If you want to get great ideas for meal planning and recipe ideas, or just want to figure out what the heck everyone else is talking about, chances are you've hit up Pinterest for research. 2018 is going to be a great year for food and drink -- international foods, healthy foods, and power-house drinks (even those without the extra kick of booze) are all rising stars.
Check out the top 10 trends, according to Pinterest.
1. Healthy Frying
I know, the whole point of frying is that it's not healthy, right? But what if you could make chips or donuts without all the oil? Air fryers promise just that. A fan circulates hot air quickly around the food, which creates a crispy outer layer as it cooks the food.
It's easy, calorie-friendly, and a heck of a lot easier to clean up after. Look, you can even "fry" zucchini or fruit if you need to feel extra-healthy.
Soup is good for you. It stretches ingredients, tastes even better the next day, and is easy both to carry in your lunchbox and eat. Or drink. No judging here if you want to put soup in your mug instead of coffee.
Puréed soups are a growing trend as people look to winter-friendly ways to reset after holiday eating. In general, these soups are simple to make and don't have to be high in calories.
I have mixed feelings about this particular trend. I'm good with adding coffee to things (Coffee-infused maple syrup? Yes, please.), but adding extra "healthy" things to coffee, isn't my cup of... black coffee. But if you need an extra pick me up, adding protein powder or something like maca, might give you that little extra oomph you need.
4. Moroccan Spices
There is a whole world of spices out there, and showing some love for North African spices like cumin, coriander and cardamom is a great way to start a new year of cooking adventures. You might be familiar with cumin from Mexican cooking; in Moroccan recipes it takes on a whole new profile.
5. Plant Proteins
No, we don't mean tofu. Beans and grains like lentils, hemp and quinoa are solid sources of protein, and their taste stands up to any meat-heavy dish you can think of. And with different varieties of each, you're bound to find at least one recipe that tickles your taste buds.
6. Snap Peas
Instead of chips, try snap peas or edamame. You can dress these little green goodies up to be sweet or savory. They're great for parties (make ahead, finger food), easy to pack for lunches, and a perfect tasty/healthy snack.
If you like Sriracha (and who doesn't?), the next hot sauce on your list needs to be Gochujang. This Korean condiment is burning its way up the trend list, catching fire with everything from wings and BBQ to meatballs and shrimp.
This clarified butter, most often used in Indian cooking, is catching on. To make ghee, butter is simmered, toasting the milk solids, which are then skimmed away from the fat. The result is lactose-free, which opens new avenues up for those who have issues with dairy.
It also gives food a rich, nutty flavor. Use it in any recipes where you need cooking oil: frying, baking, roasting. The high smoke point makes it easy to use in many different ways.
9. Vegan Desserts
If you're looking to cut down on animal products in your diet, an easy swap is using coconut oil instead of butter and flax seeds instead of eggs.
It's best to start off with a good recipe until you get the hang of it. Also useful when you've forgotten to go to the grocery store for pantry basics and absolutely have to have muffins.
Whether you're participating in Dryuary, or just looking for ways to avoid drinking alcohol while not missing out on nights on the town, mocktails are really coming into their own.
House-made and artisanal ingredients, plus thoughtful bartenders and mixologists, are making it easier to avoid alcohol while still drinking well.