Have you ever wondered how many foods start with the letter Y? Chances are that you might know a couple of them but the majority come from different corners of the world.
Here is our ultimate list of Y foods that covers vegetables, fruits, desserts and plenty of other dishes that you may have never heard of before.
Yams sometimes are referred to as sweet potatoes but they are quite different from sweet potatoes.
The skin of a yam potato looks much darker in color. In addition, yams also don’t taste as sweet as a sweet potato, and their flesh is a lot less starchy.
In taste, yams are more like normal potatoes but much larger. Some yam potatoes can weight as much as 70kg.
2. Yam Beans
Also known as jicama, yam beans do not look like an average bean as we know. Yam beans originate from Latin America where they are eaten together with other legumes and soybeans.
It’s good to know that the pods of yam beans are toxic when they are mature. However, when the pods are young, you can eat them safely.
Yiessas is a small fruit that grows on the yiessa plant. These little fruits have a thin, orange to yellow skin color.
When you peel them, you can see a moist flesh inside which tastes surprisingly sweet. Yiessas fruit get picked after they are mature, and then they need to ripen before you can eat them.
But yiessas aren’t just the fruit from the yiessa tree. It is also the name of a traditional Greek food which uses the fruit.
Yiessas has been used as a food and even as a medicine for many centuries in the Mediterranean. It’s low in calories and sugar, which makes it a very healthy ingredient for any dishes suitable for diabetics.
4. Yellow Eye Beans
Yellow eye beans are white beans which have a brownish-yellow patch on their skin. They are well known in America where they are used for creamy and soft dishes with a mild flavor.
The subtle flavor of yellow eye beans makes them ideal for a range of different dishes, including as a side dish or in soups.
Some describe yakhni as a whole dish, while others see it more as a broth or stock. Yakhni is often used as a base for other foods, including soups and shorbas.
Yakhni is made with meat bones that are simmered for up to 24 for hours. Yakhni is used in a lot of traditional recipes in India, Pakistan and the Middle East.
Also known as Chinese bayberry, yangmei also has many other names, including yumberry.
Originally from China, yangmei tastes similar to raspberry and strawberry, although many people find that it has a greater herbal flavor.
Ripe yangmei berries are bright red which makes them taste soup. The darker yangmei are juicier and sweeter.
Yangmei berries sold at traditional markets are often in different stages of ripeness, as chefs and cooks can use waxberries in a range of desserts.
Saying this, you can also eat the dark red yangmei fresh.
Commonly known as stuffed grape leaves, yalanchi are extremely popular in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Grape leaves are stuffed with rice, parsley, lemon juice, chopped onions and fresh dill. The leaves are then wrapped around the filling and placed in the oven where they are baked for a little while.
Yalanchi can be served as a vegetarian main meal, or as a side dish.
If you think that this sounds Japanese then you are absolutely right! Yakisoba is an old Japanese dish, with the simple translation of “grilled noddles”.
The first yakisoba noodles appeared in market stalls in Japan in the early 1930s.
It resembles Chow Mein noddles or ramen in cooking style. Just stir-fry some needles, and add vegetables and meat.
While you can use any type of noddles, such as the traditional soba noddles made with buckwheat flour, it’s best to use Chinese noodles.
Also commonly known as malanga in South America, yautia is a starchy root vegetable. It resembles yam in appearance but its flesh can vary in color.
Yautia is often described as nutty or earthy in flavor which makes it ideal for some warming winter dishes.
Yautia is also often considered the same as yuca, but malanga has a very different flavor ad it is often used as a thickening agent in soups or stews.
Although yacon may resemble a turnip or sweet potato in appearance, it is much more like a baking potato.
However, the flavor of yacon is surprisingly strange. It is said to taste like a mix of mild celery, watermelon, apples and pears.
Commonly found in South America, the name yacon oritinates from the Inca language and it means “water root”.
This name reflects the vegetable’s sweet and juicy flesh.
In addition to its unusually exotic taste, yacon is also used for its many health benefits, including boosting immunity and the digestive system.
Yeast doesn’t come to mind instantly when you think of foods beginning with the letter Y because it isn’t a food in itself.
Yeast is used in brewing beer, making bread and anywhere where you need this living fungi to encourage fermentation.
Yeast is what makes our bread rise, and it turns sugar into alcohol in our beer. This makes it a very useful Y food.
You may know the yuca plant as a decorate palm tree. However, there are two different types of species that are called yuca.
The edible root of the cassava plant, known as yuca, grows in similarly tropical climates as the yuca palm.
The yuca root should not be eaten uncooked as raw yuca root is toxic. Once cooked, this delicious root has a lighter taste than a normal potato.
It is also usually crispier than a regular potato variety.
Yemas has a couple of different meanings. It comes from the spanish word for egg yolks.
Additionally, yemas is also a Spanish dessert. Typically known as yemas de Santa Teresa, you just mix powdered sugar, water, egg yolks and granulated sugar in a bowl.
Roll them into little balls and add some powdered sugar on top. You can also find similar variations in the Philippines, where also milk is added to the recipe.
Some yemas are also filled with custard or jam to make them even sweeter.
14. Yellow Plum
Plums come in so many different shapes, sizes, flavors and colors. Also known as mirabelle plum, yellow plums have a sweet flesh.
Their outside skin is bright yellow with a slightly orange flesh on the inside. You can use yellow plums in the same way as other plums.
Make your favorite plum pudding, turn the plums into jam or simply eat them raw.
15. Yellow Squash
Squashes and pumpkins are such great winter warming foods. Saying this, the yellow squash is best known as summer squash (see also ‘23+ Best Summer Squash Recipes That Are Easy To Make‘).
It’s a nutritious vegetable which resembles the mild flavor of zucchini (if you want to find more fruits that start with Z, read here). You can use it in almost every squash and pumpkin recipe.
