Predicting food trends for the next year is a popular past time and you’ll see posts starting in the fall guessing what we’ll be jazzed about eating the following year. I am not sure that food trends are quite cyclical that they start with the new year but based on the various lists and predictions I have a few that I would be excited to see gain popularity.
- Harissa paste – a spicy blend of hot chili peppers, olive oil, garlic, and spices (some times tomatoes are involved), it is a great alternative to spice up your meal. It is associated with Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan cooking. I enjoy it as an alternate spread for pizzas, added to my slow cooker chili, and served as an appetizer with olive oil and good sourdough bread. Even better, it is easy to make at home and is a great DIY gift idea for the foodie in your life. I have made this harissa paste recipe from the kitchn blog in the past with great success as a DIY gift for others.
Photo credit: thekitchn.com
- Local protein sources – I love scouring the farmers markets for seasonal finds and supporting the small farmers in my community. There is already a national movement toward buying local and sustainable food products. Now it seems that trend is spreading to our protein choices including beef, poultry, eggs, and seafood. It is great when you know more about the farm, the farmers, and where your food comes from. I find it worth it to pay just a bit more and know where your food comes from.
- More whole grains – I am big fan of a whole foods-based diet that includes all food groups. Grains were definitely under fire in 2014. There are differing opinions about which whole grain will be the next quinoa although millet and freekeh (try pronouncing that one quickly) seem to be the front-runners for gaining traction in mainstream cuisine over the next year. Millet is gluten free which likely will catapult it ahead of other whole grains given the demand for gluten-free products. Millet is also grown in the United States, as well as internationally, so for those of you concerned about how far your food travels to get to your plate it is a relatively local crop compared to other grains. One cup of cooked millet packs over 6 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and is a good source of many heart healthy minerals.
Photo credit: vegetariantimes.com
- Cauliflower - Ok, I have long been on the cauliflower bandwagon and I am glad this vegetable is starting to get appreciation both as a featured entrée item in home cooking and on restaurant menus. Who can pass up the beautiful colored heads of cauliflower in the grocery store? White vegetables are just as nutritious as other colorful vegetables. Cauliflower is a relatively hearty vegetable that doesn’t wilt too quickly, is easy to prepare, and is so dang versatile in recipes from pizza crust to sauces and steaks. I definitely recommend checking out some cauliflower themed recipes in 2015.
- Fermented foods – Given the kombucha trend and the general love for all things containing probiotics and live active cultures I am looking forward to seeing more varieties of fermented foods making their appearance in 2015. I am already a lover of kefir, kimchi, and pickled vegetables, all being great sources of probiotics. The flavor profile fermented foods can add to your meal is not to be underappreciated. I still maintain that kefir is the ideal liquid choice when making smoothies, whether savory or sweet. Plus, the digestive health benefits you get from consuming fermented foods should not be overlooked.
Photo credit: mommyrunfast.com