grey foods

28 Grey Foods: The Mystique Behind Our Plate’s Uncommon Hue

When you think of mouthwatering dishes, vibrant colors might come to mind. But there’s an underrated palette that’s been quietly making its mark – grey foods. An uncommon hue on our plates, yet holding a world of flavors and textures waiting to be explored.

Natural Grey Foods

1. Mushrooms (Specific Grey Varieties)


Image source: Pinterest

Mushrooms such as the grey oyster mushroom are not just fascinating for their muted colors but are also nutritionally rich. They provide a significant source of vitamin D, essential amino acids, and various antioxidants. Their umami flavor profile makes them a favorite in many dishes, from stir-fries to soups.

2. Oysters


Image source: Pinterest

Oysters, with their textured grey exteriors and interiors, are more than just a luxurious treat. They act as a substantial source of iron, vitamin B12, and are known aphrodisiacs. Their brackish, oceanic flavor transports you straight to the seaside with each bite.

3. Black Sesame Seeds (When Ground)

Black Sesame Seeds

Image source: Pinterest

Predominantly used in Asian cuisines, black sesame seeds turn into a gentle grey paste upon grinding. They have been lauded for their ability to potentially support healthy skin and hair, promote heart health, and even offer anti-aging properties. Their toasted, nutty aroma enriches everything from desserts to dressings.

4. Certain Types of Fish (Like Herring)


Image source: Pinterest

Fish like herring, often exhibiting a grey hue, are a culinary and nutritional delight. Beyond their savory taste, they offer a rich source of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus. Their soft texture makes them perfect for a range of dishes, from salads to main courses.

5. Earl Grey Tea (Greyish Hue When Brewed)

Earl Grey Tea

Image source: Pinterest

Named after a 19th-century British prime minister, this tea subtly shifts into a greyish shade upon brewing. The blend of black tea and bergamot oil doesn’t just offer a delightful flavor but also a slew of potential health benefits, including improved digestion and enhanced mood.

6. Sea Salt (Specific Varieties)

Sea Salt

Image source: Pinterest

Derived from evaporated seawater, specific varieties like the French Guérande salt, have a natural grey tint. This salt retains essential ocean minerals, offering a more complex flavor profile than regular table salt. Its crunchy texture enhances both the taste and the aesthetics of gourmet dishes.

7. Truffles (Certain Varieties)


Image source: Pinterest

Truffles, especially those like the winter truffle, showcase a grey marbling. Found beneath the soil, often near the roots of trees, their pungent aroma and robust flavor command high prices in international markets. They’re treasured in gourmet cooking, gracing dishes with a depth of earthy flavor.

8. Black Lentils (When Cooked)

Black Lentils

Image source: Pinterest

These lentils, appearing dark initially, mellow into a soft grey upon cooking. A staple in many global cuisines, they’re not just a vegetarian source of protein but also rich in dietary fiber, supporting digestive health. Their mildly peppery taste complements salads, stews, and curries.

9. Chia Seeds (When Soaked)

Chia Seeds

Image source: Pinterest

Upon soaking, chia seeds swell and adopt a gelatinous texture with a greyish tint. Often hailed as a ‘superfood’, these seeds are incredibly hydrating and offer a blend of essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. They make for an excellent pudding base, smoothie enhancer, or even a salad topping.

10. Sardines


Image source: Pinterest

Whether fresh or canned, sardines often radiate a greyish-silver shade. These small fish are bursting with essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to support heart health. Their rich, oily texture is ideal for grilling, baking, or even enjoyed in a classic sardine sandwich.

11. Flax Seeds (When Ground)

Flax Seeds

Image source: Pinterest

When these health-packed seeds are ground, they manifest a greyish hue. Widely acclaimed for their heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and rich dietary fiber, they are excellent for heart health and digestion. Ground flaxseeds can be sprinkled on yogurt, cereals, and baked goods.

12. Blackberries (Some Varieties When Blended)


Image source: Pinterest

Certain varieties, when mashed or blended, result in a purplish-grey hue. Blackberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a delicious and healthful addition to smoothies, desserts, and sauces.

13. Kelp


Image source: Pinterest

Varieties of kelp, a type of seaweed, exhibit a greyish-green shade. They’re not only essential for producing agar, a vegetarian gelatin substitute but are also rich in iodine, supporting thyroid function. Kelp can be consumed as noodles or integrated into soups and salads.

