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Fourteen Food Trends for 2014

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 spaghetti and Venison Meatballs

Spaghetti and Venison Meatballs, adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali? Yes, please.

As a foodie, each year I look forward to seeing what food writers are forecasting as the next big food trends for the New Year. Last night, I researched about 10 different sites to read their opinions, and while I noticed a few  trends in common on various sites, I also noticed, with some gratification, that quite of a few of the food trends for 2014 are for things I’m already cooking. And I have recipes for those items that I’ve already shared, here, on THIS site! Yup, right here, on  “that Susan Williams”. Yay, me, for being not only up-to-date, but in some instances,  a little ahead of the curve. I’ve been cooking this way for YEARS.

(Reminds me of Barbara Mandrell’s song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool”.)

Because I’ve been a believer in food that’s harvested locally, and prepared simply, but well, for a long, long time.

So, here, for your enjoyment, is my list of Fourteen Food Trends for 2014, complete with links to recipes on my site! Think of them as  little buried-but-trendy treasures, just waiting to be discovered by YOU!

I’ve also included several pieces of “homework” for me. That is, there are several food trends that I need to get busy and do posts on.

1) Locally Sourced Meat: I’m going to slightly buck this trend, just a bit, and tell you that when we purchased some very pricy, locally grown pork shoulder at the Farmer’s Market, that it was absolutely no tastier than pork shoulder from the grocery store. When we purchased some local dry aged beef at a specialty butcher’s shop, it was NOT as good as the grocery store beef that we dry age ourselves. This makes me a little sad, because ethically,  I want to support local food sources. But unless and until their taste surpasses what I can buy for less at the grocery store, I’m probably not going to do that.  But what I WILL tell you is that I FULLY endorse “locally sourced meat” when it means cooking the game that my husband brings home from the hunt.  Here is a link to a recipe of mine that has generated quite a bit of traffic for me, and rightfully so. It is absolutely delicious, and you can certainly substitute beef (or elk!), if that’s what you have, rather than using venison. It’s my Spaghetti and Venison Meatballs

2) Locally Grown Produce: I fully endorse this trend, and have been doing my bit to promote it for years. We are members of a vegetable co-op that provides us with wonderful produce, and getting a new box full of fresh veggies every two weeks has pushed me to eat more of what I’m supposed to be eating, to develop new recipes, and to try things I have never tried before. If you’re not a member of a CSA group (Community Supported Agriculture), I STRONGLY encourage you to join one.  I have a recipe coming up in the near future for Acorn Squash – and I had never tried cooking them before till they showed up in my vegetable share. I made this Eggplant Parmesan recipe this year with the eggplants that showed up in my CSA box, using Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe as a starting point, and holy guacamole, it is the best I’ve ever had. Bar none.

eggplant parmesan

The Best Eggplant Parm Ever.

3) Nuts – A recent study showed that eating nuts regularly can contribute to longevity. I have a handful about an hour before dinner, nearly every night. Personally, I favor pistachios and almonds. But when I have guests coming over, very often, I make a super-simple, super delicious appetizer that I learned from The Barefoot Contessa called Rosemary Roasted Cashews. So here’s some homework for me: let this serve as a reminder to me to share on my blog that recipe that my guests absolutely inhale.

4) Vegetarian meals – this extends the thought of Locally Grown Produce nicely, and I have quite a few recipes for vegetarian meals on this blog. I also want to challenge myself to do MORE vegetarian cooking this year. But here’s a treasure that you may have overlooked since I wrote it a while back. It’s a meal  I often prepare when vegetarian guests come to visit:  Nicole Kidman’s Pasta is unique: unlike any other pasta you’ve ever had before! And a great way to LOVE your broccoli!

5) Upscale comfort foods – This is pretty much my stock in trade: take a great recipe, and make it the best that it can be. The recipe my kids request the most is my version of Michael Symon’s Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Garlic.   Made with goat cheese, the creaminess of this recipe will send you to heaven. 

6) Chicken Wings – Wings will continue to soar. Heh heh. At least, that’s the prediction. And it’s true, it’s hard for me to imagine the Superbowl without them! Here’s my favorite wings recipe, ever: Crispy Lime and Cilantro Chicken Wings with Sriracha. True, they have sriracha, which is SO 2013. But it became popular because it is GOOD. So don’t be afraid to let your Sriracha Freak Flag fly! 

