Ethnic Table For Variety Health and Eating Pleasure

Look for this multicultural array of foods in your supermarket aisles. Then enjoy these quick-to-fix dishes at home.

Grain Group Whole-wheat couscous (tiny, round pasta)

Kasha (buckwheat kernels)

Pozole (soup made with fermented corn kernels)

Wonton wrappers (thin wheat dough used to wrap spring rolls)

Vegetable Group Jicama

Collard greens Tomatillos

Shiitake mushrooms

Fruit Group Lychee



Plantain Mango

Cuisine* Moroccan

Serving/Preparation Ideas Nutrient Contribution

East European


Chinese, Vietnamese


African American/Southern Mexican


Chinese Chinese

Mexican, Central American

Puerto Rican, Central



Serve hot with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, or serve cold as a salad with raisins, mandarin oranges, and spices.

Serve as a hot side dish with chicken or beef. Mix with pasta shapes.

Serve warm with diced onion, shredded cabbage, and a lime wedge. Wrap thin strips of cooked lean barbecued pork or chicken, and shredded cabbage and carrots inside, then steam.

Slice in thin strips and dip into salsa or reduced-fat or fat-free ranch dressing. Use to replace water chestnuts in stir-fry dishes. Boil greens with chopped, smoked turkey, vinegar, and seasonings.

Dice, and boil with jalapeno peppers for salsa. Dice, and combine with onions for an omelette.

Add raw to salads and sandwiches, or toss in stir-fry dishes.

Serve on top of frozen yogurt.

Pack a few for snacking, or slice for fruit salad. Blend with pineapple for tropical juices, dice and add to salsas, or simmer in a chutney recipe. Cube, and add to stews and soups.

Slice for fruit salads, or simmer in a chutney recipe.

Starches, B vitamins, fiber

Starches, B vitamins, fiber

Starches, fiber

Starches, B vitamins


Beta carotene, fiber

Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, fiber


Vitamin C, potassium

Vitamin C, beta carotene, folate

Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium

Potassium, starches

Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium


Serving/Preparation Ideas

Nutrient Contribution

Meat and Beans Group


Mediterranean, Asian

Slice in rings, and broil. Serve with marinara sauce. Or cook in stir-fry dishes.


iron, B vitamins

Veal, lamb


Marinate in Italian vinaigrette, then grill.


iron, B vitamins

Hummus (mashed chick

Middle Eastern

Serve as a dip for raw veg-


B vitamins, fiber


etables or pita triangles.

Chorizo (sausage)


Slice in bite-size pieces, add


iron, B vitamins

to omelettes or stews.


Japanese, Chinese

Slice for stir-fry dishes, or



dice for salads or soups.

Black beans

Latin American

Use in place of red beans in chili or soup, mash for homemade refried beans, or mix with rice.


B vitamins, fiber

Milk Group

Plain yogurt

Middle Eastern

Top falafel sandwiches


calcium, riboflavin

(chickpea- and vegetable-stuffed pita). Blend with mint as a dip or dressing for cucumbers.

Goat milk

Middle Eastern, African (some areas)

Drink goat milk plain. Make a thick drink by mixing with juice. Use it in place of cow milk in baking.


calcium, riboflavin

Ricotta cheese


Use in lasagna, or stuffed jumbo pasta shells.


calcium, riboflavin

Queso blanco (white


Shred, and melt over enchi-


calcium, riboflavin


ladas and quesadillas.

  • These foods may be used in the dishes of many global cuisines.
  • To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, look for queso blanco made from pasteurized milk.

Refer to chapter 14 for common food-group foods in Italian, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines. Source: American Dietetic Association.

