What’s a vegetable that starts with U? I bet it’s not easy to come up with one right off the top of your head.
But don’t worry — I’ll show what the letter U can offer in the world of vegetables. Imagine a bright assortment of unusual and tasty options, from the most colorful to the most bizarre.
Have you ever heard of umibudo or ulluco? Every vegetable starting with U was a pleasant surprise to me.
I hope it’ll be the same for U 😉
Let’s get to know 11 healthy vegetables that start with U
This list of vegetables includes only culinary gems. This means that I’m not including any non-culinary plants, like the ulex or urena.
Also, all the vegetables beginning with U below are considered culinary veggies, even if they’re botanically fruits, like squashes, tomatoes and eggplants.
Ube, often known as purple yam or Dioscorea alata, is a Southeast Asian tuberous root vegetable. It’s grown for its beautiful purple flesh and sweet, nutty taste.
The purple Ube root distinguishes it from other yams. The skin is tough and brown, and the flesh is lavender to deep violet.
Ube is flexible and can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Filipino dishes include Ube Halaya (a thick, sweet jam), Ube Ice Cream, Ube Cake, and Ube Pastries.
Its inherent sweetness and brilliant color make it a popular component for making beautiful and tasty sweets. Ube is rich in carbs, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
In recent years, Ube has become a hot element in worldwide cuisines. Its unusual flavor and eye-catching look have made it popular in the culinary world, inspiring fusion meals and new ideas.
Like other yams, ube can make a great substitute for sweet potatoes. I think pies, casseroles, and mashed potato recipes are excellent jumping-off points for experiments.
Udupi mattu gulla
Udupi Mattu Gulla, commonly known as brinjal or aubergine, is an eggplant native to Karnataka, India. It’s prized for its distinctive taste, texture, and cultural importance.
Udupi Mattu Gulla eggplants are medium-sized and spherical or somewhat elongated. They’re green and lustrous. Theit creamy white flesh is delicate and succulent.
Its subtle sweetness and hint of bitterness make it a desirable ingredient in the kitchen. The eggplant is a popular vegetable due to its tender flesh and low seed content.
Udupi Mattu Gulla is primarily linked with Udupi’s vegetarian food. It’s used in Udupi sambar, gojju, palya, and chutney.
Due to its geographical and cultural significance, Udupi Mattu Gulla has been accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) designation. The GI badge protects authenticity and promotes this variety’s local economy.
The botanical name for Udupi Mattu Gulla eggplant is Solanum melongena var. esculentum.
Ukrainian Heart tomato
The Ukrainian Heart tomato is a huge, heart-shaped heritage tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Its skin can be pink or deep red, depending on maturity.
Ukrainian Heart tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and rich in tomato flavor. The juicy, solid flesh is perfect for slicing, grilling, and other culinary uses.
Ukrainian Heart tomatoes are heirlooms that preserve traditional features and genetic diversity. They can be produced from stored seeds because they’re open-pollinated.
Ulluco, commonly known as Ullucus tuberosus, is a root vegetable of the Basellaceae family, native to South America. Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador have long grown this veggie for its edible tubers.
The herbaceous perennial ulluco plant has heart-shaped, colorful leaves and tasty tuberous roots. Red, orange, yellow, and purple tubers are available. Like potatoes, ulluco tubers are waxy and starchy.
Ulluco can be prepared in several ways. It can be stewed, roasted, or boiled. The tubers’ mildly acidic and sour taste is lessened after cooking.
It is not as popular as potatoes or carrots, but its nutritional worth has drawn attention. Ulluco provides carbs, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and iron.
Ulluco’s adaptability is very intriguing too. It can withstand high altitude, poor soil, and chilly weather making it a profitable crop in the Andes.
Ulster Emblem potato
Ulster Emblem potatoes are cultivated in Northern Ireland, especially Ulster.
They’re medium to large-sized early maincrop varieties. Their smooth skin ranges from creamy white to bright yellow and has a circular to oval form. The flesh is light yellow and waxy.
These potatoes’ creamy, buttery taste is prized in many recipes. They can be boiled, roasted, mashed, or used in salads without losing their texture or flavor.
The botanical name of the Ulster Emblem potato is Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Ulster Emblem.
Umatilla Russet potato
The Umatilla Russet potato is a highly regarded russet potato farmed in the United States. It’s named after Umatilla County, Oregon.
Umatilla Russet potatoes are long and oblong with rough, netted brown skin. Their dry, starchy flesh is creamy white.
This all-purpose potato variety can be baked, boiled, mashed, fried, and roasted. Its high starch level makes it fluffy when baked or mashed, and its low moisture content makes it perfect for frying crispy French fries or chips.
