There’s nothing quite like trying something new, and if you want foods that start with an ‘r’, then you may find your taste buds go exploring.
If you were asked to name foods that start with the letter “R,” it might take you a minute or so, but you can probably name a few off the top of your head. Speaking for myself, the first food that comes to mind, being from the South, is “Ribs.” But, there are certain foods on this list you probably would have never considered, and indeed a few you’ve never even heard of before. That’s one of the great things about food lists; you can always find something new and exciting to try and fall in love with for the first time.
From the risky to the remarkable, rich to repugnant, rare to routine, and refreshing to… okay, that’s all we can think of. You get the point. ‘R’ foods cover everything.
If you’re looking for something to relish, or just curious about the random, this list has you sorted. Everything below has been eaten and enjoyed by someone, somewhere, at some point.
You may find things that are on your grocery store shelves, and possibly some meals to add to the bucket list.
Rabbit is eaten worldwide, and enjoyed for its flavoring, which is described as being similar to chicken. But rabbit has a deeper taste than most poultry, with a gamier richness.
You can find rabbit to eat in Moroccan tagine, Sichuan stew, and across Europe and America.
2. Rabbit Fish
The rabbit fish is named due to its large eyes and small mouths, which supposedly gives it a rabbit-like appearance.
This might be a bit of a stretch, but rabbit fish are just as edible as their namesake.
Rabbit fish has a moderate flavor, but stays firm when cooked. You can often find it in curries, although it flakes easily when poached. Rabbit fish is enjoyed in the Philippines, but can also be bought occasionally in California.
While it may seem odd to eat raccoon, it has historically been enjoyed during lean months.
When there’s little else to eat, you don’t turn away food because the animal has a bad reputation. Raccoon meat is tough, and needs to be tenderized and cooked slowly for the best flavor.
Radicchio is an attractive chicory, known for its vibrant purple leaves and white stems. Eaten raw, it has a strong bitter flavor, which is something of an acquired taste.
For fans of radicchio, it forms the perfect base for salads, works well on sandwiches, and balances salty cheeses. Radicchio is often found in Italian cooking.
The peppery taste of radish is what’s made this vegetable so popular. Radishes are a root vegetable, and many types are found throughout the world.
The natural freshness and the spicy finish combine to make radish a delicious topper to salads, but they can be found in many other dishes.
Radishes are enjoyed raw, but once cooked they take on a softer flavor.
6. Radish Flowers
While most people are aware you can eat the radish root, few realize that the flower is also edible. It actually has a similar distinctive peppery bite as the radish, although in a milder form.
Radish flowers are delicate and pretty, coming in a mixture of colors such as white, pink, and yellow. They make an attractive addition to salads, or a quick snack when you’re out in the garden!
7. Rainbow Chard
Rainbow chard is technically the name of three chards mixed together: Swiss chard, red chard, and golden chard.
Rainbow chard will often be packaged together, and you can regularly find recipes that call for this mixture.
This chard blends the sweetness, bitterness, and nuttiness of the individual varieties. The vibrant stems give rainbow chard a unique appearance.
Little packets of raisins are a childhood snack food that will be familiar to many. Made from dried grapes, raisins are small and sweet.
They’re often found sprinkled in cereals or trail mixes, but can also be used in savory cooking. And of course, they can be found in the classic oatmeal and raisin cookie.
The name ‘rambutan’ comes from the Malay word meaning ‘hair’, and it’s easy to see why. These small fruits are covered in fleshy spines, giving the appearance of a fruit having a bad hair day.
Cut open, the rambutan reveals a white flesh. This has a fresh and creamy taste, with a sweetness offset by a slight acidity.
Although you may never have found yourself enjoying rampion, these root vegetables can apparently be so delicious you risk your firstborn for them.
Okay, this is unlikely to happen outside fairy tales, but Rapunzel got her name because her mother wanted nothing but rampion during pregnancy. Enough to steal it from a witch!
We recommend trying a farmer’s market first.
There are a few different names for the allium tricoccum, but ramps and ramsons are among them, so they make the list.
You may otherwise have heard of them as wild leek, wild garlic, or wood leek. These have a distinctive garlic and onion flavor, and have become a rather gourmet ingredient.
