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Britain’s Favourite Vegetable

There’s never been a more promising time for vegetables. From street food stands to trend-setting restaurants, vegetables are being promoted from side dishes to the main event in a meal. What’s more, is that vegetables are now being embraced in countless smoothies, cold pressed juices and even yoghurts and ice creams. Yes, it appears we Brits have shrugged off our reluctance for vegetables and have embraced them with fervour.
Diabetes UK carried out a recent survey to find out which vegetable is the most popular in the UK and the results might not be quite what you expect.
For instance, the dreaded Brussel sprout featured at number 7, ahead of both cauliflower and asparagus. A shocking state of affairs, although this could be seen as a signifier of how far we have come with our approach to cooking it – we no longer just boil them to a soft, pappy death.
The pea came in at number 6, a vibrant, fresh little fella that weaves it’s way into all manner of salads, pasta dishes and soups, and bridges the gap between working man staple and Michelin starred restaurant.
Carrots feature at number 5 in the list, and is perhaps one of the most championed of all root vegetables. This sturdy orange member is getting a lot of action of late in Asian noodle bowls, shaved down into ribbons and dressed in things like fish sauce, lime juice and sesame seeds.
I’m not sure mushrooms technically count as a vegetable, but they come in at number 4, but more divisive is the tomato which takes the number 3 spot (look, I know it’s a fruit, but Diabetes UK have a lot on their plate ok. Just go with it). This must be one of the most versatile ingredients and props up the UK with its abundant use in everything from our penchant for crisp salads and obsession with BLTs, to our long love affair with Italian food – tinned tomatoes have a lot to answer for is all I’m saying.
Sweetcorn is in second place – mind blowing, I know – but there are some exciting uses going down at London’s Kerb food market with corn on the cob being dressed in lime, spices, and sharp grated cheese.
But it’s broccoli that’s taken the crown. According to the Telegraph, who also commented on this survey, broccoli was propelled into first place thanks to 18% of Scottish participants claiming it as their favourite vegetable – votes for deep fried Mars bars were disqualified for obvious reasons.
The people of the survey have spoken. Between traditional British cuisine, and our current obsession with regional Asian food styles, many vegetables we have long taken for granted have found new homes in the spicy, fermented and fresh flavours from places like Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
The full list appears below:
1. Broccoli
2. Sweetcorn
4. Mushroom
5. Carrot
6. Pea
7. Brussels
8. Cauliflower
9. Asparagus
10. Green bean