Trending Now: Veg-Centric

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know about the trend of Veg-Centric cuisine. As our good friend and trends guru Chef Gerry Ludwig tells us, “it’s about leaving behind the either-or mentality about vegetarian foods, and putting produce at the center of the plate.” Chefs are treating veggies with the same care and respect (not to mention cooking techniques) once reserved for animal proteins, and taking them to the next level with meat elements in the role of condiments and flavor enhancers.

It’s no wonder this trend is taking off. Mainstream consumers have been seeking “feel good” cuisine for several years. Menu items offer healthful cues, like whole grains, ample veggies or antibiotic free meats, but still have craveability. And veg-centric dishes also carry a very real “good for the planet” sensibility to the plate, as eating less meat is widely recognized as better for the environment.

At Barilla, we’re all-in on this trend! It’s in keeping with our goal of helping US consumers adopt a more Mediterranean lifestyle, where more produce and good grains take the place of oversized portions of animal proteins. One thing we’re excited about is how often Italian ingredients and preparations are serving in the star or supporting role. There’s just a natural affinity for Italian ingredients and flavors and vegetable centricity.

Here are our favorites among the top protein “adds” happening in veg-centric cuisine today:

  • Bagna Cauda
  • Prosciutto
  • ‘Nduja
  • Lardo
  • Salami & Sopressata
  • Pancetta

Barilla insight:
Pasta – a plant-based protein source itself – is a natural carrier for vegetable-centric dishes. It adds a level of substance and value to the plate, allowing chefs more focus on the vegetables and protein adds.

Here are a few examples of veg-centric pasta dishes with these top protein “adds:”