3 Whole Foods That Start With I

Looking for an extensive list of whole foods that start with the letter I? 

Look no further, we’ve got you covered!

Browse this list of 3 foods that start with I 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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One whole head of iceberg lettuce and one head cut in half on a white background

1. Iceberg lettuce

Iceberg lettuce (also known as crisphead lettuce) is a variety of head lettuce that grows in a spherical shape, similar to cabbage.

It has leaves that vary in color — the outer leaves are brighter green and thin, while the inner leaves tend to be thicker and pale.

Iceberg lettuce is well-loved for its crisp, crunchy texture and mild, subtly sweet flavor. It also has a high water content, making it a great choice for hot summer days.                               

One cup (57 grams) of chopped iceberg lettuce provides 8 calories, 1.7 grams of carbs, and 0.7 grams of fiber, along with a small amount of several vitamins and minerals (1). 

You can find heads of iceberg lettuce, as well as pre-cut bagged options, in the produce section of most grocery stores.

Iceberg lettuce can be quartered for wedge salad, chopped and tossed into salads, or separated into individual leaves to use for lettuce wraps and sandwiches.

Two whole ice cream bean pods and one split in half to reveal the fuzzy white covered black seeds

2. Ice cream bean

Ice cream bean (Inga edulis) is a legume native to Central and South America, although it is often referred to as a fruit because of its sweet taste (2).

It comes in long green pods that open up to reveal 10-20 dark purple seeds, covered in white, cottony flesh.

The flesh can be scraped or sucked off of the seeds and eaten raw — it melts in your mouth like cotton candy, with a flavor similar to vanilla ice cream. 

Underneath the flesh, you’ll find 10-20 dark purple seeds that have a bean-like flavor and texture. They must be cooked (typically roasted or boiled) before eating.

Ice cream bean is very rare in the United States, but can be purchased online and is sometimes available at farmers markets on the west coast.

Pile of dried indian bay leaves on a wooden background

3. Indian bay leaf

Indian bay leaf, also called tej patta or cassia leaf, is an herb harvested from the Indian cassia tree (Cinnamomum tamala), an evergreen native to India (3). 

The bay leaves found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores are unrelated to Indian bay leaves. Instead, they come from the bay laurel tree (Laurus nobilis).

Indian bay leaves are larger and olive green in color, with three veins that run the length of the leaf. They have a warm, peppery flavor similar to cinnamon and cloves.

Look for dried Indian bay leaves at Indian food markets and specialty spice shops, or purchase online here.

Indian bay leaf is most popular in India, where it is used to season a variety of dishes, including curries, meats, and rice dishes.

Final Thoughts

From iceberg lettuce to Indian bay leaf, there are plenty of delicious foods that start with the letter I.

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. 

Comment below to let us know which of these foods are your favorites, and how you use them in the kitchen!

Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today.  Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.

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