Rich in proteins and great in taste, you can use these Best African Vegetables in delicious recipes for Afro-fusion cooking!
When it comes to vegetables, Africa has a variety of options on offer. Many of them are super rich in protein, vitamins, and other nutrients with a mouth-watering taste. Sounds like a perfect combo? Check out the Best African Vegetables that are rare and uncommon.
Types of Best African Vegetables
1. African Black Nightshade
Botanical Name: Solanum scabrum
Also popular by the name ‘Garden huckleberry,’ both its leaves and shoots are edible. You can boil, stir-fry, or blanch it with other vegetables or add in soups. Berries have a bitter taste and not eatable.
You can easily propagate it by seeds in pots or directly in the garden.
2. Stinging Nettle
Botanical Name: Urtica dioica
It is native to Northern Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The young leaves can be a replacement to spinach. The roots taste best with turnips and parsnip. Use it in the preparation of puddings, soup, pesto, and beer.
Grow them four to six weeks prior to the last frost date in your region.
Botanical Name: Amaranthus spp
Amaranth is a famous leafy vegetable in many parts of Kenya. It is famous as a protein-rich grain, or as a leafy vegetable. Cook the leaves individually or combine them with other vegetables. The seeds can be used as a cereal-grain, popcorn, sprouts, or as a flour.
It can do well in both partial and full sun.
4. African Cabbage
Botanical Name: Cleome gyandra
African cabbage is also known as Shona cabbage and cat’s whiskers. The leaves, seeds, and roots are edible. Its leaves have a bitter taste, which is neutralized by cooking, soaking, or fermentation. It tastes great in soups, stews, pickles, and sauces as a flavoring agent. The pungent seeds can be an alternative to mustard seeds.
Take care of watering as lack of it can result in stunted plant and cracked heads.
Botanical Name: Vigna unguiculata
Cowpea is an important crop in Africa and Asia. It is mainly cultivated for the protein-rich seeds. However, immature seed pods and leaves are also edible. Use the seeds in soups, curries, and stews or ground into paste or flour.
You can grow them like other beans.
6. African Eggplant
Botanical Name: Solanum aethiopicum
Also popular as bitter tomato and Ethiopian nightshade, it is a staple in African cuisines and available in a range of shapes and colors. It comes in four groups; Gilo, Shum, Kumba, and Aculeatum. You can consume it in both raw and cooked forms or, in rice dishes, meat, and vegetable recipes. The leaves and shoots also pair well in soups, stews, and pickles.
You can grow them as you would grow tomatoes in pots.
7. Ethiopian Kale
Botanical Name: Brassica carinata
Also known as Ethiopian mustard and Abyssinian mustard, it is a hybrid between Brassica nigra and Brassica oleracea. The leaves and stems are popular in salads and pickles.
Using manure in the soil increases the protein content and leaf production.
8. African Baobab
Botanical Name: Adansonia digitata
The baobab tree is a nutritious food source. Eat its fruit fresh or process them in jams, juices, and sweets. The protein-rich leaves are used as a vegetable or in dried form in soups. Its seeds contain a good amount of fat and protein that can be enjoyed as a snack after roasting.
To know how to grow a baobab tree, check out our article here.