Looking for an extensive list of foods that start with the letter B?
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Browse this list of 29 foods that start with B to get some new cooking inspiration, learn more about where each food comes from, and understand the health benefits of each food.
Let’s dive in!
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1. Bamboo shoots
They are long and cylindrical with crisp, ivory-colored flesh that tastes very mild — slightly sweet and earthy, with a hint of nuttiness.
Fresh bamboo shoots contain taxiphyllin, a naturally-occurring plant chemical that can be converted to cyanide by the body.
Bamboo shoots are very popular in Asian cuisine and make a great addition to stir-fries, soups, and salads.
There are more than 1000 varieties of bananas, but the most common is the Cavendish, which starts out bright green and turns yellow as it ripens (7).
Yellow (ripe) bananas are sweet and soft, while green (unripe) bananas are firm, astringent, and slightly bitter.
Bananas are a convenient and nutritious snack on their own, but they’re also delicious in smoothies, yogurt, cereal, and baked goods.
3. Banana peppers
Banana peppers are a variety of chili pepper (Capsicum Annuum) known for their mild, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor.
They get their name from their curved, banana-like shape and bright yellow color, although they can also turn orange or red as they ripen.
Compared to other peppers, banana peppers aren’t very spicy, measuring between 0 and 500 SHU on the Scoville scale. For reference, jalapenos range from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU (10).
Some grocery stores carry fresh banana peppers in the produce section, but pickled versions (usually sliced and found in the condiment aisle) are more widely available.
Both fresh and pickled banana peppers are perfect for adding a little extra flavor to sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and more.
Barberries are the fruits of Berberis vulgaris, a shrub native to Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. They are especially popular in Iran (13).
These bright red berries are very small (less than 1 centimeter in length) and oblong with smooth, shiny skin and tart, juicy flesh that tastes similar to cranberries.
Fresh barberries typically aren’t available in the United States. Instead, you’ll find dried barberries at Middle Eastern food markets, or you can purchase some online here.
Dried barberries make a fabulous addition to rice pilafs or couscous dishes, but make sure to soak them in hot water beforehand for optimal flavor.
Barley is a gluten-containing cereal grain that was first domesticated at least 10,000 years ago and is now grown worldwide (16).
Its grains are small and round, and can be various shades of yellow, brown, or red. When ground into flour, they have a light color and a slightly grainy texture.
Barley has a chewy texture and a mildly nutty, earthy flavor, similar to brown rice. It pairs well with other earthy flavors, such as mushrooms and root vegetables.
Barley can be cooked and eaten as a hot cereal, tossed into salads, added to soups and stews, or used as a side dish.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a well-known herb that belongs to the mint family. It is native to India, Asia, and Africa but is now grown all over the world (18).
There are many varieties, including lemon basil and cinnamon basil, but sweet basil and Thai basil are the most common.
Sweet basil has glossy green leaves that taste mildly sweet and peppery, while Thai basil leaves are skinnier and purple-tinged with a stronger anise-like flavor.
Though you can usually find fresh, dried, or even basil paste at the grocery store, it’s just as easy to grow your own.
Use fresh basil to make pesto and other condiments, or add some to pasta dishes, salads, pizzas, and stir-fries. Dried basil is perfect for seasoning soups and breads.
7. Bay leaves
They’re typically used as an herb and are removed from foods before serving, because they are very difficult to chew and can pose a choking hazard.
Bay leaves are long and narrow with a pointy tip. They are greenish brown in color and have a stiff, leathery texture.
Their flavor is unique — woodsy and bitter, with hints of eucalyptus, mint, oregano, and pine.
Although fresh bay leaves are sometimes available, you’re more likely to find them dried in the herbs & spices aisle at most grocery stores.
Use them to season soups, stews, meats, and other dishes, or add them to a pot of beans or rice while cooking.
8. Beech mushrooms
Beech mushrooms (Hypsizygus tessellatus) are an edible species of fungus that are often found on dead and decaying beech trees, hence the name.
They grow in clusters and have long, slender stems with small, round caps that can be either white or mottled brown.
Beech mushrooms have a rich, umami flavor and a chewy texture, making them a great meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
They are very popular in Japan, where they are called “shimeji mushrooms” and used in dishes like soup, ramen, rice bowls, and stir-fries.
