Maybe you’ll discover a food you never knew existed, or maybe you’ll ace your next game of trivia after learning about these 50 Foods That Start with “A”!
Give me an “A”! It’s time to put your food trivia to the test. How many foods come to mind that begin with the letter A? In case you’re curious as to just how many foods out there begin with the first letter of the alphabet, we’ve put together a comprehensive list!
From fruits and vegetables to sauces, spices, meats and desserts, the foods on this list span cuisines and continents. Betcha didn’t know this many foods could start with an A!
Fruits, Nuts & Vegetables
Let’s get started on our list of foods that begin with A! Below are all the fruits, nuts, and veggies beginning with the first letter of the alphabet.
The first food on the list, asparagus is a perennial veggie that grows in long spears, cooked tender for eating by steaming, sautéing, roasting, or otherwise. Asparagus is green and earthy, used in everything from salads, to vegetable sides, to soups and pastas.
Did you know that asparagus helps with hangovers? Made up mostly of water for hydration, asparagus is also a diuretic – meaning the amino acids in the spears help to protect the liver, breaking down alcohol and other toxins.
Ah, the avocado. Known for guacamole and the millennial obsession with avocado toast, you’ll recognize an avocado by its creamy, often bright green flesh. Avocados are the egg-shaped fruit of the avocado tree that’s native to South America, known to have loads of health benefits! High in potassium, monounsaturated fats, fiber and folate, and used in salads, smoothies, salsas, baking, or even ice cream. Avocados even have their own natural packaging, in the form of tough, bumpy skin!
Artichoke is one of the oldest known foods! They’re from the same family as sunflowers, and artichokes themselves are actually an un-bloomed flower. You may have had artichokes cooked alone, or in variations of the ever popular spinach and artichoke dip. You’ll also find them on pizzas, in pastas, and in soups and stews!
Also known as “rocket”, arugula is a leafy green with a spicy, peppery flavor. You’ll find it as a fresh ingredient in arugula salads, in pesto, and also as a garnish on everything from breakfast dishes to pizzas! Arugula is a not-so-distant distant cousin of other healthy greens like cabbage and kale.
If you don’t know it as “aubergine” or “brinjal”, you may know it by its other name: eggplant! Eggplant is a nightshade, in the same family as peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes, most often purple in color. You’ll find it in many cuisines from Indian to Middle Eastern, to Italian, in dishes like soups, baba ganoush, and vegetarian eggplant parmesan!
Apricots are closely related to peaches and plums, with similarly soft fuzzy skin and sweet, juicy flesh. You can eat them fresh or dried, and as a compliment to chicken, baked into desserts, or preserved as jams and sauces. High in vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, there’s more to the apricot than meets the eye!
Possibly the first food to come to mind that starts with “A”, apples are a hugely popular fruit across the US and North America – and, let’s be honest, worldwide! Apples come in shades of red, green, and yellow, used in pies and desserts, apple juice, apple sauce, in savory dishes, and beyond. Fun fact: There’s over 2,500 species of apple trees grown in the US, yet the crabapple tree is the only one that’s native to North America!
Acorn squash is a winter squash, and for this reason you’ll often see it kicking around at Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes stuffed or roasted. Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, it gets its name from its shape, which resembles an acorn. While summer squashes tend to be sweeter, the acorn squash has an earthier, nuttier flavor.
Almonds & Almond Butter
You can snack on them, blend them, toast them, milk them, or spread them in almond butter – almonds are a versatile little seed! Even though many people consider them nuts, almonds are in fact a seed of the almond tree, native to Iran. They’re useful in everything from desserts, to breakfast!
Allspice is a tropical berry with a flavor along the same lines as cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. The dried berries are usually ground into a spice to use in desserts like spice cakes, cookies, and even in recipes like pancakes!
It’s the food that everyone loves, but that no one can seem to pronounce! Acai (ah-sah-EE) is a berry with a reputation as a superfood, included in healthy recipes like acai bowls, smoothies, and snacks.
They say hay is for horses, but not in this case! Alfalfa sprouts are a healthy green garnish (you may know them as microgreens) found in dishes like salads, sandwiches, and stir fries. They have a nice crunch and grassy flavor, and are actually super high in good-for-you vitamins!
If you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, you may already be familiar with the next “A” on this list! Aloe vera is a tropical plant with soothing properties, used for millennia to treat burns and skin irritations. Some, though not all, varieties of aloe vera gel are also edible. You can find aloe vera juices in many health shops, and it’s becoming more and more known for its health benefits!
