Four Ways to Incorporate Peanuts into Current Culinary Trends

This April, professional chefs, recipe developers, food service directors, consumer package goods (CPG) brands, media and dietitians gathered at the Culinary Institute of America at COPIA for the National Peanut Board’s annual Next Gen Food Summit. The summit served as a platform for culinary experts to experience the tastes of the next generation and discuss how to reach this growing, evolving audience.  
From presentations to live cooking demonstrations, peanuts continued to show up. Here are four ways to incorporate peanuts into current culinary trends.

#1: The Brown Butter and Peanuts Duo   

According to Flavor & The Menu’s 2023 Top Trends brown butter is having a moment. (1) Brown butter is an ingredient that can transform dishes with its roasted taste, unique mouth flavor and depth. This classic butter sauce has been used in professional kitchens and bakeries for centuries and today culinary professionals are turning back to it to enrich flavors, balance ingredients and provide an unexpected depth to dishes. Brown butter and peanuts make a tasty duo, creating a nutty, roasted sauce packed with umami that can easily transform any dish.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak with a Brown Butter Peanut Sauce served over whipped peanut potato mash with chiffoned asparagus and maldon sea salt.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak with a Brown Butter Peanut Sauce served over whipped peanut potato mash with chiffoned asparagus and maldon sea salt. Photo credit: Kristen Loken.

#2: Elevate Meat Sticks with Peanuts  

Skewered meats are not a new concept. In fact, meat sticks play a role in many world cuisines with nearly every culture owning a version of this approach. Skewered meats are seen as approachable, casual and trendy. (1) Meats sticks are a familiar vehicle perfect for exploring new techniques, textures and sauces or pairing with grains, vegetables, and stews like a maafe peanut stew. Maafe peanut stew is a staple in West African cuisine and works well with any mix of proteins and vegetables. Chef Godwin of Yum Village is known for pairing maafe peanut stew with suya beef skewers.
Suya beef skewers over Maafe Peanut Stew with maple-braised rainbow carrots, roasted rainbow potatoes, kale and peanut-ginger-miso mushrooms, garnished with ginger-curry chickpeas. Photo credit: Kristen Loken.

#3: Globalize with Peanuts  

As companies and brands continue to market to Gen Z, it’s important to keep globalization in mind. Through internet culture, Gen Z is exposed to music, fashion, entertainment, and food from every corner of the world. In fact, 4 out of 5 American Gen Zers say they use dining as a way to connect to their own culture and other cultures. (2) When it comes to global foods, chefs rely on their roots. Season 1 winner of Gordon Ramsay’s Next Level Chef, Chef Pyet DeSpain is passionate about telling her story of Native American and Mexican American heritage through food. Peanuts play a vital role in many authentic cultures and flavors. At the Next Gen Food Summit, Chef Pyet demonstrated her Salsa de Cacahuate, made of toasted peanuts, roasted ancho chiles, garlic and onions blended in a molcajete to draw out the natural flavors.
Tortilla and Peanut Crusted Salmon with Salsa de Cacahuate over quinoa salad with seasonal greens and lime vinaigrette. Photo credit: Kristen Loken.

#4 Peanuts take on Recessioncore  

While we’ve seen bold, colorful, and maximalist trends over the past few years, especially across culinary choices, now the economic downshift is on the minds of many. Gen Z particularly feels unprepared for this with 70% of Gen Zers saying they are worried about a recession. (3) With the economy slowing down, this means consumers are shifting how they buy and choose ingredients, how they prepare meals at home and how they dine out. From budget-friendly food hacks to splurging occasionally on those everyday luxuries, there’s a place to insert peanuts and peanut butter across the board. Peanuts are affordable, accessible and versatile appearing in foods from the tried-and-true PB&J to the #peanutbutterramen hack, currently trending on TikTok with more than 11.5M views.
Spicy Peanut Butter Ramen created by @theegyptianplanteater.


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