You can find beech mushrooms at Asian markets, health food stores, and some supermarkets. They are typically sold in both fresh and dried form.
Beef is the meat of adult (over 1 year) cattle. It is considered a type of red meat, along with pork, lamb, goat, and venison (23).
There are many different cuts of beef — some of the most common are chuck, rib, sirloin, round, brisket, and flank. Ground beef, which is typically made from leftover meat trimmings, is another popular option.
In general, beef tastes savory, salty, and a bit metallic, but its flavor can vary significantly depending on the cut and whether the beef is grass-fed or grain-fed.
You’ll find beef for sale at most grocery stores, though the selection may be limited depending on the store’s size and location. For the best selection, visit a butcher shop or specialty meat market.
Use beef in any recipe that calls for ground meat, such as burgers, meatloaves, and tacos. It’s also delicious in stews, soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles.
Beets (Beta vulgaris) are root vegetables known for their very strong, polarizing flavor — some describe it as earthy and sweet, while others say it tastes like dirt.
Beets are round with a crisp texture that softens after cooking, and they have leafy green tops (called beet greens) that are also edible.
The most common variety of beet is a deep purple-red color, but other varieties are white, yellow, and even bright pink with white stripes.
There are many delicious ways to enjoy beets — roasted, steamed, grilled, or even air-fried. They can also be shredded and tossed into salads, pureed and made into soup, or juiced along with other fresh fruits and vegetables.
11. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are a large, bell-shaped variety of Capsicum annuum (chili pepper) that don’t contain any capsaicin — the chemical responsible for chili peppers’ characteristic spiciness (27).
They come in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, and green (which are actually unripe red peppers).
Bell peppers have thin skin and crisp, juicy flesh with flavors that range from slightly bitter and grassy, to mildly sweet and citrusy.
Fresh, frozen, roasted (jarred), and dehydrated bell peppers are available at most grocery stores. You may even find bell pepper chips! Look for fresh peppers that are firm, with smooth skin and no wrinkles, brown spots, or soft spots.
They can be sliced and served raw in salads or as part of a crudité platter, but they also make a great addition to stir-fries, pizzas, pastas, and soups. Stuffed baked peppers are also an excellent weeknight meal!
These delicious fruits are small (about ½ centimeter in diameter) with dark, blue-purple skin and juicy, bright red pulp filled with tiny seeds (31). They look extremely similar to blueberries and are in fact sometimes called European blueberries.
Bilberries are very tart and acidic, so they’re often used to make jams, syrups, and baked goods, including pies and muffins. If you eat them fresh, they may stain your hands a deep crimson.
Nutritionally, bilberries are very similar to blueberries. They’re very high in anthocyanins — a group of purple-red antioxidants — and provide about 10 mg (11% DV) of vitamin C per 100 grams (11, 33, 34).
Their meat is a popular alternative to beef, although it tends to be leaner and has a stronger, grassier flavor.
Many grocery stores carry ground bison or bison steaks. It can also be purchased online, from specialty butcher shops, local farmers, or at farmers markets.
Use bison meat in recipes that call for beef, such as burgers, tacos, or meatballs. It’s also delicious in stews, chilis, and pasta dishes.
14. Bitter melon
Bitter melon, also called bitter gourd or balsam pear, is a type of fruit that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and grows mainly in tropical and subtropical regions (39).
It has a similar shape as a cucumber, but with thicker skin that’s covered in wart-like bumps. Inside, the off-white flesh is filled with large edible seeds that turn red as the fruit ripens.
Bitter melon is aptly named — it is quite bitter and astringent, without even a hint of sweetness. Because of this, it can be an acquired taste.
Look for bitter melon at farmers markets, Asian food markets, and specialty produce stores. It can also be purchased online here.
Despite being classified as a fruit, bitter melon is typically used more like a vegetable in stir-fries, soups, and curries.
15. Black beans
They are small, about ½ inch long, and oval-shaped with creamy white flesh and black skin that has a slightly purple hue.
Black beans have a mild, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness, and they soften but hold their shape well when cooked.
You can find black beans in most grocery stores, either in the dry bean section or in the canned bean aisle.