Arrowroot is a starchy root vegetable that you’ll most commonly see sold as a powder. The powder is especially useful in gluten-free recipes, as a thickener and as a replacement for regular wheat flour.
If you happen to live in an area with lots of oak trees, you’ve likely seen a blanket of acorns on the ground come fall. But did you know that acorns are edible? Now, before you go foraging for all those acorns outside, it’s important to know that preparation is key! Rarely eaten raw, acorns can have many health benefits after boiling or soaking.
The protein-packed adzuki bean is common to East Asia, known for being high in nutrients. You’ll find it in ingredients like red bean paste (the most common color of adzuki beans is red), and both sweet and savory recipes. Because they’re so high in protein, this makes adzuki beans a good replacement for meat in vegetarian diets.
Spices, Sauces & Condiments
Next up, spices and condiments that start with the letter A, plus some sauces for good measure.
All Spice comes from grinding dried allspice berries. Like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, all spice brings a warm flavor to all kinds of desserts and recipes. It’s also a common ingredient alongside these spices in “mixed spice”, a.k.a. Pumpkin pie spice!
You’ll often see agave syrup by its marketing name, agave nectar. It’s a sweet syrup that comes from the blue agave plant, famously used in making tequilas and as a natural sweetener. You can use agave as a sugar-free alternative in recipes like drinks and cocktails!
Anise is an herb known for its seeds and oils. These have a very distinct liquorice-like flavor (along the same lines as fennel and caraway seeds). It’s not the same as star anise, though the taste and smell is similar. Aniseed is traditionally a medicine, but is now used as a sweet flavoring in things like liqueurs, candies, baked goods, and mulled ciders.
While it’s edible, asafoetida resin (or sap) isn’t so appealing thanks to a bitter taste and even more off-putting smell! Drawn from the root of a Ferula plant, it’s common to grind up the dried sap to use for its medicinal properties, as opposed to its flavor. However, Indian cuisine uses the powder for seasoning, where the taste becomes more similar to garlic once cooked.
You may have come to know alfredo sauce as an extra rich, white cream sauce used in famous dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo. Fun fact: the original Italian dish didn’t have any cream in it at all! Traditional Alfredo tosses pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, where the cheese emulsifies as it melts, becoming a sauce with a creamy, silky texture.
Another classic Italian pasta sauce, spicy Arrabbiata is a simple recipe made from olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and dried chili peppers. The sauce hails from Rome, and the word arrabbiata actually means “angry” in Italian, or spiciness to the extreme – fitting, don’t you think?
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common pantry staple, used often in salad dressings and vinaigrettes, along with sauces and marinades. Cider vinegar also brings a nice sweet acidity to the mix in a host of other recipes!
Dairy, Sides & Grains
When it comes to foods that start with A, we can’t overlook dairy, side dishes, and grains.
If you live in the US, you’re probably no stranger to American cheese. This processed national treasure is made from mild cheeses like cheddar and Colby, and usually comes in individually wrapped, uniformly square sheets. With its salty and creamy flavor, American cheese is a signature of grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese burgers, and even dips, too.
Many of us grew up eating applesauce as an afternoon snack! Applesauce is pureed apples, sometimes spiced with add-ins like cinnamon, that’s super popular in the States and in Europe. You can make applesauce at home, and eat it by itself, or pair it with savory dishes like chicken or pork.
This is an Italian, short-grain rice used in risottos. Arborio grains have a distinctly firm and creamy texture compared to other rice varieties, thanks to a naturally higher starch content (this is what gives a risotto it’s silky mouthfeel!). The rice is named after a town in the Piedmont region of Italy.
A staple of Indian cuisine (and Indian takeaway!) Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian dish with cauliflower and potatoes cooked with tomatoes, onions, and spices. The yellow color comes from turmeric!
While we’re on the subject of alphabetical foods, let’s not forget alphabet soup! This is a nostalgic canned soup with noodles shaped like the letters of the alphabet, swimming in a rich tomato gravy.
If you’ve never heard of amaranth, now’s the time! Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that’s high in protein and fiber, recognized for its nutritional benefits. It’s been a staple of Mexican and South American cuisine for thousands of years.
Meat Dishes that Start with an A
Next up, meaty mains and more foods that start with A!
“Ahi” is a Hawaiian term for both yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna. You’ve likely seen it on seafood menus and as the fish used in making sushi! There are loads of ways to prepare ahi tuna – as steaks, seared and served alone or in salad, among others.
