Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

On Trends 2017 – part two Street-level research reveals creative sparks that can flame menu innovation


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Hummus Beyond Chickpeas

Pumpkin Hummus with raw, cooked and pickled crudité at Rouge Tomate in New YorkGerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

Pumpkin Hummus with raw, cooked and pickled crudité at Rouge Tomate in New York

As the popularity of hummus continues to rise both as a snack and full-serve shareable, chefs are expanding on the standard formula of chickpeas, tahini and garlic to create varieties featuring unexpected base ingredients, including root vegetables, winter squashes, brassicas and a wide variety of beans and legumes. In some cases, tahini is excluded from the recipe and replaced with a blend of herbs, spices and alliums, resulting in unique signature flavors.

At New York’s High Street on Hudson, non-traditional hummus variations are prominently featured, with the offerings often changing from lunch to dinner. During our research, we enjoyed both a Charred Rutabaga Hummus topped with spicy green chermoula, and a silky-smooth Roasted Vegetable Hummus garnished with roasted onion and black sesame oil.

Cranberry Bean Hummus serves as a toast topper at Chicago brewpub Forbidden Root, served on grilled sourdough cut into shareable slices and topped with bits of dried fig, orange supremes and a generous sprinkle of sumac powder.

The variety of accompaniments served with hummus is broadening as well. At The Little Beet Table in Chicago, Antonio Mendez, executive chef, offers both a Roasted Cauliflower Hummus whimsically garnished with toasted pepitas and popcorn, and a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus served with an attractive assortment of vegetable crudité, including stem-on baby carrots and radishes.

The Pumpkin Hummus at Rouge Tomate in New York features a creative assortment of raw, cooked and pickled vegetables. And the Celery Root Hummus at nearby Quality Eats is topped with a roasted and chopped beet “tabbouleh” and served with wood-grilled slices of focaccia.

One of the most notable hummus dishes we encountered was a traditional preparation enhanced by the addition of fresh turmeric root. At flexitarian restaurant Beefsteak in Los Angeles, Executive Chef Marcel Vigneron purées fresh turmeric, which he keeps on hand for many of the cold-pressed juices and smoothies on offer, and folds it into his chickpea-based hummus, resulting in a spread with an eye-catching fluorescent yellow color. The hummus is also creatively cross-utilized as a salad dressing, tossed with baby kale and an assortment of roasted vegetables.

Hummus has evolved on menus to its current status of “darling of dips,” making menu appearances as a shared plate, snack, side dish, sandwich spread and salad dressing. The many ingredient and flavoring options available make this a menu item with ample room for further innovation.

Roasted Vegetable Hummus has a smooth consistency at New York’s High Street on HudsonGerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

Roasted Vegetable Hummus has a smooth consistency at New York’s High Street on Hudson

 

Popcorn and pepitas perk up the Roasted Cauliflower Hummus at Chicago’s The Little Beet TableGerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

Popcorn and pepitas perk up the Roasted Cauliflower Hummus at Chicago’s The Little Beet Table

 

Cranberry Bean Hummus at Forbidden Root in Chicago is sprinkled with sumacGerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

Cranberry Bean Hummus at Forbidden Root in Chicago is sprinkled with sumac

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About The Author

Gerry Ludwig

Gerry Ludwig is corporate consulting chef at Gordon Food Service, where he creates trends-based culinary solutions for operators, conducts seminars and workshops and hosts trend-tracking tours.