Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Modern Salads: Dressed for Success Boost the flavor and texture in dressing with plant-based purées

This Up & At ‘Em Salad stars a vibrant salad dressing made with hummus, olive oil, water, Dijon and red wine vinegar.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bush’s Best®

Today, the salad is upping its game, competing against the modern bowl, a fan favorite that leads with creative layers of both flavor and texture. Of course, ingredients and toppings are the power players in modern salads, offering complexity and differentiation through treatments like pickling, smoking, charring, crisping and roasting.

For example, Sweetgreen, a salad fast-casual concept, offers toppings like pickled celery, roasted sweet potato and hot chickpeas. Successful modern brands like these also understand the importance of a strong flavor narrative in their dressings portfolio—Sweetgreens leads with options like a cucumber tahini yogurt dressing and a carrot chili vinaigrette.

“Salads have seen a renaissance, so it makes sense that the most integral component—the salad dressing—should see the next area of culinary innovation,” says Rob Corliss, Bush’s Best® consulting chef. He serves up three ways to leverage the power of plant-based purées in modern salad dressings:

  1. Add hummus to Caesar dressing for a creamy hummus Caesar dressing
  2. Add a purée of cannellini beans to a tomato-Parmesan dressing
  3. Make a green goddess dressing with a base of blended Great Northern beans and Greek yogurt


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