Is Grass a Vegetable? This Vegetable Debate is Finally Solve

Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli—these are all classic examples of vegetable consumption. As is… green grass? This is the question that is a debate for decades by people who follow a vegan diet and those who don’t.

Is grass a vegetable? Or is it something else? People commonly misunderstand Vegetables as being only green plants or tubers (potatoes and yams), but there’s so much more to this superfood group. Any part of a plant that is edible and normally not the fruit, e.g., leaves, roots, stalk, or seed is a type of vegetable.

However, when we think about eating vegetables in our food pyramid or on our plate, we think about things like carrots and lettuce; not the grass we see in front of us outside. But does that mean it isn’t also a type of “vegetable”?Is Grass a Vegetable

Is Grass a Vegetable? Or is it a Leaf?

In order to first define what a vegetable actually is, we must first understand what makes up a plant. Plants are made up of three parts: roots, stems, and leaves. If a part of the plant is edible and normal not the fruit can be a type of vegetable. So yes, when we eat plants like lettuce or spinach, we eat the leaves. This may be confusing, though, when we look at a plant like grass. On one hand, we can eat the leaves, but the stems are inedible and the seeds need for something else entirely. What do we do with the rest of the plant?

Why Does It Matter Whether or Not Grass is a Vegetable?

A huge reason why this debate matter is when it comes to people who follow a vegan diet. Vegans normally eat a lot of vegetables, like broccoli and lettuce, but they also eat grass or hay because it’s a vegetable, too. Vegans aren’t eating grass to be silly or because they are hungry for a lawn. They are eating the parts of a plant that are normally inedible to humans but are still full of nutrients.

Some people also use vegetables like spinach to make tea, so they are eating the plant, too. People who don’t follow a vegan diet might not care as much about this debate. So, they may say that “vegetable” is a general term to describe anything from lettuce to grass.

The issue here is that sometimes vegetables come in contact with pesticides, which is harmful to humans. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommend that consumers wash their vegetables thoroughly—this includes vegetables like lettuce and spinach that some may not consider vegetables.

The Issue of Labeling and Marketing

Another reason why this debate exists is because of marketing. The food industry is often misleading, and vegetables are no exception. For example, broccoli raab—which is a type of broccoli—is sometimes people call it rapini, which is actually a different type of vegetable altogether.

People often refer to arugula as “rocket,” which is a different vegetable. If these vegetables are still healthy to eat, what difference does it make what they’re called? Many vegetables may be a hybrid or have multiple names, but they are still the same plant. Spinach, for example, may be called either spinach or Swiss chard.

It’s important to note that not all plants that have the same label as “spinach” are actually spinach, and the same is true for arugula and other plants. Many times, plants that are “spinach” may be a different type of vegetable altogether.

The Dine’h Definition of “Dahlican”

Another reason why this debate exists is in the Dineh language. The Dineh are a native people who span from parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. They have their own language, and in it, there are no words for “vegetable” or “vegan.” The Dineh people have different words for each type of food, including animals, vegetables, and fruits. The word “dahlican” (deh-lee-CAN) is the word for “vegetable,” and it may include anything from lettuce to spinach and carrots.

The only naturally occurring foods that don’t have a word in the Dineh language are things like cow, pig, or chicken—which Dineh typically eat. They don’t have a word for “vegan” or “vegetarian” either, but the Dineh are the Native people who brought the idea of veganism to the forefront.


It may seem silly to debate over whether or not grass is a vegetable. This is a huge issue for people who follow a vegan diet. This debate is important because it impacts how people eat healthy and clean. When we shop for vegetables at the store, we want to know what is in them, how they were grown, and if they come in contact with pesticides.

The only way to know this information is to read the labels on the bags of vegetables. When you see spinach or broccoli on the label, you know exactly what you’re getting. On the other hand, when you see “grass” on the label, you know nothing about it. This debate is unsolved, but it is important to note that both sides have valid points.


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