  • Bok choy (BAHK choy) (orpak choi) is a Chinese cabbage. It doesn't form a head, but instead has several white, bunched stems with thick green leaves. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and is used often in stir-fry dishes.
  • Breadfruit looks like a green, bumpy melon (brown when ripe) on the outside, and is creamy white on the inside. Like other starchy vegetables, it's peeled, then baked, boiled, fried, grilled, or cooked with stew and soup. Its flavor is somewhat sweet, yet mild. Some Caribbean dishes are made with breadfruit.
  • Broccoli raab, with 6- to 9-inch stalks and small broccolilike buds, is strong and bitter. Use it raw in salads, cooked as a side dish, or in mixed dishes.
  • Cactus pads (nopales, or noh-PAH-lays), which are cactus leaves, are used in a variety of Mexican and Southwest dishes. Their thorns are removed before cooking them. Then they're usually sliced, then simmered or cooked in a microwave oven. You also can buy canned nopales.
  • Cassava (kah-SAH-vah) (manioc, or MA-nee-ahk; yuca, or YOO-kah, root), a starchy root vegetable, has a thick, brown peel, but inside it's white or yellow like a potato. It's often cooked in dishes similar to the way potatoes are used.
  • Celeriac (seh-LER-ee-ak), a member of the celery family, is enjoyed for its root, not its stalks. It has a fibrous, brown, bumpy peel . . . and a sweet, celery flavor inside. Once peeled, enjoy it raw, perhaps in salads, or cooked—boiled, steamed, or fried. Use it in soups or stews, perhaps in place of celery.
  • Chard, actually a white-rooted beet, is grown for its leaves, and creamy-white or red stalks. With its mild yet distinctive flavor, it's used much like spinach.
  • Chayote (cheye-OH-tay) is a pale-green, pear-shaped vegetable with a mild flavor. Baked, boiled, braised, or stuffed, it complements the flavors of other ingredients in mixed dishes. Use it like squash.
  • Chicory (curly endive) has a frizzy green leaf in a loose head of greens. Its bitter flavor adds a nice touch to salads—in small amounts.
  • Daikon (DEYE-kuhn) is a Japanese radish that looks like a smooth, white parsnip. It has a stronger, more bitter flavor than a red radish. Often it's used to make sushi (fish rolled with rice in seaweed) and in vegetable carvings.
  • Dasheen (dah-SHEEN) is a large, round root vegetable with a coarse, brown peel that's similar to taro. Usually prepared either boiled or baked, dasheen is starchy, somewhat like a potato.
  • Escarole (EHS-kah-role) is a somewhat bitter salad green. Sometimes its green leaves have a reddish tinge. Unlike iceberg lettuce, it forms a loose head.
  • Fennel looks like a squat bunch of celery with feathery leaves. Its flavor is distinctive, like a sweet, delicate anise. The bulb and stalks are often braised, steamed, sauteed, or used in soups. The feathery leaves may be used in salads, as an herb, or as a garnish.
  • Jerusalem artichoke—native to North America— has nothing in common with a globe artichoke, except for its name. Like a potato, it's a tuber, grown under the ground. But it is knobby and irregularly shaped, with a sweet flavor and a light-brown or purplish-red peel. It's often cooked in its peel; a little lemon juice in the cooking water keeps peeled Jerusalem artichokes from browning. Use them in dishes that call for potatoes, or eat them raw.
  • Jicama (HEE-kah-mah), another root vegetable, is crisp and slightly sweet. It's often peeled, sliced, and eaten raw, perhaps in salads. Or it's cooked in stews and stir-fried dishes.
  • Kale, a leafy vegetable in the cabbage family, doesn't form a head. It has a curly, purple-tinged, green leaf. Use it in salads and in ways that you would cook spinach.
  • Kelp is brown seaweed, often used in Japanese cooking and wrapped around sushi.
  • Kohlrabi (KOLE-rah-bee), a member of the cabbage family, looks and tastes somewhat like a turnip. It's light green in color. It can be used in recipes that call for turnips, or sliced and used in stir-fry dishes, or peeled and eaten raw or in salads.
  • Leeks are onions and look like a bigger, sturdier, flat-leaved version of green onions. Both the bulbs and the leaves are eaten. Bulbs usually are sliced and steamed in soups or baked in casseroles. The leaves are often used in salads. They need to be cleaned well to remove soil that gets between the leaves.
  • Lotus root, which is the root of the water lily, often is peeled, sliced, then cooked—stir-fried, steamed, or braised, with mixed Chinese dishes. It has the texture of a potato and a flavor more similar to fresh coconut.
  • Plantain actually belongs to the banana family, but it's longer and thicker, starchier, and less sweet. For that reason it's eaten as a vegetable—always cooked. It can be eaten at any of its three stages: green, yellow, or black, but it's sweetest when it's black. Plantains are cooked in or out of the peel. They may be baked, boiled, or fried, and often are mixed in stews.
  • Radicchio (rah-DEE-chee-oh) is a small, purplish head of leaves with white ribs. It's somewhat bitter, and adds a nice touch to salads, pasta, and stir-fry dishes.
  • Rutabaga (ROO-tuh-bay-guh) is a root vegetable, with a turniplike flavor and appearance. Use it in recipes that call for turnips—stews, soups, and casseroles.
  • Salsify, a white root vegetable tasting like delicate oysters, usually is eaten as a plain vegetable or perhaps in soups.
  • Seaphire is a halophyte, or saltwater crop. With an asparagus-grass look, seaphire is crisp, crunchy, and salty. Since it's high in sodium, enjoy it in small amounts as a flavoring in salads, stir-fries, and vegetable dishes, especially if you're sodium-sensitive. Three ounces have 1,350 milligrams of sodium.
  • Seaweed, used most often in Asian dishes and some Irish, Welsh, and Scottish dishes, includes many types.

Kelp may be the most commonly used in the United States. Many Japanese dishes use nori (NOH-ree).

  • Squash includes many varieties for cooked dishes: acorn, buttermilk, crockneck, delicata, golden nugget, hubbard, kabocha, mini pumpkin, spaghetti (as an alternative to pasta), sunburst, and turban.
  • Taro (TAIR-oh) is a rough, brown or purplish tuber vegetable that looks much like a yam, although some varieties look different. It has edible leaves, which are called callaloo in the Caribbean. Taro is peeled and usually boiled, baked, or fried, much like potatoes. Hawaiian poi is made from taro.
  • Tomatillo (tohm-ah-TEE-oh), a member of the tomato family, has a paperlike husk. Under the husk it looks like a small green tomato. It's often used in food like a green tomato, although the flavor is more citruslike. It is often used in Southwest and Mexican dishes, including salsa and salads.
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