Food trends for 2021: are these two on your menu?

As we go into spring, what are the two must-have food trends to serve to customers? Clue: one of them is THE perfect ingredient for vegans

Black garlic

It’s an ingredient that has been on many chefs’ radars for a while but it looks like black garlic’s time in the spotlight might have come, after Waitrose predicted it as one of its hottest trends in 2021.

What exactly is black garlic?

Black garlic is not a fermented garlic or a different type of allium – it is in fact regular garlic that has been heat- and dry-aged under specific conditions. This not only changes the colour, but also the flavour and texture.

The caramelisation leads to a sweeter, less pungent taste that has been likened to balsamic vinegar and the ageing gives a chewy, soft texture.

As well as being delicious, black garlic has health benefits which you could mention to customers. It’s reported to contain more antioxidants than regular garlic which could help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Recipe ideas for black garlic

Black garlic traditionally featured in Asian dishes but over recent years its use has become more widespread, appearing everywhere from high-end restaurants to burger menus. The softened cloves can give an umami depth and subtle sweetness to dishes.

Add to pasta sauces such as Bolognese, use as a topping for a burger, or stir into mayonnaise for a tasty dip. You could jazz up some mashed potato with a spoonful of the paste or add it to a stir-fry for an extra flavour boost. Try this vegetable noodle dish with a black garlic boost.

Stir-fried vegetable noodles with black garlic

Chickpeas

Demand for the humble legume is growing as many in the UK seek to increase their plant intake. One report says: “The United Kingdom is a forerunner in plant-based consumption in Europe (mostly by flexitarians). The demand for plant protein is high and expected to continue to grow.”

“4.8% annual growth is predicted in the global chickpea market”
- Chickpea market – growth, trends, and forecasts report, Mordor Intelligence

The multifunctional pea

Chickpeas’ versatility in recipes makes them very desirable. They can be used to bulk up curries and stews, as nutritious snacks, in basics such as chickpea (gram) flour and pasta, or even as an egg white substitute when the chickpea water is used to make aquafaba. So, it’s a winning ingredient for vegan customers.

One of the chickpea’s biggest benefits is that it’s suitable for people with the most common allergies – those who follow gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free diets. This makes it a perfect ingredient for your menus.

Put on a new starter – pair warmed chickpeas with chorizo (or halloumi) in a salad – offer spicy roasted chickpeas as a bar snack or rustle up a range of takeaway chapati burritos made with chickpea flour.

chicken tikka chapati burritos
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