Some of these foods that start with V might sound like a foreign language to you and that’s because they are! From French velouté to Indian vindaloo, this list of foods that start with V is a true tour around the globe.
One of the most wonderful aspects of exploring alphabet foods is that you not only learn about different foods, but you also get to learn about different languages and cultures as well. Don’t worry though, nothing will be lost in translation here! Our list of foods that start with V also includes plenty of items from a bit closer to home and maybe you'll learn a few new facts about some foods you've already tried before.
20 Foods That Start with the Letter V
1. Valencia Orange
The Valencia orange is named for the city of Valencia in Spain. Although the history is murky on whether or not the oranges actually originated there, they certainly became popularized in that region and therefore took after the city by name.
Valencia oranges are distinct from the other most common variety, navel oranges, in appearance as well as flavor. Navel oranges have a thick rind which makes them easy to peel and snack on, whereas Valencia oranges have a thinner rind and are much better for slicing and juicing. This is due to the fact that navel oranges contain a compound which causes their juice to quickly turn bitter, while Valencia oranges fortunately don’t experience this issue.
2. Valerian Root
The valerian plant is a tall flowering plant that produces delicate pink and white flowers. Despite their sweet fragrance, it’s not these flowers which are of interest to us humans. The root of this plant is what we’re after! Valerian root is well known for its myriad health benefits, from promoting restful sleep to reducing anxiety and soothing muscle cramps.
Valerian root, while indeed a natural product, is not entirely understood and therefore does pose certain risks. It is unknown whether valerian root is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and it seems to interact with a range of other medications and supplements. Despite these concerns, valerian root remains a wonderful way for many people to get the sleep they need, without the next-day drowsiness or harsh side effects that come from many prescription medications.
3. Vanilla Beans
Vanilla beans are actually produced by a certain variety of orchid plant–who knew! In addition to producing stunningly beautiful flowers, this climbing vine-like plant within the genus vanilla produces clusters of pods, which before ripening are long and green much like string beans. These pods are picked in an unripe state and then go through an extremely labor intensive drying process, resulting in the dried, richly brown colored pods we know as vanilla bean pods.
Once split open, the dried vanilla bean pod releases a ton of sticky, tiny seeds which can be used to add intense vanilla flavor into anything you like, from vanilla ice cream all the way to baked goods and sauces. Don’t be too quick to toss the empty pod though! The pod itself will always be holding on to a few residual seeds and have plenty of fragrance on its own. Go ahead and tuck any empty vanilla pods into your sugar bowl and a wonderfully perfumed sugar will develop over time–perfect for all of your coffee and tea sweetening needs.
4. Vegetable Oil
Unlike grapeseed oil or olive oil, which each come from their respective sources, vegetable oil is most often a blend of many different oil sources that come together and produce one homogenous mixture. Most vegetable oils are made from some combination of the following: canola oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil.
Vegetable oil, while not so great in the flavor department, is excellent when used for frying or roasting. It has a very high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to a much higher degree than other oils. When an oil is heated beyond its smoke point, the compounds within it begin to burn, causing unpleasant and actually unhealthy effects as they do so.
5. Vegetable Soup
Vegetable soup is pretty self-explanatory, it’s soup made from vegetables! There is a wide range of soups out there which fall into this category, such as minestrone, cream of mushroom soup, lentil soup, and borscht to name a few.
Beware though, just because a soup is designated as “vegetable soup” does not automatically mean it is vegetarian or vegan friendly. Many vegetable soups take a shortcut and contain either chicken stock or chicken broth for a base of savory flavor to build on top of. Just because you don’t see actual pieces of chicken or meat in there doesn’t mean animal products weren’t used as flavoring!
Along with béchamel, espagnole, tomaté, hollandaise, velouté is one of the five mother sauces that form the base of classic French cuisine. Like a white sauce, velouté starts with a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts melted butter and flour. These ingredients are then cooked on the stovetop, becoming paste-like and lightly toasted.
In white sauce, the next step would be to add milk or cream, but with velouté, chicken stock is used instead. The result is a thick and rich sauce which is the perfect savory base from which many other sauces can be made. Some other popular sauces which stem from velouté are allemande sauce, most types of gravy, white wine sauce, and sauce suprême.
