2018 was a great year for the culinary world—we’re talking about matcha, frozen cocktails, fermented foods, and kitchen ASMR—but we have to admit we’re ready for what’s next. With summer around the corner, we’re staring into our foodie crystal ball and we really like what we see.
While we can’t predict the future, we have a good feeling about a few food trends that will be taking over menus (and Instagram feeds) this summer. As we head into the warmer months, be on the lookout for these ingredients, cooking styles, and flavors when you’re dining out or incorporate them into your cooking repertoire now, and get ahead of the curve!
The new age of the alternative burger
The food world has (thankfully) moved beyond the sad veggie burger iterations of the past, which tended to fall on the spectrum from dry, cakey bean burgers that crumbled apart with the first bite to too dense, mushy vegetable-laden patties that sogged through the bun within minutes of plating.
That’s all changing now, thanks to new brands and chefs that are giving veggie burgers the kind of star treatment that’s usually reserved for…well…meat burgers. We’re talking revamped flavors, crispy textures, and innovative ingredients that are making the sad vegetable patties of the past a distant memory.
You don’t have to go out to eat to take part in the alt-burger fun—use your next barbecue as a chance to experiment with different plant-based ingredients to create something delicious. If you’re not sure where to start, this vegetarian burger matrix will help you find your new favorite burger combination in no time.
Tahini instead of nut butter
Nut butter is the darling of the culinary world, used for everything from savory sauces and marinades to sweet baked goods, breakfast toppings, and sandwich fillers. In 2019, however, we’re seeing the tables turn in favor of seeds—the mighty sesame seed and its paste counterpart, tahini, to be specific.
Tahini is made from grinding sesame seeds with oil into a thick paste and is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. You’re probably most familiar with tahini as one of the main ingredients in hummus, where it adds a rich, nutty flavor to blend of chickpeas, garlic, and lemon.
A drizzle of tahini can balance spice, add creamy depth, or lend a savory bite to an otherwise sweet (or bland—we’ve all been there) dish. We’re seeing tahini pop up all over the place in pasta sauces, in salad dressings, on fancy toasts, drizzled over roasted or grilled vegetables, and swirled into chocolatey desserts. It’s definitely a trend we can get behind.
Foil pack dinners
Nothing says summer like a group of friends gathered around the grill for a warm weather barbecue. And nothing makes grilling easier than foil pack dinners, which result in a highly impressive, flavorful, low-mess outdoor meal.
Foil packets work great for cooking fish, chicken, and vegetable-centric meals alike, so they’re a great way to accommodate every palate. The technique is derived from the French en Papillote cooking style of roasting protein alongside vegetables, herbs and spices in a parchment packet to ensure uniform flavor and juiciness, so you know it’s bound to be delicious.
Innovative ice cream flavors
I scream, you scream, we all scream for…goat cheese ice cream? If you’re not already, you will be soon. It’s time for vanilla and chocolate to take the back seat because this summer is all about crazy, unique ice cream flavors. We’re talking flavors like creamy sweet corn, herbaceous basil, fruity olive oil, and citrusy Earl Grey.
Be sure to keep an eye out for new, inventive flavors at your local ice cream shop…or skip the line and make some ice cream at home! No ice cream maker? No problem.
Don’t get us wrong—we love a good cocktail here at Plated, but we’re seeing creative, thoughtfully curated mocktails pop up on fancy restaurant and bar menus and, we’re really into it. Where “mocktail” once meant a watered down cranberry juice with club soda and lime, now entire menus dedicated to “tonics” and “elixirs” made with fresh herbs, funky flavors, and interesting syrups are shining alongside traditional cocktail menus.
If you want to incorporate this trend into your own bar cart, give our Strawberry Shrub Mocktail recipe a try. Whether or not you drink alcohol, mocktails are a fun addition to any summer picnic, dinner party, or day by the pool.
The florals are coming out of the centerpieces and onto the toasts! We’ve been seeing restaurants and cafés up their edible flower game lately, and we’re huge fans. We’re talking minty bee balm petals in cocktails, peppery nasturtiums atop avocado toast, and lavender-infused popsicles.
Since various edible petals differ greatly in their flavor profile, we dove into the best uses for popular flowers to help you get started.
What summer food trend are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments section below!
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