Boutique Vegetables: What’s New For Spring

Boutique Vegetables: What’s New For Spring

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Fashion is ruled by taste, but tastebuds aren’t governed by fashion, per se; yet, fads in food – particularly vegetables abound. Here’s what’s new for spring! Unique, quaint, astounding, or exceptionally delicious vegetables are sometimes called boutique vegetables. They tend to go in and out of style like edamame and raddichio were once unknown or rare, are now typical restaurant fare and on every grocery store’s shelves. So Dish Up!

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Boutique Vegetables: What’s New For Spring

Some of these boutique vegetables with a new buzz about them – not just coming from bees – won’t become the next raddichio, but some of them just might. A vegetable can only dream! Either way, this unique collection of new or newly remembered herbs and veggies are fun to grow and serve to guests and family.

Shape, color, unique flavor, and ease in growing or cooking are just some of the intriguing reasons to try out these new or unique vegetables – not to mention antioxidants and vitamins, which is the reason to eat vegetables in the first place. (Don’t forget to grow organically to keep the planet green!)

These choices provide cooks with a delightful change from the same foods day in and day out. They might not become the next restaurant sensation or in a culinary niche like edamame, but these will intrigue garden visitors as well as dinners at the table, and – of course – they look good on the plate.

New to the Garden Row and Fashionable Favorites

Besides nutritious, these boutique vegetables have fad appeal and are delicious served and enjoyed.

Red Noodle Beans

Sixteen to twenty inches long, these dark, red beans are attractive to grow and serve. They look like red pasta on the plate and are a lovely display trellised in the garden.

Green Zebra Tomatoes and Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Green Zebras are striped white and green and are entirely original looking as far as tomatoes go, but we didn’t just choose them for their looks. Green tomatoes aren’t often sweet and ripe tasting, but these are. Yellow pear’s look just like their name – like ripe, juicy, yellow pears, only they taste like tomatoes. Together in a bowl with regular, red tomatoes, they make for a stunning table arrangement all their own.

Zephyr Summer Squash

This yellow squash is the shape of zucchini but appears as though the lower third has been dipped in green with a perfect green line all the way around. The taste is like zucchini, too; it’s just a little more exciting and, well, pretty.

Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas

Grown for their red – rather than white – pea blossoms, parts of the pea vine and blossoms are snipped early for garnishes and eye-catching, sweet additions to salad mixes.

Deep Purple Scallions

Blood red-purple onion ends of the scallion are an attractive contrast to the otherwise regular looking green onion stem. They give old dishes a new appeal in the kitchen, too.


Flowering kale has new popularity partly because it’s being cultivated, now, almost like roses. Ornamental kales look great as garnishes and in couture floral arrangements and late fall flower displays in the garden.

Herb Growing Has New Appeal

Herbs in themselves have always been a part of most gardeners’ checklists at seed planting time, but cooking with fresh herbs has enjoyed a new appeal – a resurgence actually – and so growing them has too. While these aren’t technically boutique vegetables, they fall under the same umbrella. These are even a bit more trendy to grow and cook with than the (refound) trend of fresh herbs.

Boutique Vegetables: What's New For Spring farm market stand


Homemade horseradish made from homegrown has become faddish in popularity with a great return on time and interest investments. Quaint, little jars of homemade horseradish, and the long, bizarre roots of garden dug horseradish intrigue, everyone, from children to grandmothers, plus it’s not difficult to grow or to make. Very tasty on hot zucchini fritters, the horseradish herb adds zest to everyday cooking.

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Delicious lemongrass chicken has always been a reason to go out to dinner, but now lemongrass can be grown in the garden for dishes and marinades at home. Particularly good in Asian dishes, this herb is also good in teas.


The flavor of this new herb is an aromatic blend of sweet marjoram, thyme, and oregano. Its name is much like the Middle Eastern spice blend Za’atar, but the two are very different in taste and aroma. Za’atar contains a juniper-like berry from a bush that only grows in the Middle East and is more like rosemary in the aroma.


The herb stevia is grown as an alternative to sugar and has been around for quite a while. Increasing slowly in popularity, it is still of interest, especially to cooks who don’t like over-using sugar and to herb gardeners who want to taste a little of everything good. Growing and harvesting plants just to season and spice – adding flavor to cooking in the garden fresh ways.

Not Every New Plant Becomes a Star

Indeed, tastebuds aren’t ruled by fashion, but the buzz of what’s new to try often is, and these make the cut when given a try; so, create a little room in the garden plot full of trusted favorites to enlighten and update. Add to the growing experience and enrich the home culinary experience – somewhat – with the latest garden-to-table eccentricities.

It is safe to say, with fresh, unique produce from the list above of boutique vegetables, trying something new never tasted so good, and since these are vegetables, was never so nutritious – not since raddichio, anyway.

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