7. Velvet Beans
The velvet bean plant grows in tropical regions of Africa and Asia and produces vines which can grow up to 50 feet in length! While they are in the legume family alongside many other beans and peas that serve as important food sources, velvet beans are not consumed as food nearly as often as these relatives. Rather, they are more often used as poultry or livestock feed or used by humans for medicinal purposes. It is thought that velvet beans contain compounds which can help treat neurological issues such as Parkinson’s disease, and the beans are even used to treat snakebites!
Most people associate the term venison specifically with deer meat, however it may also be used in reference to the meat of any large game animals such as elk, caribou, and moose. Whether hunted in the wild or raised on commercial ranches, game meat products such as venison have a wildly different flavor and texture as compared to beef.
Venison has a strong, earthy flavor with nutty and herbal notes thanks to the forager’s diet the animals enjoy throughout their lifetime. Venison is also much leaner than beef and extra care must be taken not to dry out or overcook the meat. The addition of oil is always necessary when cooking venison, and it takes well to being cooked in low-and-slow preparations such as stews and braises.
9. Vermicelli Noodles
Vermicelli is a type of long, thin pasta from Italy that is most often made from semolina flour and eggs. The thickness of vermicelli noodles may vary widely depending on where and how it is made. In some regions, vermicelli is typically thicker than standard spaghetti, while in other places the term vermicelli may refer to pasta which is much thinner than spaghetti, closer to angel hair pasta in fact.
Vermicelli has made its way into other cuisines as well. Certain types of vermicelli made from rice flour and/or bean flour are ubiquitous in Asian cuisines, and fideos are a version of broken and toasted vermicelli that are often used in Latin American cooking.
Vermouth is a type of aromatized, fortified wine which is commonly used as a cooking wine in addition to being an important ingredient in many classic cocktails such as the martini, the negroni, and the Manhattan.
“Aromatized” refers to a wine which is infused with flavor-inducing ingredients such as herbs and spices, and "fortified" means that additional alcohol has been mixed into the wine in order to raise the overall alcohol content of the product. These characteristics make vermouth a popular choice for cooking as the high alcohol content gives it extra deglazing power while at the same time imparting a more herbaceous flavor than standard white wine.
Vichyssoise is a decadently creamy soup, so named for the French town of Vichy! While there are many variations and adaptations, vichyssoise at its core is a potato and leek soup that is blended and thickened with milk or cream before being served cold.
As such, vichyssoise is a great way to enjoy the comforting feeling that a bowl of soup can bring, even during the warm summer months! Vichyssoise is like a blank canvas for other flavors and garnishes. Try it with a sprinkle of minced chives, crumbled bacon, or even a drop or two of spicy chile oil.
12. Victoria Plum
The Victoria plum is one stone fruit that is good, good eating! One bite and you can easily understand why this sweet and extremely juicy fruit gained the royal designation of being named after Queen Victoria herself. Victoria plums have a succulent yellow flesh which is delicious when eaten raw but is also excellent for cooked application such as pies, jams, compotes, and jellies. As you might expect from their name, Victoria plums are most widely available in the U.K. and Europe.
13. Victoria Sponge Cake
Not only do plums bear her name, but the classic Victoria Sponge cake was named for the very same Queen as well! The Victoria sponge cake consists of two layers of light and fluffy sponge cake with plenty of cream and jam sandwiched in between.
Traditionally, whipped cream and raspberry jam are chosen. Over time however, the number of variations has grown, and oftentimes other flavors of jam are opted for. In addition, the whipped cream may be swapped out for buttercream frosting or vanilla icing instead. The entire cake is typically dusted simply in powdered sugar rather than iced over entirely, though no doubt, more extravagantly decorated versions are made as well!
14. Vidalia Onions
Vidalia onions are a specific variety of sweet onions, known for their mild flavor and slightly flattened, UFO-like shape. In order to be considered a true Vidalia onion, the onion must meet very specific standards and be only grown and harvested in the US state of Georgia. Like other varieties of sweet onions, Vidalia onions are lower in acidity than other onions and higher in overall sugar content.
