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15 Purple Vegetables You Need to Grow

A rough wooden table is spread with purple vegetables - eggplant, pepper, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, beets and peppers.
Who wouldn’t want more of this on their dinner plate?


Yes, purple.

You need more of it in your garden.

We’ve all got plenty of green going on, but what you really need is more purple. You may not realize it, but there’s more than meets the eye to vegetables with this uncommon hue.

A naturally occurring compound called anthocyanin is responsible for the purple pigmentation of many plants. (Red and blue, too!)

Great, Tracey! So what?

Well, anthocyanins do more than make for beautiful veggies. (And you have to admit, they’re quite lovely.) Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, and flavonoids are antioxidants.

But the good news only starts there.

Whether via clinical trials, in vivo or in vitro, the research results show this purple packs a punch. It turns out these purple-pigment-making compounds come with a slew of health benefits.

  • Improved vision
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Inhibited tumor growth
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial

The research suggests these results may be synergistic – anthocyanin working with other compounds within the plant. You can read all about it by clicking here. More research will provide better answers, but it’s still one more reason to eat your veggies.

Especially the purple ones.

I’ve gathered up fifteen crunchy purple vegetables to plant in your garden. You’ll see a few familiar favorites here, as well as plenty of veggies you may not have realized have a purple variety. Plant a few, heck, plant them all!

1. King Tut Purple Pea

A black plastic planter holds freshly picked, dusky purple pea pods. One of the pods is broken open to reveal light green peas inside. The photo was taken outside in the grass and the sun is shining.
Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia…King Tut. Any Steve Martin fans out there?

This heirloom pea has stunning purple pods. Eat them when they’re young and tender for an excellent snow pea. Or harvest them when they’ve reached maturity for a great shelling pea.

According to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, there seems to be some confusion about how this purple pea came by its name. Some say ancient seeds were found in the boy king’s tomb in Egypt and were successfully propagated. Others say the pea is named in honor of English nobility, Lord Caernarvon, because the pea came from his country estate. The name was a nod to Caernarvon’s financing of the search for King Tut’s tomb.

2. Blue Berry Tomato

Dark purple cherry tomatoes are growing on a vine.
They might not be blueberries, but they may be just as sweet.

If you’ve ever grown the Atomic Cherry Tomato, then you’re familiar with the fun varieties Brad Gate’s of Wild Boar Farm is coming up with.

Give his latest creation, the blue berry tomato, a try. It’s a sweet cherry tomato that’s a prolific producer all season long. Use these gorgeous tomatoes to make a batch of fresh salsa that will match your blue corn tortilla chips.

Don’t forget to throw in a few of the tomatillos further down this list.

3. Red Express Cabbage

Close up of a red express cabbage growing in the garden. The small red head of cabbage is surrounded by larger purple-green outer leaves.
Am I the only one that’s ever wondered why they call it red cabbage when it’s clearly purple?

Now, I know red cabbage isn’t anything new or exciting when it comes to purple veggies. You should give this one a grow anyway; not only is this cabbage purple (ignore the red in the name, we know purple when we see it), it’s a quick grower too. You’ll be enjoying purple cabbage before you know it.

Purple sauerkraut anyone?

4. Black Nebula Carrots

There are three black carrots on a light blue stone wear plate. The carrots are raw, another carrot has been sliced into coins on the plate. There is another plate of unsliced carrots in the background next to a hand towel and paring knife. Everything is sitting on gray slate.
We all knew carrots were good for you, but the Black Nebula really takes the carrot cake!

The color of these carrots is almost unbelievable. The Black Nebula carrot is loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C as well as anthocyanin. Talk about a superfood!

I’ve always found purple carrots make gorgeous pickles too. Grow these incredibly deep purple carrots and start a quick batch of pickled carrots! Then save the purple brine for the most beautiful dirty martini you’ll ever sip. You’ll be glad you did.

5. Purple Lady Bok Choy

A terra cotta pot sits on top of pea gravel. Growing in the pot are several purple lady bok choy. They are small and several leaves have been damaged by insects.
It seems a caterpillar thinks these bok choy are tasty too.

Jazz up your ramen or stir fry with this beautiful bok choy. I’ve grown this before, and the flavor is wonderful. The large, leafy plants grow quickly, so plant several succession crops scattered over a few weeks and enjoy it all season long.  

6. Purple Teepee Beans

Close up of long purple string beans growing in a garden. The leaves are slightly out of focus.
These magic beans won’t produce any beanstalks with a giant as a tenant, but they do turn green when you cook them.

These beautiful beans are just as easy to grow as any other bush bean, so why wouldn’t you plant some? If you’re looking for a bean that keeps producing over and over again, it’s hard to top this one. And purple beans are great fun if you’ve got kiddos. When you cook them, they magically turn green! Of course, it’s up to you to figure out how to get your kids to eat them after that.

