The culinary reputation of most vegetables is based primarily on the edible qualities of one or two primary parts of the plant. For example, the tomato is the leading garden vegetable, due to the popular appeal of its fruit, but nobody eats the leaves.
For home gardeners who grow and have the entire vegetable plant at their disposal, other plant parts may be edible, although perhaps not so tasty as the main product.
The following is a list of ordinary garden vegetables with both commonly-eaten parts and less-frequently eaten parts.
Although many of the secondary plant parts are edible, their popularity as food items is low due to lack of good flavor or texture. For example, the leaves of practically all the cabbage family are edible, but the strong flavors of some species is disagreeable with most people’s taste.
Vegetable -- Common Edible Parts -- Other Edible Parts
Beans, snap -- pod with seeds -- leaves
Beans, lima -- seeds -- pods, leaves
Beets -- root -- leaves
Broccoli -- flower -- leaves, flower stem
Carrot -- root -- leaves
Cauliflower -- immature flower -- flower stem, leaves
Celery -- leaf stems -- leaves, seeds
Corn, sweet -- seeds -- young ears, unfurled tassel, young leaves
Cucumber -- fruit with seeds -- stem tips and young leaves (may cause vomiting)
Eggplant -- fruit with seeds -- leaves edible but not flavorful
Kohlrabi -- swollen stem -- leaves
Okra -- pods with seeds -- leaves
Onions -- root -- young leaves
Parsley -- tops -- roots
Peas, English -- seeds -- pods, leaves
Peas, Southern -- seeds, pods -- young leaves
Pepper pods -- leaves after cooking (can be poisonous), immature seeds
Potatoes, Sweet -- roots -- leaves and stem shoots
Radish -- roots -- leaves
Squash -- fruit with seeds -- seeds, flowers, young leaves
Tomato -- fruits
Turnip -- roots, leaves
Watermelon -- fruit -- rind of fruit
Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables
M. J. Stephens, Department of Horticulture, University of Florida; Vegetable Production & Marketing News, Dr. Frank J. Dainello, editor, April, 2002.