By combining USDA cost data (per edible cup) with Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) ratings, we’ve found that these fresh picks offer the most nutrients for the best value.
A cruciferous vegetable related to bok choy and brussels sprouts, cabbage comes in many shapes and hues. All are rich in cancer-fighting compounds.
ANDI/affordability score = 1781
Healthy cabbage recipes
Two-cabbage coleslaw with lemon-cilantro vinaigrette
Braised red cabbage
Spicy cabbage wontons
Red cabbage and caramelized fennel
White bean and cabbage soup
Nutrient-packed collard greens are related to kale and cabbage but have a milder taste. Look for crisp, dark green leaves, without yellowing or insect damage.
ANDI/affordability score = 1754
Healthy collard green recipes
Steamed halbut with collard greens.
Braised collard greens with rainbow roots
Like its cruciferous cousins, kale provides significant fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.
ANDI/affordability score = 1667
Healthy kale recipes
Nori-wrapped glazed salmon with sesame kale
Eggplant ratatouille with kale and beans
Tuscan kale soup with buckwheat
Chopped kale salad with spiced almonds and red peppers
Spinach comes in three basic varieties: curly, smooth, and baby leaf. All should be dark green, crisp, and fresh smelling. Wash with extra care; spinach tends to harbor grit. Refrigerate in an airtight container, but use as quickly as possible.
ANDI/affordability score = 1421
Healthy spinach recipes
Souffleed spinach omelette
Warm baby spinach salad with goat cheese
Fresh spinach salad with creamy horseradish dressing
Middle eastern spinach-yogurt soup with chickpeas
Spinach salad with carambola
Beautiful, crisp, and peppery, radishes are often unfairly relegated to mere garnish status, but their zippy flavor can enhance numerous dishes. Radishes are great raw, but like other root vegetables are also delicious when roasted, becoming creamy and sweet.
ANDI/affordability score = 1351
Healthy radish recipes
Black eyed pea, corn, and radish salad
Tamari-glazed cod with cucumber radish salad
Vegetarian hero sandwiches
Filled with vitamin A and C, carrots lend a sweet flavor to broths and stocks. They also add terrific taste to juices and smoothies.
ANDI/affordability score = 1344
Healthy carrot recipes
Carrot, lemon, and wheatgrass juice
Steamed carrots in orange juice with walnuts
This soul-food favorite sports vivid green and frilly leaves (some varieties even boast shades of red or purple). Leaves should be crisp, with fairly thin stems and no yellowing. Mustard greens keep well for several days when refrigerated in plastic.
ANDI/affordability score = 1235
Healthy mustard greens recipes
Garlicky mustard green recipe with garbanzos
Chicken soup with mustard greens
Field green salad with mustard and shallot vinaigrette
Don't throw away those beet greens! They are delectable, especially those of the golden beets. Though appearing thick and leathery, they cook to tenderness within minutes. Steam and serve with cooked beets, or chop and use them in a soup. They are interchangeable with chard, or may be combined with chard.
ANDI/affordability score = 1124
Healthy turnip green recipe
Chock-full of fiber, iron and vitamin A, dark romaine lettuce lettuce also contains powerful, cancer-fighting antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamins C and E.
ANDI/affordability score = 973
Healthy romaine lettuce recipes
Backbone house salad
Mexican chopped salad with avocado dressing
Lentil salad Provencal
Cauliflower’s curdlike head should be firm, compact, and milky white, thanks to ribbed leaves that cover it while growing. Trim any brown spots. Keeps at least a week when refrigerated in a plastic bag.
ANDI/affordability score = 952
Healthy cauliflower recipes
Penne with baby cauliflower, olives, and capers
Creamy cauliflower soup with almonds
Cheddar mac and cheese with cauliflower
Baba ghanoush and cauliflower salad wrap
These 10 fresh vegetables are the most nutritious and affordable in the produce aisle.
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