Black beans are perfect for a variety of dishes, such as chili, black bean soup, burritos, and even desserts like brownies and dessert hummus.
Blackberries are the dark, purple-black fruits produced by several species of shrubs belonging to the genus Rubus, which are native to North America and Europe (44).
Like raspberries, they are classified as an aggregate fruit, meaning they’re formed from one flower but are made up of clusters of smaller single-seeded fruits called drupelets (45).
Blackberries are juicy, sweet, and slightly tart when ripe, but they can be mouth-puckeringly sour if picked too soon.
Both fresh and frozen blackberries are typically available year-round at grocery stores in the United States. However, their peak season is from May to September.
Enjoy blackberries on their own, or toss a handful into smoothies, salads, and oatmeal bowls. They’re also perfect for making jams, syrups, cobblers, and other desserts.
17. Black-eyed peas
Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a type of legume that originated in Africa and are very popular in the American South (47).
They are small, tan-colored (or sometimes light green), and have a circular black spot on the side that resembles an eye.
Black-eyed peas have a mild, earthy flavor and firm texture that makes them a versatile ingredient in many dishes, such as Hoppin’ John, a Southern classic.
They are small (about 1 centimeter in diameter) and round, with dark blue-purple skin and pale green flesh.
Blueberries are known for their sweet, slightly tart flavor that pairs well with lemon, warm spices, and nuts.
There are many delicious ways to enjoy blueberries — blend them into a smoothie, add them to your salad, or bake them into muffins, pancakes, or pies.
19. Bok choy
Bok choy, also called pak choi or Chinese cabbage, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family and is very popular in Asian cuisine.
It has long, crunchy white stalks that resemble celery, and large, dark green leaves. The flavor is like a cross between cabbage and spinach, with a slightly peppery taste.
The term “baby bok choy” refers to bok choy that is harvested early — when the stalks and leaves are much smaller. It is more tender and delicate than regular bok choy.
Fresh bok choy can be found year-round at most supermarkets, as well as farmers’ markets and Asian food stores.
Both the leaves and the stalks are edible and are perfect for adding to soups and stir-fries, or simply steaming and serving on their own.
20. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are technically the seeds of the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), native to the Amazon rainforest in South America (55).
They are large (up to 2 inches long) with a very tough, dark brown shell that’s shaped somewhat like an orange segment.
Inside the shell, the edible kernel is ivory-colored with patches of papery brown skin. It has a smooth, buttery texture and a mild, nutty flavor.
Brazil nuts are often included in mixed nuts products but can also be purchased in the bulk section of supermarkets and health food stores, as well as online.
Enjoy Brazil nuts as a snack on their own, or add them to your favorite trail mix. They can also be chopped and used as a topping for oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles.
It is large (8-10 inches in diameter) and oblong with bumpy yellow-green or green-brown skin and starchy, cream-colored flesh that sweetens slightly as it ripens.
When fully ripe, breadfruit tastes a bit like freshly baked bread — hence the name — although its flavor and texture has also been compared to potatoes.
Breadfruit is available fresh or canned at Asian and Latin food markets, as well as specialty produce stores. It can also be purchased online here and here. You may find breadfruit chips for breadfruit flour for sale as well.
This unique fruit can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Try using it in curries, soups, and stews, as well as desserts like cakes and puddings.
Broccoli is a popular vegetable and member of the Brassica family, which includes other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, and cauliflower (62).
It resembles a miniature tree, with a thick green stem that branches out into small, darker green florets.
The tender florets are crunchy and have a bitter, peppery flavor that mellows out when cooked, while the stalk is fairly tough and has a milder flavor.
Both fresh and frozen broccoli are available at supermarkets. Look for bright green florets with no yellowing or browning, and avoid any that have wilted leaves. Also keep an eye out for broccoli leaves, which look similar to collard greens, but have a sweeter, more mild taste.
Broccoli florets can be enjoyed raw in salads or dipped in hummus. They can also be steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or roasted. Peel the stem and enjoy the tender inner portion and cook up the leaves as well if you can find them!
Broccolini, also sometimes called “baby broccoli,” is a hybrid vegetable created by crossing broccoli with gai lan (Chinese kale) (64).
