Has your culinary expertise ever been tested in a heated conversation? Imagine someone asking you to name a vegetable that start with R. Your actions?
Don’t worry, if you’re running short of ideas. Join me as we reveal a tempting assortment of nature’s wonders in this alphabetical list of vegetables that begin with R, from earthy roots to lush greens.
You’ll astound your friends, win trivia evenings, and expand your culinary expertise. All thanks to the letter R!
Let’s dig in and enjoy a full list of nutritious vegetables that start with R
Radicchio is a chicory-related leafy vegetable. It has a harsh flavor and bright crimson or maroon hue.
This vegetable that starts with the letter R makes many dishes of Italian cuisine taste even more delicious.
Radicchio leaves are crisp and robust. They have a compact head like lettuce but are more bitter.
Depending on the kind, radicchio can be more or less bitter. The popular Chioggia cultivar has the mildest taste among other varieties.
Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and calcium, are abundant in radicchio.
Fresh radicchio can enhance many salads with its tasty sharpness. If you wish to mellow it, you can grill or roast the bitter leaves. It’s also good on pizza, risotto, and pasta.
Its scientific name is Cichorium Intybus.
Radish is a Brassicaceae root vegetable. It has bright red or pink skin and crisp white flesh.
Radishes range from spherical red radishes to elongated daikon radishes (see daikon substitutes here). Many varieties differ in size, shape, and color.
Radishes provide vitamin C, B6, potassium, folate, and fiber. They’re low in calories and fat, providing a great snack choice for any diet.
Radishes provide a crisp and spicy flavor to salads and other fresh dishes. They can be sliced, diced, or grated for sandwiches, tacos, and wraps. Pickling radishes improves taste and shelf life.
Radish greens, the plant’s leafy tops, can also be cooked. They have a somewhat bitter taste that works well sautéed, added to soups, or used in salads.
The scientific name of the radish plant is Raphanus sativus.
Asian cuisine, especially in Japan, China, and Korea, uses rakkyo, also known as Allium chinense or Chinese scallion. This R veg is closely related to onions, garlic, and shallots.
Rakkyo has tiny, elongated bulbs which are great for pickling. Pickled bulbs are crisp and somewhat sweet and sour.
Pickled rakkyo is eaten with rice, noodles, and grilled meats in Japanese cuisine. Its refreshing, somewhat spicy taste enhances other ingredients in a meal.
Like other allium veggies, it includes antioxidants, vitamins C and B6, and minerals—potassium and manganese.
The crunchiness and sweet-tangy flavor of this rare Asian vegetable make it a favorite condiment or side dish.
Ramp, also known as wild leek or Allium tricoccum, is a North American species of onion. It’s popular in Appalachian cuisine for its peculiar taste.
Ramps feature large green leaves and a thin purple stem. All parts of the plant are edible and have a strong, pungent smell and a garlic-onion-earthy taste.
This type of wild onion is gathered in spring from woodland locations. It’s used in soups, sauces, stir-fries, omelettes, and pesto. Pickled ramps, compound butters and vinaigrettes are also possible recipe ideas.
Due to their popularity and limited availability, ramps are considered a seasonal delicacy. Their taste and flexibility make them a treasured element in many cuisines. Many festivals and special events highlight their unique flavor.
Ramps are collected in the wild, and sustainable foraging approaches are recommended to protect these plants and their habitats.
Rampion is a Campanulaceae flowering plant. Its long, thin white or pale brown carrot-like root is grown for food.
Rampion roots are crisp and nutty. Salads, stir-fries, soups, and roasted vegetable dishes can all benefit from their earthy flavor.
The leaves are also edible and are usually served cooked, as they can be quite bitter.
Rampion grows biennially. In the second year, it grows a flowering stalk with bell-shaped blue or purple blooms from a rosette of leaves close to the ground. These flowers bring beauty to landscapes and gardens.
