Following the crazes of kale and cauliflower comes “the great carrot revival,” Kruse said. Roasted carrots are rising on menus, up 124 percent in the past four years, according to Datassential.
This versatile vegetable lends itself to a number of dishes, serving as a stand-in for steak at a Detroit eatery. Across the country, foodservice outlets offer such items as ravioli with a carrot-ricotta filling, street tacos topped with barbecued carrots, and salads dressed in a carrot vinaigrette. A vegan deli in New York features a bagel topped with spice-rubbed, cold-smoked carrots as a substitute for lox.
Restaurant operators may look to campus dining halls for inspiration, Kruse said.
“Campus dining far and away leads in terms of creative use of vegetables, and the reason for that is as a percent of population, the greatest number of vegetarians in this country live on college campuses,” she said.
In the future, vegetables may crop up in more cocktails and mocktails.
“I think we’re going to see more veggie options around your bar programs,” Kruse said. “And the reason is it makes us feel virtuous.”