It’s no wonder that a good deal of research is conducted to explore culinary trends. Food is big business. Companies that tap into these insights are better prepared to meet customer demands, perhaps even before consumers know exactly what they want.

Perhaps we have developed more discerning tastes and can avoid the food fails of the past, including coffee in a cone, charcoal ice cream and sushi burritos.

Like other areas, the food realm has a few visionaries and a plethora of followers. Here's what visionaries predict will be the food related trends most likely to captivate us in 2019.

Global flavors

While we still love comfort foods, Americans are expanding their palettes to encompass more global flavors. As a result, spices and other ingredients reflecting different and "exotic" flavor profiles will be more abundant on grocery-store shelves and restaurant menus.

For example, Pho (pronounced fuh) restaurants are popping up all over. If you prefer to make this Vietnamese broth based noodle dish, you can buy a carton of pho stock at most grocery stores.

Long gone are the days when someone might ask, "Why do we call a creamy dip made from garbanzo beans hummus rather than just bean dip?"

Meat substitutes

Upwards of 30 percent of Americans consider themselves a flexitarian, which is generally defined as someone who follows a primarily vegetarian diet but sometimes eats meat or fish. To accommodate these individuals, you’ll see a rise in the selection and quality of plant based meat substitutes.

Forget the frozen hockey puck veggie burgers of the past, food scientists have created burgers that mimic the texture of beef (thanks to a protein found in plants).

Vegan butchers (there really is such a thing) look like traditional butchers but they sell creatively clever lookalike items made from jackfruit, lentils, seitan and oats.

Probiotics

Research increasingly points to the importance of a healthy gut microbiome for wellness. Probiotic is a general term for the good bacteria that help maintain a natural balance in our intestines and protect our gut from harmful bacteria.

Kombucha, a fermented tea boasting a culture of good bacteria, isn’t new to the party but will continue to move into the mainstream with companies offering more flavor options.

Consumers will have more selections when swigging down a good dose of probiotics. Look for probiotics to also be added to a whole host of your favorite products.

Ethical Concerns

Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of their choices when it comes to food and, as a result, want to leave a lighter carbon footprint.

With that in mind, companies are making efforts to reduce packaging and procure ethically sourced ingredients to alleviate concerns.

Additionally, organic food can be found almost anywhere, while locally grown produce and local artisanal products have gained a loyal following.

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Here are recipes that brace some of the trends presented.

Ethiopian Inspired Stew

This hearty and comforting stew calls for Berbere seasoning, a chili and spice blend with a distinctive smoky flavor profile that is a staple in Ethiopian cooking. If you can’t find it in the store, you can order it online or make your own (there are many variations which use the same types of spices but differ in measurements of each spice).

  • 1½ cups dried brown lentils
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3-5 teaspoons Berbere seasoning
  • 5 cups low or no sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2½ cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons pureed ginger
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen spinach

Berbere seasoning

  • 8 teaspoons pure chili powder or 2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 5 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½-teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3⁄8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3⁄8 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine and whisk together all ingredients.

Place all of the ingredients into a multi-cooker or pressure cooker, cover and seal. Cook for 15 minutes. When finished, allow the pressure to release naturally and remove the lid.

Maple Poached Apples and Italian Sausage

  • 2 links of No Evil Foods brand The Stallion Italian sausage
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsps water
  • 2 Tbsps maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional-fresh blueberries, blackberries or strawberries

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add The Stallion links and cook, 3-5 minutes until browned. Remove sausage from pan, cut each link into quarters and set aside. Add apples to a medium sauce pan with 2 Tbsps water and cook over medium heat until apples begin to soften. Toss in a small handful of berries (if using) and drizzle on maple syrup. Add cut sausage to sauce pan with apples, then add vanilla and stir well to combine. Raise heat to a low boil and stir frequently until sauce is thickened.

This easy to assemble Wholesome Winter Bowl has everything you need to keep your microbiome healthy from the probiotic in the fermented vegetables to the prebiotic (fiber) which feeds good bacteria.

Recipe and The Stallion Italian sausage from No Evil Foods, Ashville, North Carolina. Order online at www.noevilfoods.com.

Wholesome Winter Bowl

  • ½ cup brown rice (or other whole grain such as quinoa)
  • ½ cup sweet potato, baked and cubed
  • 1/3 cup organic chickpeas
  • ¼ cup shiitake mushrooms or other mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 handfuls kale, arugula or other greens
  • 2 Tbsps sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable
  • 2 tsp low sodium tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped (optional)
  • Stuffed Local Acorn Squash
  • 1 local acorn squash
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups low or no sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the uncut acorn squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bbake 25 minutes, or until soft. Set aside. Cook quinoa with broth in a multi-cooker on the rice function or in a sauce pan following the directions on the quinoa package. Mix the cooked quinoa, raisins, cranberries and pecans until well combined. Slice the acorn squash into equal halves. Scoop out the seeds and some of the squash from each half. Evenly divide the quinoa mixture and place in each acorn squash half.

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