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Mar 30, 2007 10:48 AM

Cheapest (tasty) vegetables per pound?

...other than the obvious cabbage. (Actually, there are quite a few different kinds, aren't there?)

Just the edible portions.
Since the market pound includes the parts we discard, the results could be unexpected.
If used in salads, raw weight.
If they have to be cooked, then perhaps weight after cooking should be considered.
Some are not sold by the pound - make an educated guess.

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  1. bok choy
    snow peas

    1. pea shoots. I love these thrown into soup or stirfried with some garlic.

      bok choy

      9 Replies
      1. re: bitsubeats

        Pea shoots, really? I can't tell you how much they cost in NYC but I seem to recall they were pretty pricey even in Chinatown. What part of the country do you reside, bitsubeats?

        1. re: KTinNYC

          boston, I get a huge bag (probably over a pound) for like 2 or 3 dollars.

          1. re: bitsubeats

            Where are you getting these? They're cheap in the summer they were expensive when I last bought them at my local Asian market.

            1. re: poundcake

              I get them at kam man. I haven't bought any since december probably and they were cheap back then.

              1. re: bitsubeats

                bitsubeats, I think I know which kind you are talking about. I saw them in Chinese markets here in California. I can't recall what month it was, but I did see huge bags of it, truly unbelievable prices, very fresh. Looks like even pea shoots come in different varieties...


                1. re: grocerytrekker

                  The first pic is pea shoots and the ones that I eat. The last two are what I believe to be commonly labled as "pea tendrils"

                  They have curly little tendrils attached to them

                  the first one is easy to clean and prepare, I have no idea about the 2nd variety as I have never cooked them.

                  not traditional, but whenver I have leftover boiled, then congealed pigs feet...I chop them up and sautee them with some garlic and pea shoots - absolutely delicious

        2. re: bitsubeats

          The thing with pea shoots is that you need to clean them and that removes almost half of the whole package. If you don't, it's so fibrous.

          1. re: chowser

            really? maybe you are talking about pea tendrils

            1. re: bitsubeats

              Yeah, the second one in the pictures that grocerytrekker posted but my MIL has always called them pea shoots and they're what we get at restaurants, too. I've never made them but have seen my MIL with a huge sinkful of them that become a single small plate after cooked.

        3. carrots, onions, potatoes, jicama. greens can be cheap, but they cook down dramatically. escarole, kale, mustard greens. i bought a pound of pea tendrils the other day for about $3. i probably got 6 or 7 servings out of that.

          this also has to take region and season into account. corn on the cob can be had for 10 ears for $1 here in massachusetts in august, but not all year. same with stuff like apples and pears and root veggies.

          1. Yes, major seasonal and regional differences and regional specialties.
            I just found a list of common veggies to start with.

            Artichokes - ends up being quite expensive, how much is it really per pound? We throw most of it away.
            Asparagus - any bargains?
            Beans - which are the tastiest fresh beans?
            Broccoli - what's the price in your area?
            Cabbage - red, napa, bok choy, yes, and so many more...
            Carrots - varieties?
            Cauliflower - again, different kinds
            Corn - major seasonal price (and taste) difference
            Garlic - so cheap sometimes
            Leafy greens - a major category
            Lentils - (not veggie? If you include beans and peas... ) talk about variety...
            Lettuce - ditto
            Mushrooms - wild ones are not cheap
            Onions - many different good-priced varieties. Which is the sweetest?
            Peas - fresh peas are not cheap. Bargains?
            Peppers - fresh peppers can be very expensive. But now and then I see huge amounts at incredible prices
            Potatoes - vegetable? what about other root veggies?
            Radishes - kinds?
            Rhubarb, chard...
            Shoots, sprouts
            Squash - summer, winter...
            Tomatoes - best value?

            3 Replies
            1. re: grocerytrekker

              Sweet potatoes. Turnips, rutabegas and parsnips. Do dried beans count?

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Of course they should. Frozen, too.
                We are looking for value here.

                Some of the fresh vegetables we buy end up being cooked, and sometimes there is little discernible difference in the final preparation. Some might even argue they taste better after being dried (remember sun-dried __?)

                So beans, lentils, mushrooms, hot peppers... seaweed...

                It would be very interesting to see how these reconstituted ingredients compare price-wise per pound.

                1. re: grocerytrekker

                  Dried beans are probably the cheapest per pound of finished product. Bulk dried beans are incredibly cheap, and they expand double or triple (or more) when cooked.

              1. re: littlegreenpea

                I doubly second beets. $0.39 /lb loose at my local grocer. Yum on salads, in soups, by themselves.

                1. re: MaggieMuffin

                  I love beets, but beets cook very slow - minus points for energy/time consumption!

                  1. re: welle

                    You can microwave them (although I don't think it's as good as roasting). I try to be efficient and roast a whole bunch of things at once. Last time I'd broiled something, so the oven was already hot, so I roasted some red peppers under the broiler, and then turned it to bake and roasted beets, onions, sweet potatoes and celery root. I then had roasted veggies for a week! BTW, if you've never thought to roast celery root, I highly recommend it. It didn't turn all grey and soggy the way it does when you boil it, and had less of that bitter/metallic flavor.