The “greening” of the American menu is the major trend of the moment, as chefs direct their creative energies toward produce. Innovation around vegetables has moved from the soup, salad and side dish categories directly to the center of the plate. No longer a consolation prize for meat-deprived diners, the vegetable entrée is now fully realized, providing taste, texture and satisfaction.. Using the same culinary techniques and touches previously lavished on meats and seafood has enhanced the appeal and raised the coolness factor of vegetables of all kinds.
Vegan and vegetarian restaurants have moved from the fringes to the mainstream, and some have won serious plaudits along the way. Many forward-thinking restaurants are now dedicated to disproving the notion that vegan food is expensive and bland, introducing items such as sandwich-based fare like the PLT, grilled plantain tossed in jerk sauce, lettuce and tomato, drizzled in sauce and served on a Hawaiian roll.
Chains are getting in on the action, too. Veggie Grill is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., operates 37 locations around the country and calls itself a “plant-based zone” free of any animal products.
Veg Forward Thinking
Mass-market acceptance of vegetables as options to crave is being influenced by an emerging class of fast-casual operations, some of whom declare their greenness right in their names in order to cast a halo of health over their menu offerings.
Arguably the most imaginative use of vegetables as main dishes is found at broad-menu operations that cater to omnivores. They’ve moved way beyond the conventional vegetable plate, a culinarily lazy entrée assortment of the day’s side dishes.
If you have a vegetable product line that you market, or run a restaurant with many veg dishes on the menu, we should chat… contact us for your free evaluation and a discussion of how we can help elevate your brand and your products.