7) Artisan pizza – You know how we were all obsessed with kale last year? I’m a little stumped by that, because in my opinion, Swiss Chard is the best green God ever created. This artisan pizza, Pizza Bianca with Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard is so good! And you get your greens, as well, in the form of Swiss Chard!

8) Gourmet burgers: The “sliders” trend will slide away, but our love for burgers will go on. I love these Bambi burgers so much. They are my go-to burger recipe, and I probably make them a couple of times a month, at least, whenever it’s grilling season, which is March through October around these parts. The original recipe was from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, but I adapted it by adding bacon (BACON!!!), and using venison or elk instead of beef.

9) Biscuits – How could biscuits ever NOT be a trend? I have a recipe for some of the best biscuits that will ever grace the bread plate beside a warm bowl of soup for TRUE winter comfort. They are my Buttermilk Biscuits with Chives and Black Pepper. You will be shocked at how wonderful a meal can become, with the addition of a humble biscuit. 

10) Chili – Did you know the MOST searched for recipe is chili? True! I have a great one, for  Wild White Turkey Chili (and you DON’T have to use wild turkey; you can substitute chicken or grocery store turkey), but I am hereby resolving to share my Venison Chili recipe with you this year. It’s honestly fabulous. And I can teach you how to make your own chili powder – a trick I learned from Rick Bayless, that expert on Mexican cuisine.

 11) More ancient (but new to us) Grains: We’re not just talking quinoa anymore – now that we finally all know how to pronounce it! Many articles mentioned two grains in particular, called freekeh and teff. I picked up a bag of freekeh at Costco the other day (let the jokes begin: freaky!), and have given myself the assignment of trying out some new recipes using it. So get ready to get your freekeh on in 2014. 

 12) Umami – I am challenging myself to investigate this flavor more in the coming year. Whatever I learn, I promise to share with you!

13) Cauliflower– Several sources said that cauliflower will be this year’s “kale”, but I wonder. I kind of doubt it, because cauliflower, while it’s a cruciferous veggie (which have their own nutritional benefits), doesn’t pack as many nutritional benefits as do greens, which scientists say are THE MOST nutritious foods around. We’ll see if the recipes that start showing up in the coming year bear out the predicted cauliflower trend.  In the meantime, I’m giving myself the homework assignment to share the ONE recipe that caused me to FINALLY become a fan of  cauliflower, and it’s super simple to do. So watch for that in an upcoming post.

ice cream with hot fudge sauce

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Boozy Cherries in Hot Fudge Sauce

14) Ice Cream Sandwiches – while the passion for pie and the cupcake craze have certainly had their day, some foodies are predicting that gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches will be the next dessert food trend. Well…maybe. I’m open to it. I’ve certainly had a blast trying various new flavors of homemade ice cream, ever since I was given the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home Cookbook. I’ve shared several of my favorite ice creams on the blog, but probably my favorite recipe was my Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Boozy Cherries and Hot Fudge Sauce.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the predicted food trends for 2014. 
I challenge YOU to resolve to try one or two of the recipes I’ve linked.
Since I only share recipes with which I’ve had tremendous success, my prediction is that you’ll find this was a resolution well worth keeping.

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Saturday 11th of January 2014

I love cauliflower. I'll watch for your recipe.


Friday 10th of January 2014

I'm still waiting on that chocolate-covered chocolate we discussed. My recent post 5 Tips for a Perfect Spa Experience


Thursday 9th of January 2014

I can't wait to read the recipe that made you a cauliflower convert. For me, it was Ellie Krieger's roasted cauliflower. I have to make two full 9 x 13 pans to feed my family of five.


Thursday 9th of January 2014

Kale is the food I'm going to learn to like this year. I bought a Trader Joe's ready-made salad and it was very good, so that's a start. I'm with you on the cauliflower. I like cauliflower very much, but it isn't going to enjoy the popularity that kale has because it doesn't pack that nutritional punch people are looking for. My recent post Look into the Heart of Haiti this Holiday Season