There are foods starting with W from every corner of the globe.
They come in every variety and fall into each layer of the food pyramid (you remember learning that grade school staple, the food pyramid?).
Fruits. Grains. Incredibly complex dishes. If it starts with W, it’s fair game.
So, here are 40 foods that start with W, where we tell you what they are and how they can be prepared and served. You’ll also find some interesting W food-related facts!
The List: 40 Foods That Start With W
Waakye is local to West Africa. It’s a food that derives its name from a Hausa word, from the Hausa people in Northwest Nigeria.
To make Waakye, beans are boiled, and then sorghum leaves are added, which turn the dish red. It can be eaten as is or paired with salads and noodles.
Waakye contains nine times more antioxidants than cooked white rice and is eaten at breakfast or for an evening meal. It’s believed that regularly eating waakye reduces heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Wadi is a traditional Indian vegetarian food, consisting of sundried dumplings made from ground lentils. Lentils are rich in protein and other nutrients. There are various Wadi dishes.
For example, you can have Punjabi wadi or Kashmiri wadi.
The dumplings are spiced, sun-dried, and stored in airtight glass jars to be eaten in summer. Wadi can be roasted or stir-fried to make a snack, and the dumplings are often found in curries and soups, as well.
The waffle is a cake made on an iron griddle with a honeycombed surface. Waffles originated from the old French word “gaufre – wafla.” There are two types of waffles based on the ingredients used: thin and crisp or fluffy and soft. American waffles are served for breakfast with fruit and maple syrup.
They can also be paired with chicken, fish, bacon, or even ice cream (especially on dessert waffles). Potato waffles are more common in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where they’re called potato pancakes.
These waffles are rich in nutrition and complemented with cheese, sour cream, diced tomato, onions, and carrots.
Wagashi is a Japanese dessert. It’s a plant-based dessert made from rice flour, beans, and sugar.
They are often filled with brown sugar or sweet potato, cherry blossoms, or chocolate. Wagashi provides calcium which makes the bones stronger and helps protect the heart from diseases.
Wagashi is a name that represents various seasons and Japanese festivities. In Japanese culture, wagashi sweets and cake are significant and given as gifts during festivals or as special gifts for one’s guests.
Wakame is an edible seaweed used in Asian dishes. It is deep green, available in two forms: dried and salted. Wakame is served in soups, salads, and as a side dish to seafood. Its origin can be traced to Japan and Korea, first domesticated as food and vegetables. Wakame is a good source of fatty acids and minerals. Only certain types of seawater produce wakame. That water must be cold and coastal, usually in the Northwest Pacific Ocean.
6. Waldorf Salad
The Waldorf salad is a classic American salad named after the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York where it was first served in 1893.
The salad consists of diced, red-skinned apples, celery, mayonnaise, and chopped walnuts. Some people add salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, honey, or yogurt.
However, when the salad debuted at a charity ball, it only had three ingredients. It was made of apples, celery, and mayo. No more and no less.
It has evolved, with many home cooks’ family recipes calling for the addition of grapes, olive oil, and champagne vinegar. Even at the Waldorf Hotel, there’s been a change.
They now serve the salad with a finishing sprinkle of truffle oil.
7. Wall Lettuce
Wall lettuce originates from Southern Europe and Western Asia and is known as the Lactuca muralis plant. Its leaves are black or brown and the plant grows in cancerous soils and walls in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont in the US.
Although the leaves are quite bitter, they can be eaten raw in a mixed salad. Be careful whom you recommend wall lettuce to, though.
Many gardeners strongly believe that wall lettuce should be classified as a noxious weed, not cultivated for consumption. To be fair, on a scale of one to five inedibility, wall lettuce only rates at a two.
Walnuts, also known as Juglans regia, were first cultivated in California in late 1700 by Franciscan friars.
You can eat them raw, toasted, or soaked. Walnuts are excellent in both sweet and savory dishes.