It looks and tastes very similar to broccoli, but with thinner stalks, smaller florets, and a sweeter, milder flavor.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccolini is high in sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound that may help protect against cancer (65).
Fresh broccolini can be found in many supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and natural food stores.
Broccolini can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Some popular ways to prepare it include steaming, roasting, stir-frying, and eating it raw in salads.
24. Broccoli rabe
Broccoli rabe, also called broccoli raab or rapini, is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the Brassica family, and is believed to have originated in southern Italy (66).
It has dense, dark green leaves and thin stalks ending in small, clustered buds that resemble smaller broccoli florets, all of which are edible.
While the buds taste similar to broccoli, the leaves and stems are pungent and bitter, especially when eaten raw. Cooking is recommended to help to mellow these flavors. A quick blanch in boiling water before sautéing helps immensely.
Fresh broccoli rabe is available at many farmers’ markets and grocery stores, especially those with a wide selection of produce.
A popular way to prepare broccoli rabe is to sauté it with garlic and olive oil, but it can also be steamed, boiled, or roasted.
25. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica (cabbage) family, and are thought to have originated in Brussels, Belgium — hence their name (68).
They look like miniature cabbages — about an inch in diameter with tightly packed green leaves — and have an earthy, slightly bitter flavor.
While you can find fresh Brussels sprouts year-round, they’re in peak season from late August through March. Frozen Brussels sprouts are also available at most stores.
To prepare Brussels sprouts, remove any yellow or wilted leaves, then slice them in half lengthwise before steaming, roasting or sautéeing.
Raw Brussels sprouts can also be shredded and used in salads or slaws. If you’re not a fan of the slightly bitter taste, massaging the leaves with a bit of oil can help to mellow it out.
Buckwheat refers to the small, triangular seeds of plants belonging to the genus Fagopyrum, which grow mainly in the northern hemisphere (70).
It is classified as a pseudocereal, a group of seeds that have similar properties to cereal grains, both nutritionally and in the way they’re consumed (71).
When cooked, it has a chewy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor with just a hint of bitterness. Toasting the buckwheat groats before cooking is often recommended to enhance their flavor.
Despite its name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat and contains no gluten, making it a good choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Buckwheat can be used in a variety of recipes, including pilafs, salads, soups, and stuffings. It can also be ground into a flour and used to make pancakes, crepes, or pasta.
27. Buddha’s hand
Buddha’s hand (also known as finger citron) is a type of citron, a large citrus fruit with a very thick rind and little to no pulp (72).
Its unique shape somewhat resembles two hands in a prayer position, hence the name, or an octopus with lots of tentacles.
The fruit’s bright yellow rind is bittersweet and fragrant, with a scent like a cross between lemon and lavender, and inside it is filled with a very bitter, spongy white pith.
Buddha’s hand can be chopped and candied or zested and used in baked goods, salad dressings, infused salts, and cocktails.
28. Butter lettuce
Butter lettuce (also called Bibb lettuce) is a variety of head lettuce with bright green, buttery soft leaves arranged in a loosely formed head.
The tender leaves have a very mild flavor with just a hint of sweetness and pair well with vinaigrettes, fruits, and savory meats.
Like other lettuces, it is very low in calories and carbohydrates while providing a good amount of folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K (73).
At most supermarkets, you’ll find heads of butter lettuce packaged in plastic clamshell containers, and it is also sometimes included in bagged salad blends.
Because it doesn’t snap apart when bent, butter lettuce is the perfect leafy green for making wraps filled with taco meat, chicken salad, or even burgers.
29. Butternut squash
It is medium-sized (up to 12 inches long) and shaped like an elongated pear, with tan-colored skin and a seed-filled compartment in the wider end.
Its bright orange flesh tastes similar to sweet potatoes but has more of a nutty flavor and a softer, buttery texture when cooked.
Despite being classified as a winter squash, both fresh and frozen forms are typically sold year-round in the produce section of most supermarkets.
To enjoy butternut squash, simply cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and roast flesh-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet at 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes.
From bamboo shoots to butternut squash, there are plenty of delicious foods that start with the letter B.
We hope this list has inspired you to be adventurous and try some new foods, or to gain a new appreciation for some of the foods you already eat every day.
For more foodie inspiration, check out our full list of foods from A to Z.