Rapini is otherwise known as broccoli rabe, and is popular in Mediterranean cookery. Rapini is a darker green than common broccoli, with a leafier appearance.
Enjoy it in a salad for the bitter bite, or cook to mellow the flavorings. Rapini is rich in vitamins and nutrients, so a strong addition to any diet.
Raspberries are sweet and just a bit tart, but packed full of juice. Raspberries are delicious eaten fresh and whole, but can be puréed, frozen, and made into sauces. Small and soft, raspberries are almost a perfect snack food.
However, they have a reputation for spoiling quickly, especially when left at room temperature.
Perhaps not the first choice on many of our menus, it’s not hard to see why rat has found its way onto some plates. Rats are well known for their abundance. Supposedly, rats have a chicken taste, although not many will be lining up to try it.
Get hold of the dish by heading to the hills of North East India, where the Adi tribe holds a celebration with rats as the centerpiece.
15. Rattan Fruit
Rattan fruit has a strange appearance of overlapping layers that break open when pressed to reveal the fruit inside.
The muted colors of the skin contrast the strong sour taste, making this not a fruit for everyone. If you get your hands on some, only use it in very small amounts. Rattan fruit is commonly found in the Philippines.
For such a terrifying animal, rattlesnake has a fairly bland taste. Long and thin, the meat is sinewy rather than juicy.
That doesn’t even cover all the bones you have to get past. However, some consider rattlesnake to be a delicacy, although that may be more from the hunt than the eating.
Head to the Southwest if you want to give rattlesnake a try.
17. Razor Clams
These long and thin clams look quite different from what you may expect in a linguine, but they’re still delicious to eat.
Razor clams are difficult to harvest due to their brittle shells, but worth the effort for seafood lovers. They can be seared quickly, or even eaten raw with citrus.
Reba-sashi is a form of sashimi made from raw liver. Despite being popular a few years ago, it has ultimately been left off the menu. Why? Several cases of fatal food poisoning all linked back to reba-sashi.
While liver can still be enjoyed, all restaurants are now required to cook it.
19. Red Banana
Red bananas are smaller and sweeter than their yellow counterparts, and generally harder to purchase.
Grown in Southeast Asia, some report these bananas have a slight raspberry taste. They can be eaten just like a yellow banana, whether that’s raw, baked into banana bread, or blended into smoothies.
20. Red Cabbage
The rubbery and dense ball of the red cabbage is more similar to the white varieties than green. The leaves of the red cabbage are crisp, with a peppery sharpness to them.
Thinly sliced, red cabbage can be added to salads and slaws, or cooked for a milder flavor. The pretty purple color also creates a natural food dye, although luckily it does wash off.
21. Red-Capped Scaber-Stalk Mushroom
While the red-capped scaber-stalk mushroom is technically edible, it has been linked to a few too many cases of food poisoning for comfort.
If you wish to give it a go, then make sure to give the fungus a thorough cook. Some recommend dehydrating it, which both improves the flavor and cuts the risk of poisoning.
Redcurrants are a tart berry, with a bright and glossy coloring. They can be eaten raw, and a simple light dusting of sugar will offset the sour taste.
However, you’ll most often see redcurrants made into jellies and sauces, and eaten with lamb or game. They’re popular in Europe, and the jewel-like berries make attractive decorations to bakes and desserts.
23. Red Kiwi
From the outside, there’s little indication that the red kiwi is any different from its green or golden counterparts.
However, cut in, and you’ll find yourself greeted with a vibrant red flesh. Red kiwis are a new and natural cultivation, with a similar sweet taste and added berry freshness. Initially from New Zealand, they’re slowly making their way into stores around the world.
24. Red Mullet
Red mullet fish enjoy warm and tropical seas – but don’t we all? Traditionally cooked in Mediterranean dishes, only a simple preparation is required to bring out the best of the flavors.
The bigger the fish, the better the flavor. The high fat content is what makes the red mullet so delicious.
25. Red Onions
With a deep purple outer layer and dazzling white flesh, the red onion is a staple of cooking. Enjoyed raw, they have a crispness and spice that works perfectly in salads or on burgers.
They’re also great when pickled, with a vibrant pink color that adds visual appeal to any dish. The strong aroma is also likely to bring a tear to your eye.