We’re going all around the world with this list of foods that start with A. Next up: the Philippines, with tangy, garlicky chicken adobo. This Filipino dish consists of braised chicken thighs or drumsticks cooked in a combination of soy sauce, garlic, vinegar and pepper until they’re deliciously tender.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, anchovies are a popular food that starts with A! These tiny, salty fish are sometimes salt-cured and canned, served over pizzas or in pasta dishes. You’ll also likely come across anchovies in condiments like Caesar salad dressing. Some people find their umami flavor overwhelming, while others can’t get enough!
Angus beef is known for its impressive marbling and high quality flavor. This is why burger joints and steakhouses are quick to advertise “Angus beef” as a selling point! The fatty marbling keeps the beef moist while it cooks, and as a result the beef is especially tender and juicy.
A Greek lemon chicken soup made with – aside from lots of lemon and chicken – beaten eggs and broth. The zesty flavor and cozy creaminess lends itself to avgolemono sauce as well.
Aguachile is an authentic Mexican dish that’s essentially a shrimp ceviche. Prepared with raw shrimp (or sometimes scallops) marinated in chili, lime juice, cilantro, salt, along with diced or sliced cucumbers and onions.
Arroz con huevos
A.k.a. Rice with eggs! Arroz con huevos is a traditional Spanish breakfast consisting of eggs served over spicy cooked rice. The rice is mixed with hot pepper sauce, onions, and tomatoes, and the heat levels can be adapted to preference.
Albondigas (“meatballs” in Spanish) are small beef meatballs prepared with rice to bind the ingredients together. They’re the main ingredient in albondigas soup, and also included in stews or served over rice.
Alligator meat isn’t exactly a popular menu item, but is edible nonetheless! The meat has a mild flavor that’s a bit like chicken, with a chewier texture. Creative chefs have fried alligator meat popcorn chicken-style, while other recipes see it grilled and served with dipping sauces.
Desserts that Start with an A
Polish off an alphabet-themed meal with these sweet foods that start with A!
Everyone loves a sweet and spiced, homemade apple pie! A classic dessert, apple pie frequently makes an appearance at many Thanksgiving tables when apples are in season. But it’s just as delicious all year round!
A classic apple strudel is a layered flaky pastry filled with buttery apple filling, spices, and raisins. This Viennese strudel is a familiar sight in bakery windows all over, and the name “strudel” is actually German for “whirlpool”!
Apple Crisp and Crumble
Another quintessential autumn dessert recipe, apple crisp is likely neck-and-neck with apple crumble as a Thanksgiving favorite! A bit like a deconstructed apple pie, apple crisp has a crunchy oatmeal topping, while apple crumble usually has a sugary streusel.
Apple dumplings are an old-fashioned dessert, made with juicy apple centers wrapped up in pastry and baked in a spiced syrup. Not your classical savory dumpling, but really just as yummy!
Angel Food Cake
Angel food cake is a light, sweet sponge cake, different from other cakes since it’s made without butter! You can serve it as a classic angel food cake, or dress it up with fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or even pineapple!
For those after-dinner moments when you feel like combining dessert with your coffee! Affogato al caffe is an Italian-style dessert in the form of a scoop of gelato or vanilla ice cream soaked in a shot of espresso.
Beverages that Start with an A
Just a few casual beverages featuring our star letter!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so why not a glass of apple juice? Apples are free from cholesterol and saturated fats while being loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, making them one of the healthiest fruits there is!
Fancy a pint of the letter A? Ale is a kind of beer that’s warm fermented, giving it a sweeter, fruity taste. Beer itself is a drink that’s thousands of years old, documented as far as 5000 years back in ancient Mesopotamia! Nowadays, uses for beer in food has broadened to soups, marinades, and beer-battered recipes.
Not a true martini, but a beloved cocktail nonetheless! Appletinis are classically made with a combination of vodka, apple liqueur, and cointreau. However, dozens of versions exist, pairing other ingredients with the vodka like apple juice, and even apple brandy.
Pronounced “ah-TOH-leh”, this is a popular, traditional Mexican drink made with sugar cane and cinnamon steeped in hot water, thickened with masa harina (corn flour) and made creamy with milk. Atole often makes an appearance during Day of the Dead celebrations. A chocolate version also exists, called champurrado or atole.
You’ve likely heard it yelled out at Starbucks, but an Americano coffee isn’t just another black coffee. Caffè Americano is a classic coffee drink made from espresso that’s diluted with hot water. This gives it a similar appearance to filter or brewed coffee, with a bolder, espresso taste!
Be sure to check out the recipe finder for even more absolutely amazing, awesome foods that start with A (and the rest of the alphabet for that matter)!