Skip to main content

Plant-Based Explosion

Plant-based meal on a plate

First there were vegetarians, then vegans, followed by flexitarians…and now the diet gaining the most traction is known as climatarianism. This movement is fueled by the desire to know where your food comes from, how it was grown, and what impact it may have on the environment. Plant-based foods figure prominently into this style of eating, with fresh fruits and vegetables being the stars of the plate.

  • Appetizers such as whipped Burrata with macerated strawberries and rhubarb, roasted beets with grapefruit and labne, and charred Brussels sprouts tossed in Romesco sauce are all examples of bold flavors that don’t need animal protein to feel satisfying.
  • Tacos remain hot! Offer plant-based versions with fiery charred cauliflower as the main attraction, topped with creamy guacamole, pickled watermelon radishes, shredded green cabbage, and charred green onions.
  • And veg-forward doesn’t always mean meat-free, but rather a higher ratio of fresh produce than animal protein. Garnishing pasta dishes with crumbled Italian sausage, dotting green salads with lardon, adding bits pork belly to kimchi fried rice, and tossing green beans with salumi vinaigrette are all examples of incorporating small amounts of meat for bursts of flavor and texture.

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.