Lettuce add these 89 yummy vegetables in Italian to your vocab

In my small town in Italy, Friday is market day. From 6 am, the streets of the center get closed off, and vans with all kinds of products line up and open their stands.

At the end of Via Campo, you find the food section: meats, fish, cheese… But mostly – vegetables! If you’re planning a visit to this beautiful boot-shaped country, you’ll likely shop in one of these markets for fresh produce.

And, well, I hate and also love to tell you that usually, no one there speaks excellent English! Learning the names of vegetables in Italian, then, is a must if you want to have this immersive market experience.

Italy is renowned for its healthy and delicious Mediterranean diet. And what are the main ingredients of this diet? Why, of course, la verdura (vegetables)!

Italian vegetable salad.

Free Italian vegetables poster

Print out this free and fun vegetables poster and stick it on your fridge. If you can memorize this list of some of the more popular vegetables in Italian, you'll be on your way to sounding like a local.

Free Italian vegetables poster.

Why you need to learn vegetables in Italian

Aside from the above example of a great Italian market experience, there are more reasons to learn the names of vegetables in Italian, especially if you’re a food enthusiast!

Many world-famous chefs are Italian, and naming dishes in Italian has been a thing for years. For example, if you eat a parmigiana di melanzane, you need to know that melanzana means eggplant!

If you like having fun in the kitchen, knowing vegetables in Italian will allow you to follow authentic Italian recipes and improve two skills simultaneously: your vocab and cooking!

Last but not least, knowing vegetables in Italian will allow you to travel around Italy, order at restaurants and pizzerias, and even talk about your favorite Italian dishes with native speakers. Trust me, improving your vocab is never a bad idea. You’ll be surprised how useful knowing how to say cabbage in Italian can be!

In this article, we’ll look at the names of as many veggies in Italian as you can imagine, and we’ll give you the phonetic pronunciation too.

Even your friend’s grandma who doesn’t speak a word of English will know how much you loved her orecchiette alle cime di rapa!

List of vegetables in Italian

So, let’s start with our list of vegetables in Italian. By the way, the words for vegetable are “verdura” or “ortaggio”, which comes from the word “orto(vegetable garden).

On the other hand, the adjective vegetable is “vegetale” in Italian. So, if you want a veggie burger, you’d order “un hamburger vegetale” or “un hamburger di verdure”. (Yes, I know there’s no ham in it – but this is how we say it anyway!)

Let’s start!

Root vegetables in Italian

Here is a list of the main root vegetables you can find in Italy. They are called radici (roots) or ortaggi a radice.

English Italian Pronunciation
Beetroot Barbabietola bahr-bah-byeh-toh-lah
Carrot Carota cah-roh-tah
Celeriac Sedano rapa seh-dah-noh rah-pah
Parsnip Pastinaca pass-tee-nah-kah
Daikon Daikon da-ee-kon
Radish Ravanello rah-vah-nell-loh
Salsify root Scorzobianca skorr-tsoh-byan-cah
Parsley root Radice di prezzemolo rah-dee-che dee pre-tse-moh-loh
Swede Cavolo navone cah-voh-loh nah-voh-neh
Turnip Rapa rah-pah
Horseradish Rafano rah-fah-noh

Tuber vegetables in Italian

Let’s now look at the tuberi.

Artichoke and tuber vegetables in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation
Cassava Manioca mah-nyoh-kah
Earth Gems Ulluco ooll-loo-coh
Jerusalem Artichoke Topinambur toh-pee-nam-boor
Kumara Patata dolce / batata pah-tah-tah doll-che / bah-tah-tah
Potatoes Patata pah-tah-tah
Taro root Taro tah-roh
Yam Igname ee-nya-meh

Bulb vegetables in Italian

Bulb vegetables are those you use for making a good soffritto (mirepoix) for a pasta sauce or a risotto. Don’t forget to buy lots of them if you’re planning on learning Italian recipes!

Here they are.

Gerlic and bulb vegetables in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation
Fennel bulb Grumolo del finocchio groo-moh-loh dell fee-noh-kyoh
Garlic Aglio ah-llioh
Leek Porro porr-roh
Onion Cipolla chee-poll-lah
Shallot Scalogno ska-loh-nyoh
Spring Onion Cipollotto chee-poll-lot-toh

Stems and shoots in Italian

Let’s continue with stems and shoots in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation
Asparagus Asparago ah-spa-rah-goh
Bamboo shoots Germoglio di bambù gerr-moh-llyoh dee bahm-booh
Celery stalks Sedano seh-dah-noh
Kohlrabi Cavolo rapa cah-vo-loh rah-pah
Fennel Ficocchio fee-noh-kyoh
Cardoon Cardo carr-doh
Rhubarb Rabarbaro rah-bar-bah-roh

Flower vegetables in Italian

Flower vegetables are plants in which the flowers are eaten. In the following table you’ll find these ortaggi a fiore. Which one is your favourite?