The Umatilla Russet potato is also prized for its taste and storage. It stores well and can last longer than other potato cultivars.
The scientific name of this cultivar is Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Umatilla Russet.
Umibudo, often known as sea grapes or green caviar, is a popular seaweed in Japanese and Okinawan cuisine. “Umibudo” is the Japanese word meaning “sea grapes” in Enlish.
Umibudo seaweed develops clusters of small green spheres on long stalks. These spheres look like little grapes, thus the name “sea grapes.”
Umibudo seaweed is usually eaten uncooked as a salad or side dish. It has a briny and salty flavor remithe sea. Its unusual texture and taste make it a delicacy in Asian countries, especially in Okinawan cuisine.
Umibudo is usually washed in cold water and served as-is. It tastes well alone or with soy sauce, vinegar, or citrus.
Umibudo is full of health benefits thanks to minerals, vitamins, and fiber. It’s very low in calories and fat, making it popular among health-conscious people.
This seaweed is botanically known as Caulerpa lentillifera.
Upland cress (land cress) is a leafy vegetable related to watercress (this is one of W vegetables). Its spicy, harsh taste enhances salads, sandwiches, and other meals.
Dark green, deeply lobed rosettes constitute the plant. It thrives in full sun and moist soil, producing crunchy leaves all year round. Unlike watercress, upland cress tolerates heat and doesn’t need much water.
Upland cress lends zest to meals whether raw or gently cooked. Pestos and soup and stew garnishes can include it for it’s peppery flavor.
Upland cress contains calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K. Dietary fiber and moderate calories make the vegetable a healthy supplement to a balanced diet.
The scientific name of upland cress is Lepidium sativum.
Upo squash, commonly known as opo squash, bottle gourd or calabash, is a Cucurbitaceae vine vegetable. The name “upo” is used in the Philippines.
This type of squash is called “bottle gourd” because of its long form. Smooth, light green or white skin covers a meaty, seed-filled fruit. This delicate fruit is often cooked as a vegetable.
Upo squash flesh is mild, delicate, and mildly sweet. It softens when cooked in soups, stews, stir-fries, curries, and pickles.
Sinigang (sour soup), ginisang upo (sauteed upo), stir-fries, and curries employ upo squash. It absorbs tastes and complements many substances.
Upo squash’s mature gourd has several uses besides its fruit. Some civilizations dry it and make utensils, containers, musical instruments, and decorations.
Lagenaria siceraria is the scientific name of upo squash.
Black gram, commonly known as urad bean, urad dal, uzhunnu parippu, or ulundu paruppu, is a legume grown in South Asia. It’s an annual Fabaceae plant.
Urad beans are tiny, black, and speckled. They’re a common ingredient in Indian cuisine used to make dal, curries, and other Indian dishes.
These beans taste earthy and creamy when cooked. Cooked beans can be split, ground, or used whole in recipes.
Besides their culinary purposes, urad beans are nutritionally valuable veggies. They provide plant-based protein for vegetarians and vegans, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate.
Urad beans can be used to create vada (deep-fried fritters) and dosa (fermented crepes). Urad bean flour is used to make Indian bread and snacks.
The scientific name of urad bean is Vigna mungo.
Urui—Hosta sieboldiana—is a perennial herbaceous plant appreciated for its attractive leaves. It’s endemic to East Asia, mainly Japan and Korea.
Urui is called the “Giant Plantain Lily” because of its big, beautiful leaves. They’re visually appealing since they’re highly veined and textured.
Not all Hosta species or variations are edible. So it’s important to check a plant’s edibility before eating it!
Only the young, tender leaves of Hosta sieboldiana can be eaten. They have a mild, slightly bitter taste when parboiled or steamed.
11 Vegetables That Start With U (From Ube to Urui!)
- Udupi mattu gulla
- Ukrainian Heart tomato
- Ulster Emblem potato
- Umatilla Russet potato
- Upland cress
- Upo squash
- Urad bean
I hope vegetables that start with the letter U have helped you expand your knowledge!
Which vegetable names were the most surprising in this list? Share your first impression in the comments.
If you’re craving more options from the alphabet, check out my list of fruits that start with U, including ugli fruit, or uniq fruit, ume and more.
For some fun, try to think of vegetables or fruits that start with U you can make a recipe out of—like upo squash curry or urui pesto!
My guide to food that starts with U can be a helpful source of inspiration. You’ll get to know ugali pap, umbricelli pasta, upside-down cake and other lesser-known treats.
Do you think any vegetable or fruit that starts with U is featured in those recipes? Let me know your thoughts!