14. Black Bananas (Overripe)

Black Bananas

Image source: Pinterest

Extremely ripe bananas can often take on a greyish-black appearance. Though they might seem unappetizing, they’re super sweet and are ideal for banana bread or smoothies, providing a richer flavor.

15. Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seeds

Image source: Pinterest

These tiny seeds often have a blue-grey tint. Beyond their decorative function on bread and pastries, they contain beneficial nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re often used to give a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to dishes.

16. Sunflower Seeds (Certain Varieties)

Sunflower Seeds

Image source: Pinterest

Some varieties of sunflower seeds, when hulled, reveal a grey seed inside. These seeds are an excellent snack option, loaded with vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. They can be roasted for a crunchy bite or blended into a smooth sunflower seed butter.

17. Beluga Lentils

Beluga Lentils

Image source: Pinterest

Named after the Beluga caviar due to their appearance, these tiny black lentils turn a dark grey once cooked. Nutritious and delightful, they have a firmer texture than other lentil varieties, making them perfect for salads and side dishes.

18. Guava (Certain Varieties)


Image source: Pinterest

Some guavas have a pinkish-grey flesh inside. This tropical fruit isn’t just a sweet treat but is also packed with vitamin C, dietary fiber, and folic acid. It can be eaten raw, juiced, or turned into jams and desserts.

Processed Grey Foods

1. Activated Charcoal Ice Cream

Activated Charcoal Ice-Cream

Image source: Pinterest

A recent sensation in the world of desserts, this ice cream owes its grey hue to activated charcoal. Beyond its visual appeal, activated charcoal is believed to offer detoxifying properties, though its health benefits in ice cream remain a topic of debate. Its unique color has made it a favorite for Instagram enthusiasts and curious foodies alike.

2. Squid Ink Pasta

Squid Ink Pasta

Image source: Pinterest

Originating from Italy, this pasta gets its distinctive grey-black color from squid or cuttlefish ink. Not only does it offer a visual twist to classic pasta dishes, but it also introduces a subtle briny flavor reminiscent of the sea.

3. Taro-Flavored Snacks and Confectioneries

Taro Flavored

Image source: Pinterest

Taro, a root vegetable, is often processed into various snacks and sweets, resulting in a soft grey or lavender hue. This includes taro chips, cookies, and even some Asian buns. Its naturally sweet and nutty flavor has made it a favorite ingredient for many treats.

4. Black Sesame Desserts

Black Sesame Desserts

Image source: Pinterest

While black sesame seeds are naturally grey when ground, they’re further processed into various Asian desserts like black sesame soup, mochi, or tang yuan. These desserts not only carry the delicate grey hue but also the aromatic, nutty essence of the seeds.

5. Liquorice Candy

Liquorice Candy

Image source: Pinterest

This old-fashioned candy, often found in shades of dark grey or black, owes its color to the liquorice root extract. While its slightly bitter and sweet flavor is polarizing, it remains a classic treat in many cultures.

6. Mochi with Black Sesame or Charcoal Fillings


Image source: Pinterest

Mochi, a Japanese rice cake, sometimes contains fillings that can make its appearance greyish. Black sesame paste or activated charcoal fillings are popular choices, adding not just color but also distinct flavors to this chewy delicacy.

7. Grey Gravies and Sauces

Certain sauces and gravies incorporate ingredients like mushrooms, oysters, or certain meats that can render them a greyish hue. These include some variants of mushroom sauces or certain traditional meat gravies.

8. Sourdough Bread with Charcoal

Sourdough Bread

Image source: Pinterest

An interesting twist on the classic sourdough, some bakeries have started incorporating activated charcoal into their bread, resulting in a grey loaf. This not only gives a striking visual contrast but also adds a slight earthiness to the bread’s flavor.

9. Grey Marzipan

Marzipan, a confection primarily made of sugar and almond meal, can be dyed into various colors, including grey, especially for themed cakes or decorative purposes.

10. Earl Grey-Flavored Sweets and Macarons


Image source: Pinterest

The iconic Earl Grey tea is also processed into various sweets, ranging from chocolates to macarons. While the color might vary based on the intensity of the tea used, many confections display a greyish tinge, paired with the distinct citrusy aroma of bergamot.


Grey foods, both natural and processed, challenge our culinary perceptions, proving that color doesn’t dictate flavor or nutritional value. From the earthy offerings of nature to inventive gastronomic creations, these muted hues represent a diverse and delightful spectrum of tastes. Embracing grey foods enriches our dining palette in unexpected ways.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.