26. Red Pepper
Red peppers are a form of bell pepper, ripened until sweet and incredibly juicy. The red bell peppers are the sweetest variety, and are actually green peppers that are fully ripened.
They’re technically a fruit, but are used in cooking as a vegetable. Bell peppers originated in South and Central America, and are often used in American cuisine.
27. Red Potato
If you plan on devouring a red potato, make sure to leave the skin on! As well as looking good, it holds vital nutrients, making this versatile food even better.
The skin of any potato is where many of the health benefits are found, and the red potato has an already thin skin. Leave it on when making fries or roasting, and it can even be mashed up.
28. Red Perilla
Red perilla is sometimes known as shiso, and sometimes known as beefsteak plant, depending on where you’re eating it. The flavoring is a strange mix of mint and licorice, with hints of basil and even a citrus sweetness.
Shiso is commonly eaten in Japan, where the unusual leaf is often consumed after the meal to help break down the food.
29. Red Rice
Potentially the most nutritious rice, you may begin to see more bags of red rice on grocery store shelves in coming years.
Red rice contains anthocyanins, a compound found in blueberries, blackcurrants, and other red to purple foods. Anthocyanins are thought to reduce the risks of cancer and diabetes, and lower blood pressure.
If you’re used to associating them solely with Santa Claus, then the thought of eating reindeer may be a little shocking.
However, this meat is a traditional food of the Sami people, found in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Reindeer is a lean meat, without the game flavoring you might expect.
Rhubarb stalks can be enjoyed raw, although a heavy sprinkle of sugar is necessary. Due to the tart taste, rhubarb is generally cooked into pies or desserts, where the sourness is muted.
While the pink stalks are edible and attractive, the leaves should never be eaten. The leafy greens are poisonous, and can quickly lead to kidney flavor. So it’s best to stick to a rhubarb crisp.
32. Ribier Grapes
Large and round with minimal seeds, ribier grapes are one of the most popular varieties. Their blue-black skins are tough, but underneath them is a juicy and sweet flesh.
These grapes also grow prolifically, so can be used to create a shady covering in a particularly sunny garden. Intended as table grapes, they can be eaten fresh from the vine.
Ribs are served in a big, meaty slab, and while we may be used to them coming from pigs, they can actually be from many types of animal.
Try lamb or venison ribs for something slightly different, or mix things up with bison or goat. For something really wild, you can get kangaroo ribs, bison ribs, and even ostrich ribs!
One of the most popular foods worldwide, rice is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine. Cooked correctly, rice forms a fluffy and filling base for sauces and curries.
There are multiple varieties, with brown and red considered to be the most nutritious. Rice can be boiled, fried, puffed, and ground. There are also rice drinks, such as horchata.
Risotto rice, or arborio rice, is the short-grain Italian version of rice. Traditionally, it’s cooked slowly, by adding water and stock in increments until absorbed.
Once cooked, risotto rice has a natural creamy texture which sets it apart from other grains. Risotto rice is higher in starch, which gives it the firm chewiness chefs desire. It absorbs other flavorings well.
Creamy ricotta cheese is a versatile ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. The mild taste and light texture combine for a spreadable cheese that’s best enjoyed very fresh. Originally from Italy, it’s a staple of Italian cooking.
Enjoy it in pastas and risottos, across pizzas, and churned into sweet gelatos. In America, ricotta is often used to create airy pancakes.
37. Ridged Gourd
Looking a bit like a zucchini, ridged gourd is most commonly found in Indian cookery. It has a high water content and a mild flavor. As long as it’s peeled, it can be eaten raw.
The raw skin, however, tastes quite bitter and unpleasant. A fully ripened ridged gourd can be dried and used as a scrubbing loofah.
38. Rock Ptarmigan
A medium-sized game bird, the Rock Ptarmigan likes cold conditions, rocky tundras, and sparse vegetation. So unless you happen to live in Alaska, or Northern Eurasia, you’re unlikely to find these birds for dinner.
However, in Icelandic cuisine they are a popular item for festive meals. The Japanese know them as raichō, which translates to “thunder bird”, possibly because of the horrible noise they make.
