6 Tasty Trends for 2016

Peruvian Chicken with Mashed Plantains and Chile Sauce

What’s trending right now and what new flavours will we crave in 2016?

Quinoa, kale, sriracha—chances are you’ve long forgotten when the spotlight first flashed onto these trendy foods. But, they weren’t always the most buzzed about ingredients around (and now we put sriracha on everything!). So, what’s trending right now and what new flavours will we crave in 2016?

The team at McCormick bet they know. Since 2000, the food company has compiled an annual flavour forecast report calling on input from a global team made up of their chefs, food technologists and flavour experts.

Here are six flavours and food combinations they say will emerge for 2016:

1. Heat + Tang
Invite your palette to the marriage of fiery hot chilies and the tangy twist of lemon, lime,  and rice vinegar. This year brings a new take on our ongoing love for spicy foods — it’s one that brings acidity to the table, too. As such, you can also try combining your spicy foods with ingredients like tamarind, cranberries, kumquats or ponzu (a citrus-based sauce used in Japanese cooking). Recipe to Try: Peruvian Chicken with Mashed Plantains and Chile Sauce

2. Tropical Asian
Asian dishes are always popular, but this year we’ll train our focus in on one region in particular: Southeast Asia. Filipino and Malaysian cuisines offer a wide spectrum of flavours to experiment with, from subtle sweetness to mellow heat. For Filipino recipes, stock your kitchen with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper and banana ketchup, while Malaysian dishes often call for chilies, lemongrass, ginger, tamarind, coriander and turmeric. Recipe to Try: Pinoy Pork BBQ with Green Mango Slaw

3. Alternative “Pulse” Proteins
Pulses such as dried beans, peas, and lentils are inexpensive and healthy sources of protein. Pigeon peas take on South Asian flair when cooked with coconut milk and cumin. Cranberry beans (also known as Borlotti) can be prepared with sage and white wine for a Mediterranean interpretation. And, Black Beluga lentils go well with a simple accompaniment of peaches and mustard. Recipe to Try: Cranberry Bean, Sage and Orzo Soup

4. Culinary-Infused Sips
Cocktails continue to climb new culinary heights with mixologists pushing the limits of what we expect from a highball of good spirits. If you’re used to your simple after work G&T, or a classic martini when out on the town, try taking a stroll into more complex libations with this year’s three main cocktail characteristics: pickled (tart), roasted (smoky), and brûléed (caramelized sugar). Recipe to Try: Peach and Vanilla Brûlée Cocktail

5. Blends with Benefits
Pairing super foods with other complementary healthful ingredients is a good way to double down on your resolution to eat better. For example, chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be mixed with citrus (for vitamin C) and garlic (an immune system booster). Recipes to Try: Niçoise Salad with Chia, Citrus and Chile Crusted Tuna

6. Ancestral Flavours
Although we live in a rapidly progressing era, this year we’ll pause and look back to tried-and-true ancient herbs and grains. For example, ingredients like Amaranth, consumed by pre-Colombian Aztecs, has a nutty flavour, is gluten-free and a source of protein.
Recipe to try: Hominy Fritters with Bacon-Thyme Dipping Sauce


Nadine Anglin is a Toronto-based writer/editor and producer. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @nadine_anglin