Flavors & Cooking Tips, Foodservice

Veg-Centric Dishes Are on the Rise and Not Just For Vegetarians

According to Datassentals research, 60% of consumers say they prefer “plant-based foods that showcase the fruit or vegetable instead of mimicking another food,” compared to 40% who prefer plant-based options that replace traditional foods like beef or milk. This growing movement is not just about becoming a vegetarian or consuming more fruits and vegetables, it’s about reducing meat consumption to light-meat or no-meat dishes for certain days, like Meatless Monday.

Omnivorous dining consumers are leaning toward vegetable-based dishes featuring fresh produce prepared in unique ways. Chefs have been utilizing methods, commonly used for cooking meat, to create craveable flavors such as, searing, charring and smoking. The upside to offering produce-prominent dishes: they provide easy entry to take advantage of the farm-fresh trend, broaden market reach, suggest seasonality, and evoke a healthy habit.

Menu Tips

  1. Adopt a Veg-Centric Mindset: When creating new menu items, consider produce as equal-opportunity ingredients for the center of the plate.
  2. Let Veggies Shine: Instead of using vegetables to represent “meat,” let vegetables, like mushrooms and root veggies, stand out on their own quality.
  3. Focus on the Season: Highlight vegetables that are grown locally and that are in season. Mushrooms are grown indoors, so they are always in season and at peak freshness.
  4. Don’t Remove the Meat: Veg-centric doesn’t mean meatless. Add in smoked meats, sausage crumbles, or use meat-based broths to add additional flavor. Using The Blend can also allow you to cut out up to 75% of the ground meat in some dishes.
  5. Avoid Steaming: Make the dishes stand out by cooking vegetables like you would meat – smoked, seared, wood-grilled, and oven-roasted.

Trend Leaders

Dirt Candy

New York

Buche de Mushroom Mousse
A savory portabella cake, fill it with portabella mousse, then coat the cake in a mousse bark, an assortment of grilled mushrooms and serve it alongside a Bing cherry puree and Asian pears.



Cauliflower oyster mushroom, eggplant, quinoa tabouli, herb tahini.

Charlie was a Sinner


Scallop Escabeche
King oyster mushroom, crimson lentils, smoked carrot puree, and fried capers.



Sweet + Savory French Toast
Rosemary garlic bread, sweet potato, roasted tomato, smokey mushrooms, maple aioli.

If you are looking to take advantage of the growing plant-based trend please reach out to our team at South Mill Champs, we’d be happy to help you build a delicious, sustainable and plant-based menu featuring mushrooms.