purple Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi is a unique vegetable that not many people are familiar with. It is in the brassica family which also includes broccoli, kale and cabbage as well as other veggies. It is used raw diced small in salads, or chop it up and roast it with other veggies or ferment it!
A common purple kohlrabi is the Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi.
14. Purple Onions: Similar to cabbage and kale, red onions are actually a bright purple color. This easy-to-grow vegetable can grow alongside your regular onions. It has a stronger fragrance and flavor. Red onions tend to last longer in storage making them a wonderful option if you are looking to grow food that can help feed your family over the winter when all of those great antioxidants can help keep you healthy. See my article on How to Choose Onions that Store Well all Winter Long.
Some of my favorite red onion varieties are Rossa di Milano and Red Bull but there are loads of varieties of red onion to try.
15. Purple Peas: Let us now forget to discuss purple peas! These are truly one of the most stunning purple vegetables I think. King Tut peas are a purple shelling pea with a purple pod full of green peas inside. Then there is the Sugar Magnolia Purple Tendril pea that is a beautiful purple snap pea that also looks amazing in a salad!
See my article Seed Starting 101: Planting Peas for tips on growing peas successfully!
16. Blue and Purple Potatoes: When it comes to great options for helping to feed your family over the winter you cannot go wrong with blue and purple potatoes. Adding a purple variety of potatoes and or sweet potatoes is a great way to help get the amazing benefits of purple vegetables into your diet even long into the winter.
And kids love a pile of purple mashed potatoes on their plate! Some of my favorite blue and purple potato varieties are the All Blue potato or the Purple Majesty potato. See how I grow large amounts of Potatoes in Pots & Containers.
17. Purple Rutabagas: I tend to think of rutabagas as an old fashioned vegetable that your grandparents might have grown. But in fact, these are super easy to grow, and are great roasted or mashed and delicious too. Check out my recipe for Mashed Root Vegetables with Butternut Squash for one way to use them!
If you are wanting to try and grow them, there is the popular All American Purple Top Rutabaga or the Laurentian variety to try.
18. Purple Tomatillos: Most people are familiar with the green (verde) tomatillos, but they also come in purple, which would make a fun salsa or addition to your salad or other dishes as the flesh of these is mostly purple throughout. The purple color will be more intense and consistant throughout with the more sunshine the plants get. The most popular variety is simply the Purple Tomatillo variety.
19. Purple, Blue and Black Tomatoes: There are quite a few varieties of tomatoes that are purple, blue and black. Cherokee purple tomatoes are one of the most common ones, but I don’t consider these to be a true purple or black tomato. Black Brandywine is another darker tomato that is getting close to a purple color. Check out the Black Beauty or Blue Beauty for large size black and purplish tomatoes. For medium size saladette type tomatoes, try Indigo Rose or Brad’s Atomic Grape. For cherry size tomatoes, there are the Blue Berries or the Indigo Cherry varieties. See black tomato varieties, blue tomato varieties and purple tomato varieties.
Tomatoes a great option for growing in your garden to add to fresh salads, salsa, and other dishes. Kids love cherry tomatoes, and we call them nature’s candy here on our homestead and we try to grow one of every color and/or shape that we can find, round, grape, pear and even sweetheart shapes! The combination of lycopene and anthocyanins in purple tomato varieties is great for you and your family’s overall health.
There are so many unique tomato varieties out there, my list above is short. Be sure to try some new varieties every year as you are sure to find new favorites and they are fun to show to your friends and family! See more of my favorite tomato varieties to grow in my Seed Starting 101: Planting Tomato Seed Indoors.
My favorite source for unique tomato varieties is Wild Boar Farm or Baker Creek Seeds. See all my tips for Growing Tomatoes like a pro!
20. Purple Turnips: This is another veggie you might think only your grandparents are familiar with, but you should try to grow these at least once as well because they are fairly easy to grow and will keep a long time. Similar to rutabagas (in fact they are quite hard to tell apart, turnips are white inside, rutabagas tend to be a more pale yellow cream color. They can also be used in the Root Veggie Mash with Butternut Squash recipe I posted above and can also be used roasted or mashed.
Purple Top White Globe is one of the more popular varieties of turnip.
Ways to Eat Purple Vegetables
Now that you are interested in possibly growing more purple vegetables, you might be wondering how to eat these superfoods? Well there are lots of ways to do that! You can add them into all kinds of things from omelets to soups and stews of course, but if you are looking for a main veggie side to use them in, here are a couple of ideas:
- Salads: purple leafy vegetables such as kale or cabbage can help make up the body of the salad, but then you can add all sorts of purple vegetables to a salad including purple bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, pea pods, raw string beans pieces, kohlrabi, steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets or asparagus pieces, and then top it all with some diced purple onions.
- Stir Fry: Just about everything in the list of purple vegetables above can be added into a stir fry, but my favorites would be the purple onion and bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, asparagus, string beans, cabbage. All of these purple veggies would be fantastic in a stir fry!
- Roasted Vegetables: Again almost all of the vegetables in the list above could be great roasted, but my favorite go to purple veggies of choice would be the purple onions, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots and brussel sprouts.
- Mashed Veggies: Let us not forget a good old side of purple mashed potatoes! But consider mixing things up with this. One of my favorite mashed veggie sides is my Root Veggie Mash with Butternut Squash, and you could definitely add purple veggies into this mix! Carrots, onions, turnips and rutabagas would be my choices for this. Of course I can't say what color this may turn out if you add a bunch of purple veggies in with butternut squash, but it might be a great experiment to do with your kids! I'm sure it would still taste fantastic!
Now that you have seen the long list of purple vegetables for your garden, I hope that you will be inspired to grow more of them and provide those health benefits to your whole family.
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