HOTTEST Food Trends: Tried and Tested!

Green Tea Ice Cream
Have you ever wondered if the latest food trends are worth the hype? Are you intimidated by new trends like kombucha, vegan meringue, and smoothie bowls? We have the answers (and the recipes!). Associate food editors Hali Ramdene and Carrie Boyd are sharing their behind-the-scenes secrets to the latest trends. Plus, we asked Test Kitchen specialists Juli Hale and Carla Christian for their trend tips and tricks!

Trend: Kombucha

"Stick to the recipe," Carrie says. Kombucha, a fermented sweetened green or black tea, uses a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY starts as a residue on the surface of the tea, then grows to fill the diameter of the jar while getting thicker. The bacteria and yeast inside the SCOBY create the fermenting action. Because you're dealing with (good!) bacteria growth, it's important that you follow recipes closely when fermenting.

Trend: Nut Butter

"Keep blending," Carrie says. Homemade nut butters need time in the food processor to blend and release their oils. The less fat content a nut has (here's looking at you, almond), the more time it needs to blend. And don't expect the same smooth, uniform texture you get from major purchased brands -- DIY nut butters have a more irregular look and will loosen up as they sit at room temperature.

Trend: Cooking on Coals

"It's all about being fearless and trusting the process," Hali says. The key is to truly use the right charcoal -- natural hardwood -- and to have everything ready to go when you hit the grill.

Trend: Vegan Meringue

Carrie's advice: "Stick to garbanzo beans." The liquid from a can of garbanzo beans replaces egg whites for a food-safe (vegan) meringue. The liquid from other canned beans works, too, but the neutral taste of garbanzo beans lends itself well to a slightly earthy meringue without a strong bean flavor. (For vegan marshmallows, make sure your packaged gelatin is vegan, too.)

Trend: Smoothie Bowls

Keep frozen sliced bananas in your freezer for quick-prep morning smoothie bowls. And be creative with toppers.

"Nuts, dried or fresh fruit, granola, flaxseed, and goji berries are all fair game when it comes to smoothie bowl toppers," Carrie says.

Trend: Overnight Oats

"It's less about the oat," Carrie says. While you can use just about any oat except quick-cooking oats (they will turn to mush), your yogurt choice will make or break this grab-and-go breakfast. Skip the fat-free yogurt—Greek or regular—both were equally blah and accentuate the starchy taste. Low-fat plain yogurt or whole milk Greek yogurt were our top picks for a smooth and creamy texture.

Trend: Zoodles

"You don't want to overcook them -- it's a veggie, and you want to eat it fresh," Hali says. Having a spiralizer makes it easier to make zucchini noodles, thought you can get the same effect with a peeler or a knife. But the spiralizer is totally worth it.

You won't believe how easy these noodles are! Perfect for a simple summer dinner, this quick meal comes together in just 20 minutes!

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles

Curious about how to spiralize? Watch this quick video and find out!

Trend: Bone Broth

Adding just two tablespoons of vinegar to the broth helps break down the bones for rich flavor.

Trend: Fruit Dyes

Hali's advice: "You can always get there -- it's all about what happens when you get creative with flavor. If you want a bright dye that doesn't have artificial products, then go for the most colorful fruits or veggies."

Trend: Cauliflower Crust

"Ditch the liquid," Carrie says. Because vegetables have a high water content, moisture is released as they cook. Remove as much liquid as possible before mixing the cooked cauliflower with other crust ingredients. And go light on toppings: The addition of too much sauce, cheese, and pizza toppers can also make for a soggy veggie crust.

Trend: Infused Water

Hali's advice: "Bubbles make it better! Go for sparkling water when infusing."

Trend: Cookie Butter

Carrie's advice: "Add some warm liquid. The addition of liquid encourages blending and creates a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture."

Trend: Kimchi

"Keep it covered. Food should remain fully submerged (at least 1-2 inches) under the brine while fermenting," Carrie says. If the cabbage does not release enough liquid, add brine to cover the mixture by at least 1 inch. Use a plate to keep the cabbage mixture submerged.

Trend: Waffle It

The waffle iron is important here. "Know the difference between a regular waffle iron and a Belgian-style iron -- this can make a huge difference in the way the waffles cook and the cooking time," Carla says.


Trend: Buddha Bowls

Keep it separated. Store individual salad components -- greens, roasted veggies, dressing, etc. -- separately and assemble right before eating (or in the morning for a make-ahead desk lunch).

"To feed a crowd, ditch the individual bowls and serve the whole thing in a serving dish or on a large platter. Trust me -- this was gone in about 5 minutes in the studio yesterday," Carrie says.

Trend: Matcha

"Though it is finely ground, it is still not soluble, so it won't dissolve but will disperse evenly throughout mixtures it is added to. Sometimes matcha is used like a seasoning and sprinkled over dishes to add some flavor," Juli says.

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