At least botanically speaking, a fruit is defined as the ovary of a plant and the vehicle by which they get their seeds out into the world. In contrast, a vegetable is any other part of the plant that is eaten, such as its roots, stems, or leaves.

In culinary terms, however, plant-foods are classified by flavor and how they are customarily served: vegetables are generally served alongside an entree or as an appetizer, while fruits are eaten as dessert.

However, the divide between these two categories of classifications has resulted in quite a few seedy fruits being commonly regarded as vegetables in the popular imagination.

For the purposes of the 123Diet, though, the culinary system prevails: low-sugar and low-calorie vegetables are suitable for all-day eating, while higher-sugar and higher-calorie fruits are best reserved for mornings.

After all, in the famous words of late journalist Miles Kingston, "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." When it comes to a healthy diet, common sense ought to outweigh meaningless scientific distinctions!

Still, if you'd like to learn a little more about your food, enjoy this round-up of phase 2 and 3 vegetables with a hidden fruity side!

1. Tomato

Perhaps the most-well known trans-vegetable fruit, you can tell by the visible seeds of a tomato that it's an impostor. However, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes were to be taxed as a vegetable in 1893 because that was the way they were thought of by most ordinary people—though that could have just been because the taxes on vegetables were higher, so more for them!

2. Zucchini

Zucchinis, being the ovary of the zucchini flower, are another great pretender. It may also be worth noting that the blossoms of the zucchini flower themselves are also edible, and are often served stuffed with cheese or used as a pizza topping in the fruit's native Italy or used in soups and quesadillas in Mexico.

3. Cucumbers

The cucumber, which is a member of the same family as the aforementioned zucchini, is another vegetable whose seeds give it away. However, cucumber's somewhat light taste means that it actually could hold its own in a fruit salad, as attested to in our recipes for Cucumber Orange Salad and Cucumber Strawberry Salad!


Technically speaking, the avocado is not only a fruit but a berry because it contains a single seed. They're also fairly unique among both fruits and vegetables because of their high fat content, though this monounsaturated fat is a heart-healthy variety!

5. Green Beans

Turns out whoever called beans the "musical fruit" was right on! Green beans are pods that hold seeds, while the beans themselves actually are seeds. Green beans are also legumes, which just means they come from the Leguminosae family, as do other plant foods like nuts, peas, alfalfa, and carob.

6. Eggplants

This purple phase 3 vegetafruit has a few secrets! It gets its name from its somewhat egg-like shape, and is also called aubergine for its distinctive dark color in parts of Europe. In addition to being served as a vegetable, it's often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes like eggplant Parmesan and actually joins tomatoes in the nightshade family, of which "deadly nightshade" or belladonna is not actually a member!

Bonus: Rhubarb

In contrast to the other ingredients listed here, rhubarbs are the rare "fruit" that is secretly a vegetable: they're the stalks of the rhubarb plant, not its ovary! No reason not to include this one in your fruit salads, though: a rhubarb by any other name would taste as sweet!

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