7. Detroit Dark Red Beet

Several red beets with tops are spread across a dark brown, rustic wooden table top.
More red than purple, the humble beet still deserves a spot on our list.

You can’t have a list of purple vegetables without having beets on it. Okay, okay, so it’s more burgundy than purple, but you should still grow them. And don’t forget to eat the greens! If you want to turn those boring old beets into the ultimate superfood, consider fermenting them – probiotics and anthocyanin!

8. Scarlet Kale

A close up photo of curly purple kale leaves. The photos is slightly out of focus around the edges.
Kale chips here we come!

It took me forever to get on the kale train. I resisted this super-healthy veggie for as long as I could. And then I tried kale chips. Now, I can’t imagine a garden without this easy-to-grow veggie.

Grow Scarlet kale for beautiful and tasty kale chips, kale salads, even smoothies. It’s so beautiful you could easily plant it right in the flower bed and enjoy its beautiful leaves along with your flowers too.

9. Pusa Jamuni Radish

Several radishes are stacked on one another. The radishes are a pale lavender color. One radish has been sliced open to reveal and white and purple core.
If crunchy is your thing, you have to plant radishes.

If you’re a fan of radishes (hello, friend), you’ll want to give this unique lavender-colored radish a try. It looks so unassuming on the outside, but once you slice it open, it’s a gorgeous kaleidoscope of purple streaks. Plant this heirloom radish in the fall for the best results.

10. Tomatillo Purple

An earthenware bowl is filled with soft purple tomatillos. The bowl is sitting on a honey-colored wooden table. The sun is shining on the tomatillos. Several still have husks on them.
Purple salsa anyone?

The name might be quite simple; however, you’ll find this tomatillo is anything but. Eat tomatillos right off the plant? You bet with this gorgeous purple variety. These tomatillos are much sweeter than their green cousins. Be sure they get plenty of sun to ensure deep purple fruit.

With a few other purple veggies from this list, you could have a purple taco night! Just make sure I get an invite.

11. Purple Majesty Potato

Red-purple skinned potatoes surround a small ramekin filled with purple mashed potatoes.
Can you please pass the purple mashed potatoes? Thanks.

There are so many delicious potato favorites to eat. What’s yours?

Now imagine that potato dish in purple. Purple potatoes are just as easy to grow as any other spud. You can even grow them in containers. And as far as anthocyanidins go, these potatoes are loaded. Get it? Loaded potatoes? I’ll stop.

12. Lilac Bell Pepper

A small woven basket contains rosy, lilac colored bell peppers. There are other baskets of peppers on the periphery.
These peppers are sweet, crunchy, and beautiful.

I’ve seen purple bell peppers before, but none as beautiful as this variety. Most are so purple they’re almost black; however, this pepper is a lovely rich lilac. Like other purple bells, it starts out green before turning purple as it ripens. If you’re tired of boring green peppers, give this bell a try.

13. Ping Tung Eggplant

Slender lilac colored ping tung eggplants stacked on each other.
These are my favorite eggplants to cook with – eggplant with garlic sauce here I come!

Of course, eggplant is going to be on this list. But again, who wants boring old eggplant? Most of the time, the skin is too tough, and they’re hard to slice.

Dear Reader, let me introduce you to my favorite eggplant variety, the Ping Tung eggplant. This Chinese variety produces long and slender fruits with thin skin. These tender and tasty eggplant rarely get bitter.

Read Next: How To Grow More Eggplant Than You Thought Possible

14. Mountain Morado Corn

Ears of dark purple corn have had their husks pulled back to reveal them. They are still attached to the stalks in a field.
Not sweet corn, but flour corn.

If you’re hoping for blue corn tacos and tortillas, you’re going to want to plant plenty of mountain Morado corn. This flour corn was bred specifically to do well in cool Northern climates. You can generally expect two ears of corn per plant, so if you’re serious about milling it, you’ll need to plant quite a bit.

15. Purple of Sicily Cauliflower

A lilac colored cauliflower growing on it's stalk in the garden. The leaves are a gray-green.
If you never have any luck growing cauliflower, you’ll want to give this variety a try.

With the popularity of low-carb diets, cauliflower has become a stand-in for everything from rice to mashed potatoes. Add a little color to your favorite cauliflower keto dishes with these beautiful purple heads – while it’s purple when it’s raw, the cauliflower turns bright green once it’s cooked. If you’ve struggled to grow other cauliflower in the past, try this one as it’s much easier.

See? That’s a whole lot of purple. You could easily plant an entire garden full of anthocyanidins and be all the healthier for it.  

Now, how about an all pink garden? Have you seen this celery?

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,