Vocabulary Words for Vegetables in Spanish

Various fresh vegetables on the shelves at the grocery store.

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If you were a botanist, you might call vegetables vegetales in Spanish. If you were a culinary expert, you'd probably say verduras or, less commonly, hortalizas. But whatever you call them, knowing the names of vegetables can come in handy if you're poring over a restaurant menu or want to eat a balanced diet where Spanish is spoken.

Talk About Vegetables in Spanish

Here are the names of the most common vegetables (and some foods that are often thought of as such, even if they technically don't fit the definition), along with a few of the uncommon ones:

A-B

artichoke: la alcachofa

arugula: la rúcula, la rúgula

asparagus: los espárragos (The singular form esparrago is used to refer to asparagus as a plant, while the plural is used for asparagus as a food.)

avocado: el aguacate, la palta (The English word comes from the Spanish avocado, which is no longer widely used.)

bamboo shoots: los tallos de bambú (In other contexts, a tallo is a stem or stalk.)

bean: la judía, la haba, la habichuela, el frijol

beet: la remolacha

bell pepper: el pimiento, el ají

bok choy: la col china

broccoli: el brécol, el bróculi

Brussels sprouts: la col de Bruselas

C-G

cabbage: la col, el repollo (Many of the Spanish names for cabbage-related vegetables include col, which comes from the Latin caulis and is a cognate of the "cole" in "coleslaw.")

carrot: la zanahoria (The Spanish word can also refer to the plant itself, not just the root.)

cassava: la yuca, la mandioca, la casava, la casabe

cauliflower: la coliflor

celery: el apio

chard: la acelga

chickpea, garbanzo: el garbanzo, el chícharo

chicory: la achicoria

chives: cebollino, cebolleta, cebollín

corn (American English): el maíz

cucumber: el pepino (Pepino can also refer to various types of small melons.)

dandelion: el diente de león (The word literally means "lion's tooth.")

eggplant: la berenjena

endive: la endivia, la endibia (Because the Spanish b and v have the same pronunciation, the two variations are pronounced alike.)

escarole: la escarola

garlic: el ajo

ginger: el jengibre

green pepper: el pimiento verde, el ají verde

J-P

Jerusalem artichoke: el tupinambo, la pataca, la papa de Jerusalén

jicama: la jícama

kale: la col crespa, la col rizada, el kale

leek: el puerro

lentil: la lenteja

lettuce: la lechuga

mushroom: el champiñón, el hongo

mustard: la mostaza

okra: el quingombó

onion: la cebolla

parsley: el perejil

parsnip: la chirivía, la pastinaca

pea: el guisante, la arveja, el chícharo

potato: la patata, la papa

pumpkin: la calabaza

R-Z

radish: el rábano

red pepper: el pimiento rojo, el ají rojo

rhubarb: el ruibarbo, el rapóntico

rutabaga, swede: el nabo sueco (literally, Swedish turnip)

shallot: el chalote, el ajo chalote

sorrel: la acedera

soybean: la semilla de soja (Semilla is the word for seed.)

spinach: las espinacas (The singular form espinaca is used to refer to spinach as a plant, while the plural is used for spinach as a food.)

squash: la cucurbitácea

string beans: las habas verdes

sweet potato: la batata

tapioca: la tapioca

tomatillo: el tomatillo

tomato: el tomate

turnip: el nabo

water chestnut: la castaña de agua, el abrojo acuático

watercress: el berro

yam: el ñame, el boniato, la batata, el yam

zucchini: el calabacín

Vocabulary Notes

Not all vegetables are classified identically in the two languages. For example, not all the coles are thought of by most English speakers as cabbages, and not all beans would be thought of by Spanish speakers as habas. Also, as in English, names of some vegetables can vary with region or because of how they're prepared.

A vegetarian diet can be referred to as a régimen vegetariano or dieta vegetariana, and a vegetarian is a vegetariano or vegetariana. A vegan is a vegetariano estricto, although the term may not be understood in all places without an explanation.

Preparing Vegetables

Following is a selection of verbs used in discussing methods of preparing vegetables. Also, the verbs cocer and cocinar can be used generically to refer to many methods of cooking.

boil: hervir
braise, stew: hervir a fuego lento, estofar
fry: freír
grill: asar/hacer a la parrilla
pickle: encurtir
roast, bake: asar
sauté, stir-fry: saltear
steam: cocer/cocinar al vapor