We’re Calling It — The Biggest Food Trends In 2015

It's been a great year for epicureans — especially the avocado fans and coffee lovers among us. But, if our tastebuds have a say in it, this coming year is going to be even better. To stay ahead of the curve, we've tapped NBC's food-trends expert Phil Lempert and the chefs at Kendall College’s Culinary School to forecast our future culinary obsessions. Read on to find out what the next kale is — you heard it here first.
Photographed by Michael O'Neal.

Hybrid Veggies
Your grocery aisle is welcoming some newfangled vegetables this year: The kalette, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, and broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Though fruit blends like the pluot (plum and apricot) and tangelo (tangerine and pomelo) have been gaining popularity for a while, this is the year these crossbred greens will make their way into supermarkets — and our salads.

Photographed by Maria Del Rio.

Ramen Comeback
That's right, your favorite college meal is back — and better than ever. In its native country, Japan, good ramen is all about the broth. Preparing this gourmet component is practically an art form: Some broths take days to make and are composed of everything from pork belly to short ribs. With such levels of dedication, it's not hard to see why these specialty noodle shops are popping up across America. Major cities like San Francisco and NYC have long been in on the trend, but it's picking up steam everywhere else this year. Based on research provided by Technomic's MenuMonitor, the appearances of this dish on restaurant menus increased 18.2% from March 2013 to March 2014.

Smoke It
Everything tastes better when you roast it, and we're not just talking about bacon and 'smores. 2015 will be the year of the smoked foods: Foodies are firing up their cheese, butter, and even cocktails to add that extra sizzle and dark flavor to their meals.

Photographed by Ashley Batz.

Coconut Oil For The Win
Is olive oil a cooking essential in your home? Boring. In 2015, kitchens will be taken over by oils extracted from avocados, pumpkin seeds, and coconut. Many do things their olive brethren can't: Avocado oil, especially when refined, stands up to higher heat settings, while coconut oil adds a sweet flavor that sets itself apart for baking and sautéing.

Tart Is The Word
Good news for pickle devotees: Sour will be the predominant taste this year. Fermented and pickled foods are increasingly popular with chefs, as they bring more sour notes to dishes. Hit up your international grocery stores, and keep an eye out for chamoy, green-mango powder, and sumac in the condiments aisle.

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