In Hollywood, plant-based eating has been considered the ‘fountain of youth’ by celebrities for a long time – and over the last couple of years it has become extremely popular with the public as it allows them to eat their food favourites without the health costs of high fat and sugar content. Vegetables are taking centre-stage in dishes, as customers are increasingly focused on a healthy lifestyle and cutting down on their carb intake.
In a new series of blogs for 2017 we’re bringing food operators the latest trends for the on-the-go food market. From Acai bowls and Poke, to Bao burgers and rolled ice-cream – we’ll be taking a close look at the must-have dishes essential for any 2017 take-out menu; and we’ll be exploring why these dishes have risen to popularity so quickly.
In a recent study led by scientists at the Oxford Martin School, they found that shifting to a mostly vegetarian diet, or cutting down meat consumption to within accepted health guidelines, would make a large dent in greenhouse gas emissions – caused from the methane produced by animals. The study suggested that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could bring down emissions by as much as 63%.
People are going vegetable mad – courgette is being transformed into long ribbons of pasta using a spiralizer – the latest kitchen device. On Amazon last year spiralizers saw an increase in sales of 1400% and Lakeland claims that they sell one every four minutes – people have spiraled out of control for spiralizers.
Sweet potatoes are being used as an alternative to sugar in brownies, cauliflower florets as an alternative to chicken wings and cauliflower and almonds as an alternative to flour in pizza – it’s the vegetable revolution!
Vegetables ribbons have been at the forefront of this revolution due to their uncanny resemblance to pasta when spiralized. Many chefs and healthy lifestyle bloggers have raved about the benefits of eating them, they are full of fantastic nutrients, they fool our bodies into thinking it’s just had a bowl full of pasta, and they have fewer calories and fats than pasta – what’s not to love?
One of the most popular vegetable ribbons is courgette also known as courgetti – due to its resemblance to spaghetti, it has taken an otherwise considered boring vegetable and turned it into what people are now calling the hero vegetable.
Thanks to healthy lifestyle bloggers, the Hemsley sisters, courgetti is now seen as an exciting alternative to pasta as it offers benefits to your health but also adds a whole new element to dishes due to its texture and flavour. In fact, it has become so popular you can now even buy readily prepared courgetti from the supermarket. The Hemsley sisters recommend pairing courgetti with Italian sauces particularly beef ragu and say that once mixed you will be unable to tell the difference from pasta.
Although courgetti is the most famous vegetable ribbons, chefs are using turnip, beetroot, squash, sweet potato, cucumber, broccoli stalks and red cabbage to add different textures and elements to dishes. For example, turnip ribbons are recommended for cream sauces, sweet potato ribbons are a perfect alternative to noodles in Chinese and Thai salads, and beetroot ribbons go perfectly with feta cheese – there is a world of options and varieties. Of course there are some vegetables like leeks, aubergine, and peppers which cannot be spiralized.
The advantage of vegetable ribbons over pasta is that it can be eaten by almost all – particularly those who are diabetic and have a gluten or wheat intolerance. It is quick to prepare – 30 seconds in boiling water, healthy – 70% less calories than pasta and most importantly guilt-free. It is a fantastic way to hide vegetables and eat your favourite dishes without having to worry about the impact it has on your body.
Quick to respond to this opportunity, restaurants jumped on the bandwagon and are now offering vegetable ribbons as a quick and easy to make alternative for those who are unable to eat wheat pasta.
In the UK, Mae Deli is a fast casual dining environment specialising in healthy and organic food. Founded by Ella and Matthew Mills – a new age of celebrity lifestyle bloggers – the deli celebrates delicious, natural foods created from simple ingredients. Vegetable ribbons are used throughout the deli whether in a salad or in a simple pasta dish. The concept has been extremely popular and they now have four delis around London, which are all extremely popular, especially with office workers during their lunch breaks. People are becoming more and more conscious of what they are eating nowadays, therefore having a healthier option to the usual fast food suspects gives them a reason to eat better.
Like traditional pasta and salads, courgetti requires leak proof and secure packaging to prevent any sauce spillages. Here at Bunzl Catering Supplies we recommend the Gourmet 24.7 hybrid packaging and Combione combination packaging, both manufactured by supplier Colpac, and are perfect for transporting vegetable ribbons hassle free.
The Gourmet 24.7 is an innovative, multi-functional packaging concept which is visually enticing, recyclable and microwaveable. It has a tight, secure lid which means that any saucy foods will not leak from the packaging – making it perfect for a courgetti bolognese. The trays can be branded with our bespoke print service and come in small (1479ml) and large (1784ml).
Combione is a concept in combination packaging where the paperboard base and plastic lid are fused together. The innovative fused hinge creates a firm closing system between the paperboard base and plastic lid, to prevent leaks and provide an easy one-piece solution. Combione packaging offers excellent visibility of food items and are ideal for popular vegetarian favourites. The available sizes are large (1110ml) and extra-large (1280ml).
At Bunzl Catering Supplies we are experts in food packaging that travels well – if this blog has inspired you to put vegetables centre-stage on your menu, why don’t you give us a call to discuss your packaging options first?