Rocket, perhaps better known as arugula, is a pungent leafy green vegetable that’s certainly an acquired taste. While the bitter flavor is popular with many, some find it far too off-putting to be enjoyed in a salad.
Rocket also has a powerful smell, something that turns many people away. However, the peppery finish makes it a popular addition to freshly fired pizzas.
Rockfish is the generic term used for different types of fish, including the red snapper, another ‘r’ food. Rockfish get their name from their tendency to hide with the rocks, and it applies to a few edible species.
Rockfish are generally a healthy food source, full of protein. They can be fried, or baked with tomatoes and lemon for a Mediterranean simplicity.
41. Rocky Mountain Oysters
No, these aren’t actually oysters, and you want to remember that if you ever think of ordering them. Rocky Mountain Oysters are actually deep-fried bull’s testicles, rather than seafood.
First developed by people who didn’t want to waste any part of their cattle, they’ve grown to be quite a specialty food.
Roe is essentially fish eggs, the most famous type of which is caviar. Traditionally, caviar can only come from sturgeon, where roe is used to describe a variety of fish eggs.
Unsurprisingly, roe tends to have a salty taste and an unusual texture. It’s popular around the world, but is often associated with Japanese sushi.
43. Roe Deer
Roe is a smaller deer, which gives it a more delicate meat than larger deer. Because of this, roe is often considered to be the best venison available.
Roe deer meat is very finely grained, giving it a tender texture that yields well. The species is found across Britain and Europe, and even in Northern Iran and Iraq.
44. Romaine Lettuce
The big green leaves of romaine lettuce are a sturdy base for salads, and are often found layered in sandwiches and burgers.
The romaine lettuce has a mild taste with only a slight bitter edge, making it incredibly versatile. With a crisp finish and juicy leaves, it’s a standard salad green with few detractors.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about romanesco broccoli is the appearance.
Unlike the bushy florets of common broccoli, romanesco has sharp spirals that seem almost unnatural. This allows it to stand up well to the cooking process, giving a firm finish that’s great for holding sauces.
Sweet and earthy, once cooked it has a nutty flavor.
46. Roma Tomatoes
It’s the firmness that makes the roma tomato so popular, as it can be used for canning and making pastes.
On the larger side, the bright red roma has an elongated appearance and only a small amount of seeds. They can be eaten raw, but are particularly good when cooked. Due to the firm flesh, they create rich sauces.
47. Rouge Vif D’Etampes
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what pumpkin Cinderella took to the ball, it was probably this one. Large, round, and vividly orange, this French variety has what you might call the ‘classic’ pumpkin appearance.
The flesh has a slight sweet flavor, making it ideal for pies. Unless, of course, it’s been transformed into a carriage.
Roquefort is one of the best known blue cheeses across the world. Produced in France, it was supposedly created when a French boy abandoned his lunch to follow a beautiful girl.
When he returned, some time later, he noticed his plain cheese had turned blue. Nowadays, the only cheese called Roquefort must be produced in the Combalou caves of France.
49. Roquito Peppers
Roquito mini peppers are tangy and sweet. With the appearance of bright red pearls, they’re a popular addition to canapés and hors d’oeuvres.
Biting into a roquito pepper will give you a burst of juice and flavor, so they only need to be used in small amounts. They’re mild, rather than spicy.
The strong aroma of rose combines with the colorful appearance to make a desirable garden plant. However, the rose doesn’t just look good.
Rose water is a common cooking ingredient across the Middle East, and in Persian and Asian cuisine. Used to flavor sweet foods, rose is used in Turkish delight as well as baklava, gulab jamun, and nougat.
51. Rose hips
Rose hips are most commonly used for tea, but they can also be made into jams and jellies. Rose hips are found just below the petals of the rose, and are filled with seeds.
Picked when ripe, they have a fragrant floral taste with a slight sharpness. Rose hips are also associated with healing properties.
Rosemary is a fragrant herb with pine like needles that can be cooked fresh or dried. Describing the taste of rosemary is difficult, as it has such a complex flavor profile it’s impossible to encompass everything.
Because of this, rosemary complements many types of food. It’s particularly popular in stews and soups, as it can simmer without losing flavor.