Simply roast, grill or sautee your yellow squash. Then sprinkle a little bit of olive oil and salt on top, and you have a healthy food in just a few minutes.
While yellowtail is often referred to as tuna, the name covers a range of different fish species called amberjack.
This group of fish can be found in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Japan. Yellowtail is best known as the main ingredient in sushi.
Yellowtail is typically served raw wrapped in rice and seaweed leaves.
Similar to other sea food, yellow tail is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as minerals and vitamins.
17. Yellow Wax Beans
Looking at a yellow wax bean, you can quickly spot its resemblance to regular green beans.
These beans have a firm and crisp texture, together with a nutty and grassy flavor which is ideal for a range of different dishes.
The yellow wax bean doesn’t just have its name from its yellow skin color, but also its waxy texture on the inside of the legume.
Almost every child and adult will know this popular Y food. Yogurt is made with fresh milk. The cow’s milk is pasteurized and fermented with live bacteria.
Yogurt is very creamy and you can find it in a large range of different flavors.
Yogurt is often used to thicken different dishes, as well as give them a creamier texture. Saying this, you can also enjoy yogurt on its own or with some fresh fruit.
Thanks to the healthy bacteria in yogurt, this delicious food starting with the letter Y contains a lot of vitamins, calcium, protein and probiotics.
It is said to support the health of teeth as well as bones.
A yodel is a chocolate-covered cake and dessert with a vanilla cream center. While you can buy yodels in almost any store, it’s also easy to make them yourself.
20. Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowtail and yellowfin tuna often get confused with each other. However, these fish are used in different recipes and different ways.
However, they have a similar habitat and also contain a similar amount of protein and imega-3 fatty acids.
Yellowfin tuna has a red flesh color, and its texture is not as fine as that of the white tuna.
Yokan is a popular Japanese dessert which has a gelatinous texture. These gelatin desserts are also known as wagashi (Japanese confectionary).
Yokan is made from agar, sugar and red azuki beans. The mixture is then shaped into a rectangle.
This tasty dessert from Japan can also be cut into slices and served with green tea. Yokan’s flavor is extremely sweet, and the jelly texture is unique amongst Asian desserts.
The best way to serve yokan is chilled as a delicious sweet summer treat. In addition to green tea, you can also add matcha powder and fruit to it.
Egg yolks are another well-known ingredient in many recipes. Almost no baking recipe can succeed without eggs and their yolks.
Yolks are the bright yellow center of the egg, and they contain a large amount of omega-3 acids, fat and calories.
When you look closely at the name of yoginanas, you may spot the origins of this dessert made of yogurt and banana.
Place half of a banana on a popsicle stick, and then dip it into your favorite yogurt. You can put it into the freezer for a frozen iced treat or alternatively, you can also enjoy it immediately.
These delicious popsicle sticks are so versatile and they are a healthy treat for children.
Very popular with a roast dinner in the United Kingdom, Yorkshire pudding is a classic English food essential.
It is also very easy to make. Just mix milk, flour, eggs, salt and vegetable oil together. Place the batter into a Yorkshire pudding mold, or even a cupcake mold works.
Put everything into the oven and watch them rise to a golden brown color. You can serve Yorkshire pudding with potatoes, vegetables, meat and gravy.
Mostly known as gyros across other parts of the world, yiros originated from the popular Greek fish which was made with cooked meat and vegetables wrapped in pitta bread.
Today, yiros is made with tomato, meat, onions and tzatziki sauce in a soft bread.
Most people prefer to use lamb as the meat in yiros. However, you can also use other meats, such as pork or chicken.
You can also add different types of vegetables, such as lettuce or pickles. Thanks to the wrap, you can just include all of your favorite savory ingredients.
Yuzu looks like a cross of orange and lemon. This citrus fruit is in fact a hybrid of a sour mandarin and a wild citrus tree.
The yuzu tree originates from Korea but it has spread across Asia into China and Japan.
The thick skin of the yuzu fruit protects the soft flesh on the inside, and this means that the fruit is much more sour in taste compared to other citrus fruits.
Yuzu is very popular due to its health benefits but it can not just be eaten. This fruit is also used in perfumes and aromatherapy.
27. Yardlong Beans
There is a clue to the size of these beans in their name. Often growing around a yard long, yardlong beans however are often consumed before they have reached maturity.
Yardlong beans grow in warm climates around the world, and they are enjoyed in a range of dishes across Asia.
These legumes have a soft and gentle flavor which makes them ideal as an addition to different recipes.
28. Ya Pear
Commonly know as Chinese white pear, this pear variety is a little more round than its European counterpart.
Ya pears have a thin skin and juicy flesh which tastes wonderful sweet. You can eat them just like any other pear, either sliced up, on their own or in a fruit salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Yakhni Soup Good For?
Yakhni is the base for many traditional soups, including which soup, which works well for coughs and colds.
Thanks to its gentle simmering over a long time, yakhni contains a large amount of magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and other important minerals.
It is considered to boost the immune system and aid good joint health.
What Is Yakisoba Sauce Made Of?
Yakisoba is a popular grilled noodles dish from Japan, and yakisoba sauce is made with ketchup, soy sauce and a range of other seasonings.
Yakisoba sauce has a savory, sweet and tangy taste which is ideal for noodle and vegetable dishes.
Is Yuca A Potato?
Yuca describes the yuca palm tree which isn’t edible, as well as a delicious root known as the yuca root (or cassava root).
Yuca root is similar to a potato and it can be used in potato dishes or ground into flour.
While we do not come across many Y foods in our daily lives, there are plenty of different vegetables, fruits, desserts and dishes that start with the letter Y.
From South America to East Asia, Y foods can be found all over the world.