Adding New and Unique Plant-Based Ingredients to Your Next Dish

Vegetarian, vegan, meatless Mondays, plant-based, Beyond Meat, impossible burgers… the list of restaurant buzzwords involving plant-based ingredients and dishes is growing so quickly it can seem hard to keep up at times.

Restaurants and retailers alike are keeping up with the trends by finding new and creative ways to cater to the plant-lover segment, and here’s how you can, too!

Not too long ago, many were hard-pressed to find a veggie burger at a restaurant, let alone an entire grocery store section or meat-alternative section on the menu. But today, across North America, the plant-based dishes are growing by the day.

But we’re not talking salads or soy patties… no, here are some ultra-creative alternatives you can incorporate into your menu to win the hearts (and stomachs) of veggie lovers far and wide:

  1. Carrot-Based “Meat” Alternatives

Bolthouse farms has developed an alternative to meat that is sure to add a WOW factor to your menu – carrots!

While many restaurant dishes rarely feature carrots in the first place, imagine the amazement when you introduce a carrot bolognese, carrot fettuccine, or even a carrot “hot dog”. Nikken Foods even introduced a carrot “cheese” sauce that continues to “wow” mac ‘n cheese fans.

Bolognese might not be a far stretch, as carrots are one of the main ingredients in this hearty sauce anyways, but if you can make the other options taste good, you’ve got a unique dish.

  1. Plant Milk is Growing Stronger

Move over soy, we’re milking… literally anything. From oat milk to hazelnut milk to even chickpea and hemp milk, we’re a long way from “finished” when it comes to milking plants.

“New varieties of alternative milks are being developed and increasing in awareness, so they likely haven’t peaked just yet,” says Mike Kostyo, a trendologist at food industry research firm Datassential. (Well and Good)

Jump on the plant milk train and create one of these stunning lattes: golden (turmeric), pink (rose), or blue (spirulina and lavender).

  1. Jackfruit Loves a Good BBQ

This meat-alternative has been on the scene for a long time but is not yet a big player, and we’re not sure why. If you love BBQ pulled pork, pulled chicken, or jerk chicken (anything spicy, really) jackfruit is the meat substitute you’ve been waiting for. Simply marinade in sauce, heat in a hot frying pan, and consume as you would your regular carnitas.

Jackfruit also has an impressive nutritional profile and can even help control blood sugar, protect against disease (it is a powerful antioxidant) and provides way more protein than other fruits (~3g per cup).

Looking for more plant-based meat alternatives and recipes? Nikken Foods has excited recipes and ingredients to bring your plant-based food cravings to life! Check out a few of our favorite plant-based ingredients at the moment:

  • 6109 Red Miso Powder: The fermented notes in Red Miso mask the grassiness of pea protein making this a favorite for customers.
  • 7501 Umami Medley: This mix is excellent for masking the chalk off notes of soy protein and maximizing the taste through the umami synergy of Kombu, Shiitake and yeast extract.
  • 2115 Shiitake Extract Powder: This tasty powder masks the bitterness from plant proteins, sweeteners and potassium chloride in savory meat-like applications and reduced sodium products.

Learn more about what’s possible when you contact Nikken Foods today!