Rue is a herb that needs to be used with care. Although many enjoy the bitter taste, too much can be overwhelming.
More importantly, it’s unsafe when used excessively for medicine. Large doses can lead to gastrointestinal problems, and it can cause blisters when applied to the skin.
As rukam fruit ripens, it develops soft flesh and a sweet flavor that’s tempered by sour notes.
The younger fruits have a firmer flesh, similar to an apple, and taste astringent. Both unripe and ripe rukam are eaten raw, and soft rukam can be rubbed between the hands to bring an extra sweetness.
55. Runner Beans
The runner bean is a popular backyard plant, where the attractive flowers create a pretty garden landscape.
Because of this, runner beans are often associated with home cooking. While they are good to eat, they must only ever be eaten cooked. Raw runner beans are full of toxins that can make you incredibly sick.
56. Russet Apple
Russet apples may not be the most popular variety, but the balance of sharp and sweet make them great for eating and baking.
They’re also good at pressing into cider. “Russet” refers to the strange skin of the apple, which is rough and dull rather than shiny and smooth. It may not look pretty, but the skin has a pleasant nutty taste.
57. Russet Potatoes
These potatoes are perfect for baking, due to their large shape and thick skin. When cooked, the insides turn fluffy, but the skin takes on a firmer texture.
Russet potatoes also make good french fries, due to the firm flesh. Perhaps not the most attractive of foods, they’re a solid kitchen staple.
A cross between turnips and cabbages, rutabagas are a root vegetable that often gets confused.
Their similarity to turnips is the cause for the confusion, although rutabagas can be identified by their yellow tinged skin and larger size. Rutabagas can be diced, mashed, roasted, and cooked in stews.
59. Rye berries
We may all know rye flour and rye whiskey, but how many of us know what the rye grain actually is?
These ancient grains can be cooked in water to form a chewy and nutty alternative to rice and pasta. Alternatively, try the flour to make a hearty and dense bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some dinner dishes that start with the letter R?
When looking for dinner dishes that start with the letter R, you can consider options like Ratatouille, a French vegetable stew, or Ravioli, an Italian filled pasta dish. Risotto, a creamy rice dish, and Roasted Root Vegetables are other delicious options to try.
Which snack foods start with an R?
For snack foods beginning with R, there’s a variety of choices. You can enjoy Rice Cakes, a light and crunchy option, or opt for roasted nuts like cashews or almonds. Another popular choice is Radish, which can be enjoyed raw or in salads.
Can you name any ethnic foods beginning with R?
Ethnic foods starting with R include Ramen, a Japanese noodle soup dish, and Rogan Josh, a Kashmiri Indian curry. Other options are Romanian Roșii Umplute, stuffed tomatoes, and Russian Rye Bread.
What are some healthy foods that start with R?
Healthy foods beginning with R are readily available, such as Red Cabbage, Radicchio, Rainbow Chard, Red Quinoa, and Raspberry. These foods offer various health benefits and can be incorporated into a balanced diet.
Are there any proteins that have names beginning with the letter R?
Yes, proteins that start with the letter R include Ribeye Steak, a popular cut of beef, and Rockfish, a type of whitefish. Red Lentils are another great source of plant-based protein you might try.
What are some green foods that start with R?
Green foods starting with R include Romaine Lettuce, Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe), and Rocket (commonly known as Arugula). These leafy greens are packed with vitamins, iron, fiber, and can be easily added to salads or other dishes for a nutritional boost.
Foods That Start With R: Our List of 58
- Rabbit Fish
- Radish Flowers
- Rainbow Chard
- Rattan Fruit
- Razor Clams
- Red Banana
- Red Cabbage
- Red-Capped Scaber-Stalk Mushroom
- Red Kiwi
- Red Mullet
- Red Onions
- Red Pepper
- Red Potato
- Red Perilla
- Red Rice
- Ribier Grapes
- Ridged Gourd
- Rock Ptarmigan
- Rocky Mountain Oysters
- Roe Deer
- Romaine Lettuce
- Roma Tomatoes
- Rouge Vif D’Etampes
- Roquito Peppers
- Rose hips
- Runner Beans
- Russet Apple
- Russet Potatoes
- Rye berries
- Try our kitchen tested foods that start with R.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.