15 Purple Vegetables (& How to Eat Them)
Purple vegetables are incredibly healthy! They are packed full of antioxidants. This article includes 15 easy-to-find purple veggies that you can add to your diet with information on how to prepare and eat them.
Benefits of Purple Vegetables
Eating the rainbow is more fun with purple veggies. Purple vegetables are a great source of antioxidants – specifically anthocyanins, the antioxidant that contributes to their violet hue. Purple veggies add color to your diet and help vary your nutrient intake.
There is no conclusive recommendation for how many purple veggies you should eat. The USDA recommends that most adults aim for at least 1-3 cups of vegetables per day, though you may want to eat more depending upon specific health concerns.
Vegetables in general contain fiber, micronutrients, and complex carbohydrates that support your health. Purple vegetables, in particular, should be a regular part of your diet due to their antioxidant content.
Purple veggies are high in anthocyanin (pronounced antho-SI-a-nin), which is an antioxidant that adds rich color to foods like blueberries, purple cabbage, and red bell peppers.
Antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, pack a real punch when it comes to health:
- They’re heart-healthy. Anthocyanins can act as a natural “antiplatelet” compound, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in those with metabolic disorder.
- They can prevent disease. Anthocyanins are free-radical scavengers, meaning they reduce oxidative stress in the body and lower your chances of diseases. They’re especially helpful for eye and brain health.
- They’re anti-inflammatory. Inflammation has links to many chronic health conditions, so focusing on reducing inflammation is a great way to stay healthy. Anthocyanins have been found to reduce inflammation markers, such as cytokines.
15 Purple Vegetables & How to Eat Them
Also called aubergine, eggplant is slightly bitter with a spongy texture.
- Use it as a side dish or in Mediterranean dishes. It’s best to “sweat” your eggplant by salting it before cooking. It should be cooked before consuming.
- Try this delicious Vegan Eggplant Cannelloni.
- Eggplant is in season from July to October, though you can find it year-round.
- It’s rich in fiber, potassium, anthocyanins, and Vitamin C.
2. Purple Potato
Purple potatoes are a nuttier, earthier neighbor to white potatoes.
- Use in place of white potatoes as a side dish. Roasting with olive oil, salt, and pepper is a great way to prepare this veggie. You can also make Instant Pot Boiled Potatoes.
- Purple potatoes are in season year-round but especially the fall.
- They are a great source of complex carbohydrates, Vitamin C, and anthocyanins.
3. Purple Cabbage
Purple cabbage is a mild-tasting member of the cruciferous vegetable family.
- Purple cabbage is excellent sautéed in dishes like stir fries or eaten raw in slaws or salads. Try this micro-chopped salad recipe.
- Purple cabbage is in season from October to December.
- This purple veggie is a great source of Vitamin C, anthocyanins, and Vitamin K.
4. Purple Cauliflower
Purple cauliflower adds a pop of color and slight sweetness to any dish.
- This cruciferous veggie is delicious roasted with olive oil and sea salt as a side dish. Try my recipe for Instant Pot Cauliflower.
- Purple cauliflower is in season in the fall, though in some areas it’s available year-round.
- One serving offers 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs, alongside anthocyanins and Vitamin K.
5. Purple Asparagus
Purple asparagus is a slightly sweeter version of your average asparagus, with a dose of antioxidants.
- Purple asparagus turns green when cooked, so eat it raw if you want purple on your plate. It’s great shaved in salads.
- You can find the most flavorful and nutrient dense purple asparagus in the spring.
- Purple asparagus provides you with fiber and anthocyanins.
6. Purple Carrots
Purple carrots are generally easy to find. They are lower in sugar than their orange counterparts, with an earthier flavor.
- Roast up some purple carrots alongside orange and white carrots as part of a seasonal side dish. They can be eaten raw to maintain even more nutrients.
- My Instant Pot Carrots recipe is one of the easiest recipes you’ll find!
- Purple carrots are in season in the spring and fall.
- These carrots offer antioxidants like beta carotene and anthocyanins.
7. Purple Corn
This special type of corn has all the sweetness as its yellow counterpart with a ton of antioxidants. While some people consider corn to be a grain, it also has some vegetable-like properties.
- Purple corn is traditionally consumed as chicha morada, a Peruvian drink made of an entire ear of corn. It’s rarely consumed other than as an additive to desserts.
- Purple corn can only be found in Peru, but purple corn powder is available year-round in specialty grocery stores for use in smoothies or desserts.
- Purple corn is a great source of the antioxidant anthocyanin and natural sugars.
8. Purple Pepper
Like other types of peppers, purple peppers get their hue from being harvested at a specific time.
- Purple peppers are great used like other peppers, in everything from stir fries, salads, and Latin dishes.
- Grow your own purple peppers from July through December, and be sure to harvest them within 65-70 days of planting.
- Purple peppers, like other purple vegetables, offer anthocyanins. They’re also a great source of Vitamin C.
9. Purple Kohlrabi
Purple kohlrabi is a root vegetable with a slight sweetness.
- The purple kohlrabi bulb is best eaten raw in a salad or lightly steamed. The greens can also be consumed in any way you prefer.
- This veggie is in season from fall to spring.
- Purple kohlrabi is an excellent way to get some anthocyanins, Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
10. Purple Artichokes
Purple artichokes are similar to green artichokes, with a slightly nuttier flavor.
- Purple artichokes can be prepared in many ways! Roasting or braising in white wine brings out their natural sweetness.
- I also love how easy it is to make Instant Pot Artichokes.
- March through May is the perfect time to find artichokes.
- Purple artichokes offer anthocyanins, folate, and Vitamins C and K.
11. Purple Okra
Purple okra is a variety of okra that tastes the same, but is said to have slightly less mucilage, which may make it more palatable for some.
- Use it in a gumbo, pickle it, or roast it lightly with onion powder and salt.
- Okra can be found summer through early fall.
- Purple okra is especially high in folate, magnesium, fiber, and anthocyanins.
12. Purple Basil
Purple basil has a slightly spiciness to it, contrary to its green counterpart.
- Purple basil is best raw in salads or atop dishes like pizza or pasta.
- This basil grows best in warm weather.
- Purple basil is packed with Vitamin K and anthocyanins.
13. Purple Kale
Purple kale has ruffled leaves and a slight cabbage flavor. It’s a member of the cruciferous veggie family and is an excellent choice to get more “greens” in.
- Purple kale can be consumed raw or cooked a variety of ways. Try it in a salad, or sautéed as a side dish. You can even lightly bake with spices and nutritional yeast until crispy for a light snack. Try my Air Fryer Kale Chip recipe.
- Purple kale can be found year-round, but especially in winter.
- This veggie is a rich source of Vitamins A and K, alongside anthocyanins.
14. Purple Radish
This root vegetable ranges in flavor from mild to spicy, depending on when it is grown and harvested.
- Purple radish can be consumed raw in salads and sandwiches, or added to dishes like soups or curries. Roasting will temper some of the spicy flavor.
- Purple radish is available year-round, but especially in the winter and spring.
- This veggie offers anthocyanins, potassium, and Vitamins A and C.
15. Purple Yam
Also called ube, purple yam is a dense, sweet root vegetable.
- Purple yam is very versatile. Its sweetness lends well to roasting, baking (top with almond butter for a treat!), or even added to desserts (ube ice cream is popular in the Phillippines).
- Purple yam can be found year-round.
- This root veggie is full of anthocyanins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.
Purple vegetables are a worthy addition to your diet. They’re rich sources of antioxidants, especially anti-inflammatory anthocyanins. Try adding at least one of these purple veggies to your shopping cart the next time you’re at the grocery store.