On their own, walnuts make a perfect snack.
They’re also delicious in salads and certain desserts. It’s a nut with extremely healthy benefits such as omega-3 fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
They have very few carbs, mostly fiber, and are high in protein, making them great for weight-conscious people.
When you’re eating walnuts, keep this in mind.
You’re eating something the ancients would have recognized and even praised you for. Both the Greeks and Romans of antiquity used walnuts medicinally.
Wasabi is a spice also known as Japanese horseradish in the family of Brassicaceae.
The stem of the wasabi is ground into a paste and used as a pungent condiment for sushi and other foods. Wasabi plants are rare, making them expensive.
Wasabi that is served in the US restaurants is mostly made from a combination of horseradish, mustard flour, cornstarch, and green food color to look like the real wasabi.
Wasabi has picked up in popularity in recent years.
Now it is used much farther than just on sushi. You can find recipes for wasabi mayo, wasabi mashed potatoes, and fajitas made in a wasabi marinade with a quick online search.
10. Water biscuits
Water biscuits are also known as crackers.
A popular snack in North America, they are served with cheese or wine and have some health benefits.
Another popular method of enjoying water biscuits is alongside soup, where they are buttered and dipped in savory broths.
Water biscuits were first baked and sold in 1801 in Milton, Massachusetts.
They are hard and brittle because no shortening or fats are added to the dough. These biscuits became famous because of their long preservation during sea voyages. Water biscuits contain 5% fat and no sugar – a mark in the plus column for health-conscious people.
11. Water Caltrop
Water caltrop or Trapa natans is a Chinese herb known as water chestnut. It is an aquatic nut with fruit pods that resemble a bull’s head which can be found growing in marshy land.
The nuts are boiled and peeled and the starch inside of the fruit is eaten.
The water caltrop can be eaten as is or stirred into dumplings and rice dishes. It is said that water caltrops can help fevers and cure hangovers.
Water chestnuts grow in Asia, tropical Africa, and Oceania.
Watercress is a vegetable first cultivated in the UK in 1800. It grows in watery beds and is part of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables which includes kales and cabbage.
It can be eaten raw, simply tossed into a salad, or combined with other veggies and a light dressing. It tastes delicious in soup, stew, and stir-fries.
Watercress has a peppery taste, but once cooked, the pepperiness diminishes. It is leafy green and packed with nutrients but low in calories. Watercress is a super vegetable highly ranked on the US C
enters for Disease Control Powerhouse fruits and vegetable list. Regularly eating watercress will boost a person’s blood level and immune system.
13. Watergate salad
If you’re wondering, Watergate salad is not a nutritious green salad. In fact, the Watergate salad has many names, including “Shut the Gate,” “Green Fluff,” or “Green Stuff,” and many more.
This dish is a combination of pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped topping, crushed pecans, and marshmallows. All this is covered with fresh cream and not for those on a diet.
The dish originated in the early ’70s when ‘fluff’ style dishes were all the rage. A sister concoction, known as Dreamsicle Fluff Salad, also got its start around this time.
A final dish in this fluffy trinity of weirdness is Ambrosia salad, which also utilizes whipped cream and marshmallows.
Watermelon is a very juicy fruit made up of 92% water.
It is scientifically known as Citrullus lanatus and is the fruit of a vine-like plant of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae and native to Africa. Watermelon grows in warmer parts of the world and is a popular summer staple.
Watermelon is eaten stand-alone or with fruit salads, desserts, or even cheese dishes.
It helps with hydration and aids in keeping skin healthy and glowing. Watermelon is packed with nutrients and may have anticancer effects.
Waterzooi is a classic Flanders dish originally made with fish or meat.
It also frequently includes carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, and cream sauce.
It is one of those rare dishes that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or supper and has become quite popular.
Waterzooi is rich in fatty acids and proteins that help the body build and repair muscles, bone, skin, and blood cells.