Rampion isn’t as popular as other root vegetables, and its availability varies by location. The scientific name of the plant is Campanula rapunculus.
Ramsons are a wild Alliaceae plant. It’s prized for its culinary and medicinal applications. Ramsons grow in wet woodlands and have a garlic-like taste and smell.
Ramsons have broad, lance-shaped leaves like lily-of-the-valley. Spring brings clusters of little white blooms.
Ramsons’ leaves and bulbs can be cooked as a wild garlic alternative. They’re delicious in salads, pestos, soups, and sauces, or sautéed.
Ramsons include vitamin A, C, iron, and potassium. Traditional medicine uses them for their antibacterial, antifungal, cardiovascular, and digestive effects.
Before eating ramsons, be sure they’re not harmful. Foraging for ramsons requires expert assistance or reliable plant identification sources.
The botanical name of the species is Allium ursinum.
Rapini, commonly known as broccoli rabe or broccoletti, is a leafy Brassicaceae vegetable. Despite the name “broccoli rabe”, it’s actually a turnip-related vegetable, not broccoli.
This veggie is a common element of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, especially southern Italian cooking.
Rapini features long, thin stems, little broccoli-like florets, and mustard-green-like leaves. It tastes harsh and nutty. The leaves, stems and flowers are all edible.
Due to its bitterness, rapini is usually served cooked. Blanching, sautéing, or steaming reduces its bitterness and improves the flavor. Garlic, chili flakes, and lemon juice can also cut the sharpness.
Rapini packs vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—vitamins A, C, K, folate, and iron.
It goes by the scientific name of Brassica rapa ruvo.
Red cabbage, often known as purple cabbage, has a rich purple or reddish tint. It’s in the Brassicaceae family and looks and tastes similar to green cabbage, despite the color.
This cabbage features firm, densely packed red leaves. The cabbage becomes blue when cooked, losing its purple hue.
Red cabbage is sweeter and spicier than green cabbage. It can be eaten raw or pickled, providing a delightful crunch in both cases.
Cooked red cabbage softens and tastes milder. It can be braised, stir-fried or sautéed to make a tasty side dish or part of the main course.
Red cabbage is healthy beyond its culinary purposes. It contains antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Anthocyanins, antioxidant plant chemicals, give red cabbage its bright color.
Red cabbage’s botanical name is Brassica oleracea.
Red leaf lettuce
The leaves of red leaf lettuce are bright crimson or burgundy. It’s an Asteraceae family plant linked to green leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce.
Tender red leaf lettuce features loose, delicate leaves. The leaves are deeply lobed and frilly, reddish-purple or dark crimson in color.
This type of lettuce possesses a gentle, sweet nuttiness. It tastes milder if compared to romaine lettuce or arugula.
Its health advantages come from dietary fiber and antioxidants. It’s also low in calories and rich in vitamins A and K.
The scientific name of this lettuce is Lactuca sativa var. crispa.
Red onion, sometimes called purple onion, has a moderate flavor and vivid red or purple skin.
Red onions are gentler than yellow or white onions and are commonly used raw or minimally cooked. Salads, sandwiches, salsas, and garnishes taste tart and look colorful with the inclusion of this ingredient.
Sautés, stir-fries, soups, and stews employ red onions too. They keep their crisp texture and flavor when cooked, although their color may fade.
Red onions are a good source of fiber, antioxidant, vitamins C and B6. Their rich hue signifies anthocyanins, which may promote heart health.
Red onion is scientifically known as Allium cepa.
Red peppers, often called red bell peppers or sweet peppers, are a Capsicum annuum vegetable used in many cuisines worldwide.
Green bell peppers turn a deep red color as they grow turning into the mildest and sweetest version of bell peppers.
Red peppers are quite versatile. They’re good in salads, sandwiches, and wraps in grilled, roasted, sautéed, or stir-fried forms.
Red peppers are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber. Beta-carotene and lycopene, antioxidants with health benefits, provide their red hue.
