02/24/2014 11:20 am ET Updated Feb 24, 2014

4 Food Trends You Definitely Shouldn't Ignore

By Lynn Andriani

We've got a crush on these addictive snacks, soothing drink and other trendy treats.

  • Condiment Mash-Ups
    Courtesy of Sir Kensington's
    For many of us, a turkey sandwich or BLT is incomplete without a good smear of tangy mayonnaise. But the newest twists on mayo incorporate flavors you'd never expect. A lime-pickle version from Empire Mayo will change the way you look at fish tacos; and Sir Kensington's sriracha mayo, which has just enough heat, tastes outrageous in egg salad or on fries. Hummus is getting crazy lately, too, with Hope Foods creating a Thai coconut-curry blend, which, when dipped into with baby carrots, transforms the snooze-inducing veggies into an exciting treat. Even jam is getting a makeover -- seen in The Jam Stand's Sweet WINO-nion, a spread that combines zinfandel, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and red onions, and is great on burgers.
  • Minty Drinks (Again!)
    Courtesy of Silk Road Soda
    Mint is making a comeback, and while we're happy to see it in familiar foods, such as dark-chocolate patties, its appearance in soda and flavored water is what's most, er, refreshing, because it shows us just how versatile the herb can be. The Almond Water Mint & Licorice from Victoria's Kitchen was inspired by the founder's French grandmother's recipe and tastes subtly sweet; there's also Silk Road's Cucumber Mint, which reminds us of something we'd sip at a day spa, but with an added bubbly sensation; and The Republic of Tea's new Gingermint Green HiCAF Tea Bags, a high caffeine tea with spearmint and peppermint (plus spicy ginger) that promises to put you into "a state of calm alertness." (It has more caffeine than most green teas, but less than coffee.)
  • Spiced-Up Sweets
    Courtesy of QUIN
    Over-the-top hot foods that make you run for the nearest water fountain are going in an even bolder direction, with snack makers combining the most trendy spices with creative sweet elements. We're seeing new flavor combinations, such as smoky-sugar, honey-wasabi and habanero-maple, popping up in everything from candies to granola bars. QUIN's Smoked Cola Gumdrops are made with sugar that's been smoked over a wood fire -- but they also include a nostalgic, gummy Coke bottle flavor. And KIND bars now come in a dark chocolate-chili-almond variety: Almonds, peanuts and cashews are spiked with a subtle dusting of cascabel, ancho and habanero chili powder, and then drizzled with dark chocolate.
  • Eggs All Around (Especially Of The Pillowy Variety)
    Courtesy of Fresh Direct
    The humble egg is making a major splash in the food world lately, with food writer Michael Ruhlman devoting an entire book to the subject (Egg comes out in April). Ruhlman says he hopes the renewed interest in all things egg is not just a trend, but a "readjustment back to normal", since eggs have so much to offer, from health to food-budget benefits. In particular, he's noticed soft-cooked eggs becoming more popular on menus, whether atop a plate of grits or nestled in a bowl of ramen (check out the new book Put an Egg on It for more fantastic ideas that help turn so-so meals into stunners). And look for farmer's eggs, aka pullet eggs -- they're smaller than "large" eggs, with firm and creamy yolks and fluffier whites that have a richer taste than most eggs (if you have a local green market, ask one of the egg vendors about them; or order them via Fresh Direct).


  • The No-Bake Brownie
    The virtuous ingredient list -- which includes honey, coconut oil, almond butter, almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries and oats -- is one reason to love these brownie-like bars. The other reason: There’s no oven required. Get the recipe: No-Bake Chocolate Almond Bars
  • The Nutritional Powerhouse For When You Feel Like A Nut
    The Almond Board of California
    Frothy egg whites are the surprising ingredient that help cinnamon and sugar stick to almonds in this simple roasted snack. The nuts are excellent sources of magnesium, which can help you feel more relaxed. Get the recipe: Cinnamon-Glazed Almonds
  • The Simplest Fruit-And-Chocolate Combo Ever
    Whether you prefer to think of this as a smoothie you eat with a spoon or a dairy-free pudding, there’s no arguing that whipped bananas and pears plus dark chocolate chips are a delicious combination. Use well-ripened fruit to ensure the finished dish is sweet and smooth. Get the recipe: Banana Pear Pudding with Chocolate Chips
  • Cookies With A Secret You’d Never Guess
    Prune puree may not sound sexy, but it’s a wonder ingredient: It can take the place of oil in many baked goods, and adds beneficial fiber. To make your own, combine a cup of pitted prunes with six tablespoons hot water in a food processor and run the machine until the fruit is smooth. (These cranberry-orange cookies also include applesauce, making them even better for you.) Get the recipe: Cranberry Orange Cookies
  • Another Delicious Reason To Keep Old Bananas
    You know brown bananas work well in quick bread, but it turns out they’re fantastic in cookies, too. Using very ripe fruit means you can reduce the amount of sugar; it also provides extra body, so you need less butter or oil. Quick-cooking oats give these cookies nice texture, too. Get the recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • The Holiday Indulgence We’d Gladly Enjoy Whenever
    This healthy take on fruit cake is just as flavorful as traditional versions, minus the extra calories. The recipe calls for dried cherries, raisins, apricots, figs and dates, but you can use any fruits you like. It also includes brewed tea and orange zest, which add bright notes. Get the recipe: Fruity Spiced Tea Cake