Capitalizing on the roasted fruit trend

Fruit is a highly versatile menu item, and its uses go far beyond a mere snack. While often seen in fresh, healthful juices and smoothies, foodservice operators are starting to incorporate fruit in unique new ways. Fruit ingredients can be used in almost every meal or menu category, and many operators are using roasted fruit to spice up traditional dishes.

While fresh fruit can make a great addition to many meals, roasting fruit intensifies the flavor and can add more varied texture to dishes. The roasting process caramelizes the natural sugar in the fruit, and can transform just about any kind of fruit. Roasting can even bring out the sweetness of slightly under-ripe fruits.

This option may be particularly enticing for health-conscious consumers who are looking for rich flavors without having to add sugar to their meals. Roasted fruit can also help foodservice operators incorporate seasonal flavors into the menu. It can be used as a topping or a sauce, a side or an ingredient, and roasted fruit is an excellent complement for either sweet or savory dishes. Simplot recipe shot

How to add fruit to any menu category

One of the key benefits of roasted fruit is its versatility. It can be incorporated into just about any meal because of the intensified layers of flavor it adds, but it is always a delicious addition to breakfast dishes, such as topping decadent French toast with roasted apples.  Roasted fruit can also be used in yogurt parfaits and bread pudding.

In terms of appetizers, roasted fruit helps carry a flavorful dish. Foodservice operators can use pears, plums, grapes or apricots with crostini and goat cheese. And while some consumers may consider roasted fruit to be a cold-weather flavor, it can be used for summer appetizers as well, such as roasted fruit salsa and chips or shish kabobs with fruit.

For lunch or dinner entrees, the possibilities are nearly limitless for incorporating roasted fruit. It can be used as a sauce or topping for pork or chicken, creating a sweet and savory combination. For a lighter option, roasted fruit adds color to quinoa bowls—for instance, toss quinoa with roasted apricots and slivered almonds for a tasty quinoa pilaf. Roasted fruit slices can also boost the flavor of sandwiches, such as roasted peach slices on a Gouda grilled cheese sandwich. These ingredients can elevate standard lunch and dinner entrees and create craveable dishes that make guests want to return for more. 

Because fruit has been utilized in desserts for years, foodservice operators have countless options to create menu items that are familiar with a twist. It can be as simple as topping ice cream with a roasted fruit sauce, or it can include more complex options—for instance, a roasted pineapple pie or roasted strawberry ice cream. 

Take advantage of seasonal flavors, such as grilled pineapple and stone fruits in the summer or roasted figs in the winter. Roasting fruit livens up traditional menu items and allows foodservice operators to delight their customers with LTO’s and menu choices that are built around the flavors they love.

This post is sponsored by Simplot