Rhubarb is a sour perennial plant with strong, celery-like stalks and big, fan-shaped leaves.
Rhubarb stalks are usually red or pink, but some are green. Rhubarb leaves contain harmful oxalic acid, hence they are not eaten.
Rhubarb’s sour taste lends a unique zest to foods. In sweets like pies, crumbles, and compotes, sugar or sweet fruits can temper its acidity. It can also be used to flavor jams, jellies, and chutneys.
Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it’s commonly cooked as a fruit. It contains nutritional fiber, vitamins C and K, and a few calories.
Rhubarb stalks are gathered in spring or early summer when solid and thick. The hazardous leaves should be destroyed or composted, thus only the stalks remain for culinary purposes.
Its unusual flavor provides a wonderful tanginess to many recipes, especially desserts where it’s often coupled with sweet ingredients.
The rhubarb plant is scientifically known as Rheum rhabarbarum.
Ricebean or rice bean (Vigna umbellata) is a legume grown for its tasty seeds. It’s commonly cultivated in India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
Ricebeans are vining legumes with kidney-shaped seeds in their pods. Depending on the cultivar, the seeds are white, cream, red, brown, or black.
Ricebeans are a staple in several cultures as an addition to soups, stews, curries, and sides. Some places grind ricebeans into flour to produce bread, pancakes, and porridge.
Ricebeans bind nitrogen in the soil, enriching it and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, making them a sustainable crop. They’re drought-resistant, making them appropriate for water-scarce areas.
Ricebeans aren’t as well-known as chickpeas or lentils, but they’re crucial to local cuisines and supply key nutrients like fiber, protein, and minerals.
Rock samphire, also known as sea fennel or Crithmum maritimum, is a perennial plant found on rocky cliffs and coastal locations in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Its distinctive flavor makes it a culinary herb and vegetable.
Rock samphire has bright green, thick leaves and clustered yellow blooms. The plant grows in seaside rock crevices.
Rock samphire leaves and stems are crunchy and taste like celery, parsley, and salt. The plant absorbs sea salt, thus the salty taste.
It can be used fresh in salads, seafood meals, pickled, or as a spice for fish or other savory foods.
This plant thrives in fragile coastal environments and should be picked carefully. So avoid overharvesting it and respect local rules.
Rocket, also known as rocket, is a leaf vegetable commonly used in Mediterranian cooking. Its scientific name is Eruca sativa.
Rocket’s long, thin, deeply lobed leaves resemble dandelion greens. The leaves develop a peppery, bitter flavor as the plant ages while the younger leaves have a mild, nutty flavor.
Due to its flavor and texture, rocket is often used as a salad vegetable. When blended with other ingredients, it gives salads, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, and pestos a zesty, somewhat spicy bite.
Rocket thrives in chilly areas and grows quickly. It’s available year-round at grocery shops, farmers’ markets, and home gardens.
It’s a popular choice for those looking to add some nutrients to their diet, most notably vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and manganese.
This is actually my favorite R veg, both thanks to its unique taste and cool name!
Roma tomatoes, often called plum tomatoes or Italian tomatoes, are prized for their unique qualities and culinary purposes. Its name comes from Italy, namely Rome.
Roma tomatoes are long and meaty. They’re smaller than round tomatoes and have fewer seeds and liquid.
Culinary flexibility makes these tomatoes popular. They’re perfect for cooking because of their meatiness and low water content.
Roma tomatoes’ intense taste is used to make tomato sauce, paste, puree, salsas, soups, and stews. Their low moisture level makes them ideal for canning and preserving, as well as making sun-dried tomatoes.
The botanical name for the Roma tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum.
Romaine lettuce, commonly known as cos lettuce, has crisp, elongated leaves. It’s named after the city of Rome, its presumed birthplace.
Salads, sandwiches, and wrap benefit from these crisp greens. Caesar salads include romaine lettuce because its strong leaves can withstand sauces and toppings.