English Italian Pronunciation
Artichoke Carciofo carr-choh-foh
Broccoflower Cavolo romanesco cah-voh-loh roh-mah-ness-koh
Broccoli Broccolo broh-koh-loh
Broccolini Broccoletto broh-koh-let-toh
Cauliflower Cavolfiore cah-voll-fyoh-reh
Asparagus Asparago a-spa-rah-goh
Courgette flower Fiore di zucca fee-oh-reh dee dzuk-kah
Gai lan Cavolo cinese cah-voh-loh chee-neh-seh
Turnip greens Cime di rapa chee-meh dee rah-pah

Fungi and mushrooms in Italian

Mushroom are a big thing in Italy. When autumn comes, everyone in the countryside picks up their stick and basket and goes to the woods in search of our delicious funghi (foon-ghee). Out of season, you can always find dried or frozen ones at markets or supermarkets.

Truffle and mushroom risotto in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation
Field mushroom Prataioli prah-tah-yoh-lee
Boletus Porcini porr-chee-nee
Chanterelle Finferli feen-ferr-lee
Honey mushroom Chiodini kyoh-dee-nee
Parasol mushroom Mazze di tamburo mats-tse dee tahm-boo-roh
Pioppino mushroom Pioppini pyop-pee-nee
Truffle Tartufo tarr-too-foh
Oyster mushroom Funghi ostrica foon-ghee oss-tree-cah
Ovolo mushroom Ovoli oh-voh-lee
Champignon Champignon sham-pee-nyonn

Leaves in Italian

Here are the most common leaves you can find in an italian insalata (salad), and in many other delicious dishes!

English Italian Pronunciation
Bok choy Bok choy / cavolo cinese cah-voh-loh chee-neh-zeh
Brussel sprouts Cavoletti di Bruxelles cah-voh-let-tee dee broo-xell
Cabbage Cavolo cah-voh-loh
Red cabbage Cavolo cappuccio cah-voh-loh cah-pooh-choh
Savoy cabbage Verza verr-dzah
Cavolo nero Cavolo nero cah-voh-loh neh-roh
Kale Cavolo riccio cah-voh-loh reech-choh
Lettuce Lattuga laht-tooh-gah
Radicchio Radicchio rah-deek-kyoh
Chard Bietola byeh-toh-lah
Sorrel Acetosella ah-che-toh-zell-lah
Spinach Spinaci spee-nah-chee
Water spinach Spinaci d’acqua Spee-nah-chee dah-kwah
Taro leaves Taro tah-roh
Watercress Crescione creh-shoh-neh
Rocket Rucola roo-koh-lah
Valerian Valeriana vah-leh-ryah-nah
Catalogna Puntarelle poon-tah-rell-leh
Chicory Cicoria chee-koh-ryah
Endive Indivia een-dee-vyah
Curly Endive Indivia riccia een-dee-vyah reech-chah

Fruit vegetables in Italian

Let’s now make a list of the most common “fruit” vegetables in Italian. Here you’ll find vegetables that are actually fruits, botanically speaking of course. These include the typical Mediterranean veggies, like courgette and aubergine (eggplant). We put them all in the singular.

Eggplant and fruit vegetables in Italian.

English Italian Pronunciation
Courgette Zucchina dzook-kee-nah
Cucumber Cetriolo che-tree-oh-loh
Tomato Pomodoro poh-moh-doh-roh
Cherry tomato Pomodorino poh-moh-doh-ree-noh
Pumpkin Zucca dzuk-kah
Chilli Peperoncino peh-peh-ron-chee-noh
Pepper Peperone peh-peh-roh-neh
Eggplant Melanzana meh-lann-tsa-nah
Marrow Zucca dzuk-kah
Okra Gombo gomm-boh
Plantain Banana verde bah-nah-nah verr-deh

Remember, the plural of zucchina is not zucchini! It is actually zucchine (dzuk-kee-neh), as it is a feminine noun.

Seeds and legumes in Italian

Here you find i legumi in Italian, which are legumes or seeds. We put them in their plural form in the table, as they are not often used in the singular.

English Italian Pronunciation
Beans Fagioli fah-djoh-lee
Broad beans Fave fah-veh
French beans Fagiolini fah-djoh-lee-nee
Chickpeas Ceci che-chee
Peas Piselli pee-zell-lee
Lentils Lenticchie lenn-teek-kyeh
Sweetcorn Mais mah-eess

Tip: In some parts of Italy, pisello (pea) is a childish name for male genitals!

Italian proverbs and slang with vegetables

Here are some curious Italian proverbs and expressions with vegetables!

Italian expression English translation
Le melanzane son le cotolette dell’orto. Eggplants are the steaks of the garden.
Patate e peperoni son per tempi tristi e buoni. Potatoes and peppers are for good and sad times.
Il ravanello fa il viso bello. Radish makes your face beautiful.
Il miglior ortaggio è la gallina. The best vegetable is chicken.

Verdure per tutti!

The best thing to do now is to go out and practice your new Italian vocabulary. Go to the market and buy verdure per tutti (veggies for all)!

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