Food trends often originate with chefs, no surprise. That's why I love to see what's trending on restaurant menus. One source I rely on is Technomic, a firm in Chicago that offers a service called MenuMonitor that tracks menu trends at chain and independent restaurants in the U.S. Here are six hot menu trends from the first quarter of 2015, along with some creative interpretations of these trends from Healthy Aperture bloggers.
1. Melt Sandwiches
The top flavors with sandwich melts include garlic mayonnaise, cilantro, horseradish mayonnaise, pineapple, banana pepper, chipotle, cucumber, gravy, fontina and horseradish. Pictured above is Country Ham Melt by Southern Fatty.
2. Maple Dressing
The top proteins paired with items featuring maple: turkey, bacon, ham, chicken, sausage, pork, salmon, pork chop, crab and shrimp.
Shredded Kale and Pear Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing by The Corner Kitchen
3. Plethora of Peppers
Peppers to watch: shishito, habanero, serrano, poblano, sweet chili, ancho and cayenne.
Shishito Peppers by Bourbon and Honey
Also called Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are a knobby, tannish-brown root vegetable that's a member of the sunflower family.
Sunchoke Chips and Guacamole by Stasty
5. Fish and Seafood Stuffings
Top seafood items in "stuffed" entrees: shrimp, crab, lobster, salmon, scallop, tuna, flounder, tilapia, mahi mahi and prawn.
Roasted Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Warm Shrimp and Corn Salad by The Wimpy Vegetarian
6. Blackberry Cocktails
Beyond blackberry, the fastest growing fruits in specialty drinks: olive, guava, blueberry, cucumber, apricot, watermelon, passion fruit, grapefruit and peach.
Blackberry Mint Mojitos by Tastes Lovely