Few comfort foods can claim such health benefits, but the Belgian waterzooi is both a tasty experience to eat as well as good for the body.
Wazwan is a multi-course cultural meal in Kashmiri cuisine. Wazwan means to cook (waz) and shop (wan). Preparing wazwan is considered an art, and it’s traditionally cooked for special cultural festivals.
The multiple dishes consist of meatballs, kebab, full or half chickens, mutton in sweet milk gravy, rogan josh, and a few more. Depending on the luxuriousness of the event, a diner could receive anywhere from seven to 36 separate dishes making up the whole of the wazwan.
Nearly all the dishes will have a central meat component, including the final dish known as gushtaba.
17. Wedge salad
A wedge salad is prepared using a one-quarter cutting of whole iceberg lettuce. It’s served topped with blue cheese and crispy bacon crumbles.
A wedge salad is prepared by removing the outer leaves of iceberg lettuce, cutting it into four, and topping it with your favorite nuts and fruits.
The Wedge salad is traditionally served on its own and is a light and refreshing nutritious meal.
18. Welsh Onion
Welsh onion is an herb known as Allium fistulousm or bunchin onion.
The Welsh onion looks like the spring onion and tastes like chives.
It can be used in cooking or chopped into salads. Welsh onions can also be grown in your backyard garden.
There’s a unique dish that best features the Welsh onion.
It’s the Welsh Onion Cake, a flaky pastry of thinly sliced potatoes and onions crisped in the oven until golden brown.
The dish’s overall flavor is buttery, which brings out both the sweetness of the potatoes and the herbaceousness of the welsh onions.
19. Wenchang chicken
Wenchang chicken is a Chinese dish made with chicken, specifically from Hainan, China, and rice.
These special chickens are fed on coconut, peanut bran, corn, and sweet potato.
Wenchang free-range chicken contains about 15 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, and 23 grams of protein.
The chickens are specifically known for their tenderness and the brightness of their white meat.
To preserve this, the chickens are cooked in hot water and, only after they’re cooked through, spiced with salt and ginger.
20. West Indian Gherkin
West Indian gherkin is a vine plant that belongs to the West Indian gourd, known as Cucumis anguria. It’s also commonly referred to as maroon cucumber.
It’s indigenous to Africa but has become naturalized and is cultivated in many parts of the World.
It is best eaten when still young before it fills up with seeds. The West Indian gherkin can be eaten raw, cooked in stews, or stir-fried.
21. Wet Tha Dote Htoe
Wet tha dote htoe is a salty street food that originated in Myanmar (Burma).
The dish consists of pork and is cooked in a light soy sauce and often eaten with raw ginger chili sauce. If the name is hard to pronounce, it’s also known as Burmese pork offal skewers.
Wheat is a grass cultivated for its seed grain and has become a worldwide staple food. Research shows that wheat originated in Iraq and spread to Europe.
Wheat was domesticated 10,000 years ago and is cultivated for its grain globally. Wheat is now a staple in most homes since it is in so many pantry mainstays.
Wheat is used as a main ingredient in baking all the great indulgences we love since most flour is wheat-based.
Recently, some dietitians and their adjacent professionals have come to view wheat-based diets as heavy in harmful cholesterol.
Wheatgrass is prepared from the young leaves of a common wheat plant. This product is also known as Tritium astivum. Wheat plants can be grown and prepared at home.
Pre-prepared supplement forms of wheatgrass can be purchased as juice and powder in most grocery stores. This way it can be added to your protein shakes and smoothies.
Wheatgrass has had its moment as a favorite supplement among people who are health conscious.
This is due to its classification as a superfood with a combination of beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Wheatgrass is known to detoxify the liver and improve immune function.
Rumors abound that it also helps in digestion, eliminates toxins, and improves metabolism.
24. White Fig
White fig is a fruit scientifically known as Ficus carica.