Therefore, these onions are perfect to enjoy raw (with minimal eye-watering involved) and they also make great caramelized onions for French onion soup! Vidalia onions are yellow in color, as opposed to those bright white Spanish onions, and can be distinguished from other yellow onions by the obvious shape difference. When in doubt, check the sign or the produce sticker. If it reads “Vidalia”, you can be sure you’ve got a sweet one on your hands!
15. Vienna Sausages
Often used synonymously to refer to hot dogs, frankfurters, and cocktail wieners, the Vienna sausage is actually a specific type of sausage in and of itself. Vienna sausages are made of a mixture of pork and beef and lack any major seasoning, giving the sausage an overall mild flavor.
Vienna sausages take their name from the city of Vienna from where they originate, but in other parts of the world, this name most commonly refers to small, thin sausages which have been sliced into segments and canned in a gelatinous liquid as a means of preservation. Vienna sausages are unique in the sense that they are a meat product which requires no cooking, but many people opt to use Vienna sausages in recipes such as bean dishes, casseroles, or the famed pigs in a blanket.
Vindaloo is a saucy, spicy Indian curry dish which tends to be one of the most popular food items in Indian cuisine and restaurants. While there is no singular way to make vindaloo, most recipe variations consist of a sauce made from the following ingredients: curry paste, coconut milk, ginger, vinegar, hot chiles, and spices such as cumin and garam masala.
The sauce can then be used to season and cook the main components of the dish whether they be chicken or vegetarian options like tofu and vegetables. The whole dish is typically served over white rice, which acts as a perfect vehicle for soaking up that spicy, savory sauce.
Found growing wild across much of the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, violets are dainty, yet flavorful little flowers. The flowers can range from purple to light blue as well as white and yellow! They have a lightly sweet yet deeply floral flavor and while they don't remain good to eat for very long after harvesting, they can be made into a variety of products which preserve their flavor and aroma.
Violets can be candied whole, simmered in sugar syrup, used in beverages, baked into a cake, and even ground and mixed with plain granulated sugar for a hint of floral flavor in any recipe where sugar is used. These violets are not to be confused with African violets, which while similar in appearance, are not considered to be edible.
Vinegar is the acidic liquid produced when acetic acid bacteria digest the ethanol found in wine, spirits, and cider. These bacteria occur naturally within alcohol products and are able to consume the alcohol particles, producing acetic acid as a by-product. Acetic acid, as it turns out, is vinegar!
The type of alcohol which serves as the starting point is directly responsible for what type of vinegar is produced as a result. For example, red wine will produce red wine vinegar, and fermented apple cider will produce apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid is what gives vinegar that characteristic sharp tang, somewhat like lemon juice but without the citrus flavor of course. Most types of vinegar (with the exception of distilled white, which tends to be quite harsh) make for an excellent and simple vinaigrette when emulsified with olive oil.
Vodka may look like water, but one whiff and you’ll know for certain it is anything but! Vodka is a distilled alcoholic beverage which, unlike many other spirits, is known for its lack of flavor. This makes vodka the perfect candidate for creating complex cocktails and mixed drinks in which the aim is to highlight another ingredient or feature a specific flavor.
Commonly thought of as being made from potatoes, vodka is actually distilled from a wide range of grains such as corn, rye, and rice. As the art of distilling continues to expand, some distillers even opt to play around with flavors by including fruits and vegetables in their mixtures!
20. Vol au Vent
Meaning “windblown” in English, vol au vent is a French dish consisting of a light and airy puff pastry shell which is cut and shaped in such a way that it may be filled and cooked with any number of tasty fillings! Most often, vol au vent is served with savory fillings such as chicken or turkey in white wine sauce, game meats in gravy, or seafood in cream sauce. However, vol au vent makes a perfect dessert as well and can be stuffed with decadent fillings such as berries and cream, chocolate mousse, or flavored custards.
Final Thoughts on Foods That Start With V
We hope that this list of foods that starts with V leaves you feeling inspired to give something new a try, or to embark on learning more about a food you already know and love. Next time you find yourself at the local watering hole, you could try a drink that is made with vermouth, or see what vegetables are in season at the produce stand and come up with your own vegetable soup recipe.
There are plenty of foods that start with the letter V left out there left to discover. Drop us a line and let us know your favorites!