vegetables in french

Vegetables in French: 30+ Most Common Vegetable Names and Related Vocabulary

Were you one of those kids who fought with your parents about eating your vegetables?

Some nights, you waged war over the Battle of the Brussels Sprouts.

Asparagus was met with asperity.

And the dinner table knew no peace when peas were served.

Now that you’re all grown up and eating your veggies without coaxing or threats, it’s time to take that next big step: Learning your vegetable vocabulary in French.


Common Vegetables in French

1. L’ail   Garlic

2. Les asperges   Asparagus

3. La carotte Carrot

4. Le céleri Celery 

5. Le champignon   Mushroom

6. Le chou   Cabbage

7. Le chou frisé Kale

8. Le concombre  — Cucumber

9. L’échalote   Shallot

10. Les haricots verts  — Green beans

11. La laitue  — Lettuce 

12. Le maïs Corn

13. L’oignon   Onion

14. Les petits pois   Green peas

15. La pomme de terre Potato 

16. La patate douce  — Sweet potato

17. Le poivron   Bell pepper

18. La tomate   Tomato

19. Le brocoli  — Broccoli

20. Le chou-fleur  — Cauliflower

21. Les épinards  — Spinach

22. Les choux de Bruxelles  — Brussel sprouts

23. L’artichaut  — Artichoke

24. La courgette  — Zucchini

25. La courge  — Squash

26. Le basilic  — Basil

27. La betterave  — Beet

28. Le radis  — Radish

29. Le gingembre  — Ginger

30. L’aubergine  — Eggplant

Typical French Vegetables You’ll See on Menus

It’s important to know the basic vegetables listed above.

But if you’re traveling to France, you’ll do well to go a bit deeper and learn some less common vegetables as well as some common varieties:

  • Many people in France like to hunt for their own champignons (mushrooms), so it’s not surprising that they have different words for the numerous edible varieties. Some common ones you’ll see on menus are cèpes (King Bolete/Penny Bun), pieds de mouton (Sheep’s Feet) and chanterelles.
  • In French, cabbage isn’t just cabbage: there are many varieties of le chou. These include le chou cabus (firm, light-colored cabbage), le chou de Milan (Savoy cabbage), le chou rouge (red cabbage) and le chou chinois (Napa cabbage/Chinese cabbage).
  • Le poireau (leek) doesn’t always make its way onto American menus, but it forms the basis for several French dishes. From the French-Belgian border region comes la flamiche, a puff-pastry tart that’s frequently made aux poireaux (with leeks). And just add butter, cream and a few herbs to la soupe de poireaux, a simple blended soup made with leeks, potatoes, bouillon, salt and pepper—and you’ll have la vichyssoise, a famous French leek soup that’s often served cold.
  • Le fenouil (fennel) enjoys modest popularity in France, with preparations like le gratin de fenouil et de pommes de terre (a fennel-and-potato casserole topped with melted gruyère cheese).

Famous French Vegetable Concoctions

There are plenty of traditional French dishes that consist of lots of vegetables. Here are a few:

More French Vegetable Vocabulary

Used in conjunction with the French names for various vegetables, these related terms deepen your understanding of the world of green cuisine:

Common French Vegetable Expressions

Vegetables have made their way not only into French cuisine, but French slang, as well.

Famished? Feast on these French idioms about fruits and vegetables by the bushel! Or if you’re just peckish, nibble on a few yummy, plant-based idioms:

  • Un aspergeLiterally, “an asparagus”; figuratively, a “stringbean” or a “beanpole” (a very tall and thin person)
  • Raconter des salades Literally, “to tell (tales about) salads”; figuratively, to tell tales; to make up stories
  • Avoir du bléliterally, “to have wheat”; figuratively, to have money/lots of dough
  • Avoir la patate  literally, “to have the potato”; figuratively, to be full of energy
  • C’est chou vert et vert chou  literally, “It’s green cabbage and cabbage green”

    This one is used primarily in Belgian French, similarly to the way bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet (white hat and hat white) is used in France. In English, we’d use a phrase like “same difference” or “it’s all the same to me” to express this concept.

  • S’occuper de ses oignons  literally, “to mind one’s own onions”; figuratively, to mind one’s own business

    A variation of this is c’(n)est pas tes oignons (“it’s not your onions”), which you can use in a similar manner to “none of your business/beeswax.”

  • La carotte et le bâtonliterally, “the carrot and the stick”

    As in English, this means using a combination of enticement and threats to motivate someone.

  • Mettre du piment literally, “to put in some red chili pepper”; figuratively, “to spice (something) up”

How Veggie Vocab in French Comes in Handy

Whether you enjoy French cooking shows on YouTube, want to follow written recipes in French or eat out at a French restaurant, knowing French words for vegetables is important.

Vegetable vocabulary can make it easier to find your favorites on the menu—and save you from unpleasantness on your plate.

By knowing how to talk about vegetables in French, you will be able to talk about things in a more accurate and fluent way. 

How to Practice French Vegetable Vocabulary

Learning vegetable words in French doesn’t have to be a tedious chore. Try these activities to get in some practice:

  • Watch French cooking videos on YouTube. French-language cooking videos are not only entertaining but a great way to improve your French fluency—whether you’re at a beginning, intermediate or advanced level in the language.
  • Watch shorter cooking videos with FluentU and use the interactive subtitles, flashcards and quizzes to reinforce your learning.
  • Get cooking with vegetables using French recipes. Use online French recipe resources and food blogs to practice French veggie vocabulary.
  • Go out to eat at a French restaurant. Then you can practice reading the menu and see what the French-style vegetables taste like!
  • Play with your food using online games. There are plenty of games like word searches or hangman that are vegetable themed.


Now you know the power of “going green” with the veggie vocab of French cuisine.

You’ll be able to order confidently in French restaurants and conquer the vegetable kingdom in your own kitchen.

So, learn your vegetable vocabulary in French. It’s good for you.

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