Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

4 Opportunities with Plant-Based Purées as Modern Sauces Plant-based purées are a smart way to exploit this area of growth


By Rob Corliss

Dips and spreads offer the largest opportunity with plant-based purées, with next-level hummus, of course, leading the pack. But plant-based purées also work beautifully as modern sauces, adding both a wholesome profile while dialing up the intrigue factor. Here are four ways to leverage this giant foodservice trend.

1. Mole

  • Toasted pistachios give an unexpected boost to delicious green mole; loaded with charred tomatillos, raw pepitas, mixed chile varieties, garlic and more.
  • Make mole-spiced carrots as the main star of a taco build, as Big Star Taco does in Chicago—Tacos Zanahorias: mole-spiced carrots, chipotle-date yogurt, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almond, cilantro

2. Pesto

  • Basil and kale pesto still work just fine, but up the appeal by incorporating trending functional ingredients into a modern pesto, such as seaweed, algae, hemp seeds, chaga mushrooms, dried or fruit powders.

3. Curried Lentil Purée

  • Lentils bring nutrition and flavor to purées. Spike braised lentils with Indian curry and spices, purée them, then feature them in an Indian-inspired huevos rancheros, using the curried lentil purée in place of refried beans, naan bread in place of a tortilla, and chutney in place of salsa.
  • Use as a warm sauce underneath dressed salad greens or as a taco accent or sandwich spread—or as a sauce underneath signature proteins.
  • Blend lentil purée into chickpea hummus for a doubling down on the power of pulses.

4. Edamame Purée

  • Whole or flavored edamame makes a wonderful bar snack, but edamame purée can be a vibrant sauce paired with fish—especially when blended with fresh mint and lime juice.


  From the Jan/Feb 2018 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.

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