Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

 

 

 

By Rob Corliss
July 19, 2021

 

Plant-based trends have accelerated and opened the door for a stream of new menu introductions. With this boom, plant “milks” have been building deeper inroads into mainstream menu development. These milks offer an array of attributes, varying in flavor, texture and even color. Aside from being delicious on their own, they perform brilliantly as a key ingredient in modern sauces, salad dressings and dips. Chefs are fully appreciating the merits of these workhorse ingredients, leaning on them to provide versatility in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes while answering the call for more plant-forward offerings.

Here, we’ve developed both plant-based and meat-centric menu ideas that make full use of plant milks. The idea is to utilize plant milk not just as a flavoring agent, but also to pull in contemporary flavor trends that appeal to a broader market of flexitarians.

TRY THIS

  1. Pistachio Goddess Chicken: Grilled chicken breast with pistachio milk green goddess sauce and brown rice pilaf
  2. K-Pop Dumplings: Pan-fried pork and edamame dumplings with gochujang coconut milk sauce
  3. Plant Milk Shirred Eggs and Prosciutto: Eggs baked in a flat-bottomed ramekin with a splash of pea milk, prosciutto, fresh spinach and roasted red pepper strips; with a side of crusty peasant bread
  4. Sweet Chile Sticky Pork (Sandwich): Carnitas tossed with sticky sauce (coconut milk, peanut butter, Thai sweet chile sauce) served with radish sprouts on a brioche bun
  5. Simple and Delicious: Mascarpone Grits with ‘nduja-infused cashew milk-butter sauce
  6. Peaches n’ Oat Cream Salad: Baby arugula tossed with fonio, peaches, toasted pecans and creamy raspberry-oat milk dressing
  7. Crispy Chicken Salad: Rough chopped crispy fried chicken tenders, chopped romaine, grated cheddar cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes; tossed in honey-almond mustard dressing (almond milk, almond butter, honey, grain mustard, cider vinegar, cracked black peppercorns)
  8. Summer Steak: Grilled petite sirloin paired with a summer salad of tomato wedges, Alpine cheese strips and charred corn kernels, all tossed in pico verde (pistachio milk, lime juice, poblanos, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro)
  9. Surf n’ Turf Dippers: Mini steak and shrimp skewers; served with 7-spice dip (whipped cream cheese, rice milk, red miso, togarashi)
  10. Tunisian Flatbread: Wood-grilled flatbread flavored with a schmear of cashew-carrot spread (roasted carrot, sumac, honey, cashew milk); topped with shreds of baharat-spiced barbecue pork and feta cheese crumbles

FEATURED RECIPE

These Pork “Wings” bring big flavor with a tempura-style batter and an aromatic/spicy Thai chile crust. A Southeast Asian twist on white barbecue sauce brings in coconut milk, fish sauce, Szechuan peppers and cilantro. Photo credit: Smithfield Culinary

These Pork “Wings” bring big flavor with a tempura-style batter and an aromatic/spicy Thai chile crust. A Southeast Asian twist on white barbecue sauce brings in coconut milk, fish sauce, Szechuan peppers and cilantro.

GET THE RECIPE FOR PORK WINGS IN THAI CHILE CRUST

 

About The Author

mm

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and, currently, owning a consulting company, ATE (All Things Epicurean), focused on flavor, menu and restaurant innovation. Based in Nixa, Mo., he has an energizing passion for food and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. [email protected]