Fruit Forward

Cantaloupe-honeydew melon with coconut milk and herbs fruit soup

Until recently, vegetables have claimed the spotlight in the meat-free and flexitarian segments—but fresh fruits are making a play for menu real estate.

  • Watermelon, with its bright pink color and firm texture (especially when compressed) makes a fun, delicious ahi tuna substitute. Chefs are also smoking and charring chunks to enhance natural sugars and add complexity.
  • Roasted, pickled, and grilled fruits such as grapes, berries, pears, and peaches can be paired with gooey cheeses, leafy greens, and salty meats.
  • Feature chilled and warm fruit soups such as the cantaloupe-honeydew melon with coconut milk and herbs on warm-weather menus.

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.