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Volume 3 | Issue 09

September 13, 2017

From Side To Star


No longer relegated to the bottom of the menu, today’s side dishes are grabbing their share of the spotlight. Though the most frequently menued side dishes are salad, fries and rice, operators are rethinking these dishes to be flavor-forward and on trend. Kale salads and Brussels sprouts salads, for example, are popping up in place of the traditional side Caesar. Crispy smashed marble potatoes make for a colorful alternative to french fries. Ancient grains such as bulgur and quinoa have experienced tremendous growth as sides, too. Interest in plant-based cuisine and root-to-stem techniques has inspired innovation in the vegetable side dish category. Think roasted sunchokes, warm cauliflower salad and nori (seaweed) chips. Small portions of comfort dishes such as casserole or mac and cheese can be offered as premium sides for an upcharge or served family-style for sharing. Sides have the star power to drive traffic, boost check averages and add a signature touch to any menu!




Pale Ale Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Pretzel Topping
This rich and smoky mac will have your customers ordering seconds! View Recipe

Harissa Grilled Fruit Slaw
An assortment of harissa-marinated grilled fruit kicks up this take on a classic coleslaw. View Recipe

Curried Brown Rice and Apricots
Move over, rice pilaf. This Moroccan-inspired side delivers bold flavor to impress your guests. View Recipe

Thai Red Curry Slaw
This versatile slaw can be served as a side, sandwich topper, taco filling and more! View Recipe


Start with nutritious grains, seasonal produce or classic starches and add ready-to-use products from Custom Culinary® to enliven the flavor of any side dish.



Chef Talk

Chef Michael Smith recounts his delicious trip to Seoul —from the jaw-dropping grocery stores to BBQ joints to street carts—and share how the memorable dishes he tried can inspire your own menu.

FlavorIQ® enables our customers' growth and success by approaching the creation of customized solutions with a bold mix of expertise, aspiration and curiosity. We develop unique products, menu concepts and "gold standard" flavor delivery systems, meeting the requirements of our customers today and anticipating their emerging needs, too. The opportunities we identify for operators and food manufacturers on a global scale are rooted in a deep understanding of the culinary arts, sensory science, consumer insights and food science. Our ultimate goal? Innovation without limits.


Datassential, “Side: The SNAP™ Food Profile,” August 2017.
Joan Lang, “Veg on the Edge,” Flavor & The Menu, July 1, 2017.
Katie Ayoub, “Small Potatoes Go Big,” Flavor & The Menu, January 5, 2017.