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baby iceberg lettuce entree

If it’s not vegetarian and it’s not vegan, what exactly is veggie-centric food? It’s a trend that’s earning a well-deserved permanent place on menus across the country. Veggie-centric cuisine caters to consumer tastes, holds down food costs and presents a fresh palette for culinary inspiration. From culture-crossing Portobello appetizers to entrees starring baby iceberg lettuce, the veggie-centric movement is picking up delicious momentum.

1. Sides Move to Center Plate

Fresh produce deserves its role as an equal opportunity ingredient. Veggie-centric food elevates field-fresh edibles with cooking techniques that are more often associated with proteins. Brussels sprouts and carrots poached in beef stock take on a rich new taste. Roasted root vegetable tartares become enticing appetizers with an egg yolk garnish.

Veggie-centric dishes bring out the best in produce with cooking methods that enhance flavor profiles and please consumer palates. California’s own Lemonade restaurants feature seasonal vegetables as entrees on a revolving menu that impresses customers and critics alike. Veggie-centric food represents a positive shift in attitudes as produce moves from sides and salads to center plate.

2. Healthy Options Sell

Vegetables have always enjoyed a healthy reputation, so consumers welcome veggie-centric menu choices. They appreciate familiar flavors prepared with innovative techniques, and that gives commercial kitchens an unlimited range of creativity. You don’t have to upsell fresh produce to your customers. They’re already on board.

Whether you’re catering to Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials, veggie-centric choices entice across demographics with almost guilt-free dishes. With so many customers mentally counting calories, a baby iceberg lettuce entree can easily win hearts and appetites over a rib eye. Consumers want to feel good about their menu selections. Veggie-centric food satisfies their appetites with deliciously healthy options.

3. Tradition Turns Veggie-Centric Corners

Moving premium produce to center stage calls for new twists on traditional culinary techniques. Veggie-centric dishes benefit from cooking methods that were previously reserved for proteins. Oven roasting, wood grilling and pan searing kick up flavors and enhance textures. Consider these examples of veggie-centric thinking in the kitchen:

  • Appetizers designed with flavorful vegetables offer healthy alternatives to traditional choices.
  • Side dishes feature premium produce, innovative prep and dramatic presentation.
  • Entrees celebrate seasonality with rotating menus that keep consumers interested.
  • Veggie toppings, purees and flavorings add new dimensions of taste to classic dishes.

4. Control Costs, Inspire Imaginations

Veggie-centric menu design comes with natural advantages that help control food costs and hold down your bottom line. Compare the price of premium vegetables served as an entree to the cost of upscale proteins. Veggie-centric prep minimizes food waste by making the most of produce from root to stem.

Factor in the versatility of vegetables, and you have affordable menu flexibility. Consider their seasonality, and you have an almost unlimited number of choices to work with year-round. From small plates and shareables to bar snacks and creative cocktails, veggie-centric food inspires imaginations in the kitchen while keeping budgets on target.

Your Partner for Premium Produce

Trends make a splash, and then customers turn the page, but fresh, premium vegetables are always consumer-pleasing menu choices. As one of California’s largest produce growers and shippers, we’re uniquely positioned to partner with you in developing strategies that keep tables full and costs under control. From our fields to your food service operations, you can count on Hitchcock Farms to always deliver our very best.