It can be easy to go on autopilot in the produce section of the supermarket. Apples? Check. Garlic and kale? Check and check. But there’s a whole world of lonely, underrated produce just waiting for you to take it home to be roasted, pureed, baked or, in some cases, made into boozy popsicles. So, where to start? Load up your cute grocery tote with these 18 under-the-radar fruits and veggies and say buh-bye to boring old bananas.
1. Endive: Crunchy and naturally scoop-shaped, endive leaves are perfect to serve with dips or as a base for spreads. They also work perfectly as the shell in these Low-Carb Lentil Tacos — simply top with all the fixin’s you can fathom for ultimate flavor goodness. (via Brit + Co)
2. Pluot: A cross between apricots and plums, these jewel-toned fruits (they also come in orange and yellow hues) are sturdier than plums, but not quite as intense as an apricot. Bake them in a pie, tart or Pluot-Ginger Crostata like this beauty. (via Honestly YUM)
3. Kiwi: Here, old favorites strawberry, mango and watermelon join forces with the forgotten fuzzy green fruit to make Striped Whole Fruit Popsicles. These delicious pops prove you don’t need to be from New Zealand to be a kiwi lovah. BTW, here’s a quick tutorial on peeling and eating kiwis. We love this cute little fruit because they’re packed with vitamin C and are perfect for on-the-go snacking. (via The View from Great Island)
4. Passion Fruit: These bizarre-looking fruits are a creamy, sweet-tart tropical gem that lend themselves to spreads, jams and homemade curd. With these, you can make toast, ice cream, pancakes or biscuits even better. (via Drizzle + Dip)
5. Papaya: Ever wonder what you could possibly do with those giant papayas hanging out near the bananas in the produce section? Puree them up and make a pitcher of refreshing Papaya Lime Agua Fresca. The citrus takes the edge off papaya’s extra-sweet (almost watermelon-y) flavor. (via The View from Great Island)
7. Lychee: Peeled lychees have the distinct honor of a — how do we put this — eyeball-esque texture. Weird mouthfeel aside though, they’re like a super-concentrated, slightly tropical-tasting grape, making them perfect for these Lychee Saketini Poptail. (via Endless Simmer)
11. Guava: If you can’t find this Caribbean staple in stores (make sure to check Latin markets), you can easily find it in paste form. Once you do, you’ll be that much closer to these divine Pastelitos de Guava. (via Ethnic Spoon)
12. Daikon: This spicy radish doesn’t look like much: essentially a big white tube. But it’s packed with flavor and is ripe for spiralizing, like in this No-Noodle Pad Thai, which features daikon, carrot and zucchini noodles. (via Cookie + Kate)
13. Turnip: Whether you’re making soup, roasting, baking or pickling them — or are simply making a clever Lil Jon joke à la Michelle Obama — these pretty root veggies should get in your crisper drawer ASAP. (via Tales of a Kitchen)
14. Starfruit: So much more than a pretty shape, starfruit are full of sweet and tangy deliciousness. Forgo the pineapple and use this antioxidant-rich, Southeast-Asia native in an Upside-Down Cake. (via Love and Duck Fat)
16. Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke: This root of the sunflower plant is neither from Jerusalem, nor is it an artichoke. Better yet, use it as a sweeter substitute for potatoes, like in this Roasted Sunchoke and Caramelized Onion Soup. (via A House in the Hills)
17. Persimmon: Fresh persimmons bruise easily and you’ll only have a brief window to use them; slice and freeze a few to make this way-better-than-Orange-Julius Persimmon and Tangerine Smoothie with Vanilla, Ginger and Turmeric. Their tomato-like texture means they work well in savory recipes too. (via The Bojon Gourmet)
Which new produce are you most pumped to try? Tell us in the comments below!