Romaine lettuce a great source of vitamins A, K, C, B6, and folate, as well as riboflavin and thiamine.
The botanical name of romaine lettuce is Lactuca sativa var. longifolia.
Romanesco broccoli is a striking vegetable because of its unique, fractal-like shape. Its texture and taste are similar to cauliflower but it’s much more vibrant in color.
The vegetable’s spiral head has cone-shaped lime green florets that taste nutty and slightly sweet.
Romanesco broccoli cooks like other cruciferous veggies. It can replace broccoli or cauliflower in many preparations.
It contains vitamins C and K, fiber, and minerals and is low in calories. Its brilliant hue signifies antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
The botanical name for Romanesco broccoli is Brassica oleracea var. botrytis.
Rosa Bianca eggplant
Rosa Bianca eggplant has a distinctive look and mild flavor. It has a round to oval form, silky skin, and beautiful strips of white, violet, green, and pink. Its tender flesh has fewer seeds than other eggplant types.
You can roast, grill, sauté, or use it in stews, curries, and stir-fries. Its creamy texture also works nicely in dips, spreads, and purees.
Rosa Bianca eggplants are both edible and decorative. Vegetable gardens and farmers’ markets love them for their unusual form and hues.
I’ve had my luck making baba ganoush with this unique variety. So if you haven’t tried it yet, don’t hesitate to pick one up. It looks so cute!
Rosa Bianca eggplant is botanically known as Solanum melongena var. esculentum.
Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are legumes grown for their tasty pods and seeds. They originated in Central America but are now cultivated throughout Europe and North America.
These green beans have long, flat pods with enormous kidney-shaped seeds. Pods can grow to 12 inches (30 cm). They’re green, but some are purple.
“Runner” beans are cultivated on climbing vines or poles because the plants’ tall, twining stems need support.
Young, delicate pods are eaten raw or cooked. The beans’ seeds are picked and cooked when the pods harden.
Runner beans include fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’re low in fat and calories and suitable for a balanced diet.
Russet potatoes, often known as Idaho potatoes or baking potatoes, are prized for their starchy texture and adaptability. It’s a popular United States potato variety.
Russet potatoes have rough, netting brown skin and creamy white flesh. They’re ideal for baking, cooking, and mashing. Their high starch content makes them crispy when fried, and their fluffy texture provides for smooth and creamy mashed potatoes.
Grocery stores sell russet potatoes in various sizes. Choose firm Russet potatoes without blemishes or sprouting. This type has dry, netted skin.
Russet potatoes provide carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to fuel your body with essential nutrients. They contain a range of vitamins, including B6 and C, as well as potassium and magnesium.
The botanical name for this potato variety is Solanum tuberosum ‘Russet Burbank’.
Rutabaga is an edible root vegetable from the Brassicaceae family. It’s sometimes known as Swede or yellow turnip. This cabbage-turnip hybrid has a distinct taste and texture.
Rutabaga’s pale yellow or orange flesh provides a spicy, sweet, and nutty taste. It tastes great when cooked, roasted, mashed, or used in soups, casseroles, and stews.
From my experience, rutabaga fries or chips are wonderful alternatives to potato fries. They hold their shape and require less oil.
The scientific name of this veggie is Brassica napus var. napobrassica.
22 Vegetables That Start With R (2023 edition)
- Red cabbage
- Red leaf lettuce
- Red onion
- Red pepper
- Rock samphire
- Roma tomato
- Romaine lettuce
- Romanesco broccoli
- Rosa Bianca eggplant
- Runner bean
- Russet potato
If you need a similar ingredient to replace rutabaga, I’ve got you covered! Check out my article on the best rutabaga alternatives for some cool ideas.
Which names of vegetables were familiar to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!
I hope vegetables that start with R have provided some new exciting tastes and textures to your meals. But I’ve merely scratched the surface of this letter’s potential.
If you want to taste your way across the alphabet, I have several more blog post options to explore!