The fruit is found in Asiatic Turkey where the seedlings thrive in warm climates. The fruit tastes crisp and lightly sweet. The white fig can be eaten raw, including the skin and seeds. Figs pair well with soft cheese and salted meats.
Additionally, these figs can be cooked, broiled, or grilled after scooping out the seeds. With their pleasant sweetness, white figs are often used to flavor desserts like tarts and cakes.
25. White Mulberry
White mulberry, Morus alba, is a shrub native to China. It’s used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat various illnesses.
It has a white-colored fruit like a blackberry, but with an unpleasant taste.
White mulberry can be eaten raw or served as tea. Simply add four cups of cold water to a pot with fresh mulberry leaves and gently heat over the stove for 10-15. minutes. This tea serves as a good source of iron and vitamin c.
26. White Vinegar
White vinegar comes to us from the fermentation of foods such as sugar beets, potatoes, molasses, or milk whey.
The use of vinegar dates from around 3000 BC according to archeology. Ancients, needing to manage their resources, used vinegar to preserve fish after it’s been fried. White vinegar typically consists of 4–7% acetic acid and 93–96% water, though the recipe often depends on food items available in different regions.
Common uses are to freshen salads, tenderize meat, and as a component in cheese making. Studies have shown white vinegar reduces both blood sugar and insulin levels after meals.
This vinegar aids in weight management, reduces cholesterol, and can treat nail fungus.
27. Whitener (for coffee)
Whitener is a non-dairy creamer, liquid or granular product used as a substitute for milk. According to research, Coffee-mate, a whitener example, doesn’t contain any vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants, so there are no real nutritional benefits to consuming it.
However, it is a viable substitute for those allergic to dairy or those with health conditions, like diabetes, that require the limitation or exclusion of sugar.
Whitener is often used in baking, to punch up flavor while not adding cups and cups of refined sugar.
Add it to cookies, cakes, and brownies to have pastries that are still sweet but won’t rot your teeth.
28. Wild Coxcomb
Wild coxcomb derives its name from the Ancient Greek word kḗleos, meaning “burning”, and refers to the flame-like flower heads on its plant. It’s also known scientifically as Celosia argentea.
Due to its prevalence in dry regions, it has been concluded that it could have originated from the dry slopes of Africa and India.
Celosia leaves can be boiled or steamed and eaten as a side dish. Hot chili oil or lime juice can be added to give a little kick to the cooked celosia. The plant produces almost no waste since its stem, leaves, and flowers are all edible.
29. Wild Rice
Wild rice is also known as Canadian rice, Indian rice, or water oats. Soaked, wild rice cooks 50% faster.
You can still cook wild rice without soaking, though it will take longer to soften.
Wild rice’s earthy flavors can be boosted by adding a mix of herbs to it during the cooking process.
Dill, kale, and parsley all complement the flavor of wild rice. In addition, wild rice pairs well with fish like trout and tilapia.
30. Wild Strawberry
Wild strawberry is a tree herb known as Fragaria vesca that grows naturally in the Northern hemisphere. It produces edible fruits that have a tart flavor.
Some people prefer to put the fruit over dairy-based desserts like ice cream, which tames the tartness of the wild strawberry.
The fruit serves as an excellent source of fiber and potassium which may help to lower blood pressure. These cousins to the strawberries most of us are more familiar with tend to be hardier and more conical in shape.
Nearly anyone who has tried to grow regular strawberries over the years has bemoaned losing an entire patch to a late frost – but wild strawberries tend to be less fragile.
31. Wimbi Porridge
Wimbi porridge is a breakfast cereal made with ground millet. Wimbi is a Swahili word meaning “millet” in Eastern African countries. It’s a must meal for the famous Kenyan athletes while in training camps.
Once prepared, Wimbi porridge is sweetened with organic honey, sugar, or berries. It’s gluten-free and a source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Millet is also a provider of vitamins and minerals and helps keep our bodies healthy.
Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Wine has existed for at least 4000 years. Its color varies from the paleness of the white varieties to the deep burgundy of an aged red.
The grapes used in the wine-making process determine their color. Dry red and white wines are used for savory dishes.
We told you wine was an old drink, but it was consumed in antiquity not just for its flavor but also because it was safer than drinking the local water. The fermentation process kills the germs that lead to the nasty symptoms of salmonella and cholera.
33. Winged Bean
Winged bean is a legume plant known as Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. The plant is original to New Guinea and grows widely in the tropics of southern Asia and Florida in the US. It’s a super plant whose seeds, leaves, flowers, and tuberous roots are all edible. The tubers can be boiled, steamed, baked, fried, and roasted.
The unripe pod has a sweet and crunchy texture when eaten raw. Winged beans can be eaten in salads, though it is more common to cook them along with other veggie components in dishes like yum tua pu and garlic stir fry. In Japan, winged beans are lightly fried tempura style.
34. Winter Salami
Winter salami is cured meat. An example is a Hungarian salami made from Mangalitsa pork and spices.
It has a strong flavor of allspice, white pepper, and sweet paprika. It is frequently served sandwiched between two slices of white bread. Others find salami delicious when drizzled with Italian dressing. Hard sheep’s milk cheese also goes well with spicy salami, providing a coating and cooling effect on the tongue.
The casing of winter salami is unique. Since it is left out in the elements, a mold develops over the casing in the cold but doesn’t touch the meat within. The mold looks like interconnecting spots of white on the surface of the sausage.
35. Winter melon
Winter melon is a fruit native to parts of Southern Asia. Some know it as the ash gourd. It grows on a vine similar to a watermelon. Winter melon, also known as Benincasa hispida, is eaten as a vegetable when it matures. Winter melon is tasteless (though some claim to be able to detect a faint cucumber-like flavor) and cannot be eaten raw.
The fruit is beneficial for its laxative, diuretic, and supposed aphrodisiac properties. The gourd is used frequently in Chinese traditional medicine.
Wolgwachae, also known as bukkumi, is local to Korea. It is a mixed vegetable dish that was part of Korean royal court cuisine, where it was served cold during the humid summer months.
The dish is made with zucchini and beef and then pickled. The dish has progressed from being a court staple to being served at elementary school lunches.
37. Wood Ear Mushroom
Wood ear mushroom is a fungus that looks like a small, crinkled ear. It’s a type of mushroom native to Asia.
It is added to all sorts of dishes since it acts like a sponge, absorbing the dominant flavors of any recipe it’s added to. On its own, the mushroom has a mild, if earthy flavor.
38. Wooly Jelly Palm Fruit
Wooly jelly palm fruit is a yellowish-orange fruit native to South America.
The wooly jelly palm produces small, orange fruits that taste like pineapple and orange. The fruits can be eaten raw or made into jellies and jams. Wooly jelly palm fruit is high in Vitamin C and fiber. The seeds are high in protein and unsaturated fats. Palm fruit has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In traditional medicines, the fruit pulp helps to cure skin inflammations, nausea and vomiting, and worm infestation. It is used as an expectorant and as a liver tonic, though the science is debated on some of these claims
39. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a liquid made from vinegar, molasses, garlic, tamarind extract, chili pepper extract, sugar, and salt. It was first created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England, in the 19th century.
It’s used in cooking and the seasoning of soups and stews. It also appears in recipes for Bloody Marys, a tomato juice-based alcoholic cocktail. It’s a powerful condiment, one in which a little goes a long way.
Wurstsalat is a sausage salad first made in Germany.
The main ingredients are sausage, distilled white wine, oil, and onions. The dish has gained popularity throughout Switzerland, eastern France, and Austria.
Wurstsalat sausage salad is low carb and high protein. The sausage can be enjoyed both chilled and warm, with dark bread or crusty bread rolls with a generous smear of mustard.