The new year means new goals and doubling down on commitments, and it’s no surprise that health is at the forefront of people’s minds. While the popularity of comfort food has been on the rise due to the pandemic, diners are looking to bring balance into their meals—and a callout they’re eyeing is gluten-free.
Nearly half of consumers say they normally associate “gluten-free” with healthfulness. At Top-500 QSRs, fast casual restaurants and full-service restaurants, it’s the leading claim, largely because of its appeal for dietary and allergy reasons. As New Year’s resolutioners commit to various diets, many of which are gluten-free, menu callouts can help them stick to their goals.
Consider promoting these gluten-free recipes to make healthy eating easier for patrons:
- Turkey Banh Mi Wraps: The traditional Vietnamese sandwich gets a gluten-free treatment with lettuce wraps. This is where marination takes flavors to new heights. Pickled daikon, carrots and cucumbers arranged with turkey medallions—they’re camera-ready for diners to snap pictures and post online.
- Moroccan Turkey Pavés: Every bite is a mouthful of spices with these light and crispy cuts. Using turkey medallions or turkey filet coated with Moroccan ras el hanout, layer them with sautéed fennel and onions. Serve with a spoonful of preserved lemon relish on top.
- Turkey Pick-Up Sticks: Diners will be unable to put these down. Skewers of juicy, roasted turkey breast and zucchini give notes of umami. To add a delightful crunch, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, then pair with a Thai peanut dipping sauce.
- Grilled Sesame Turkey Kebab: Chefs can use skewers to dabble with Mediterranean flavors too. Chargrill kebabs of cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red peppers, artichoke hearts and turkey medallions, then brush with balsamic glaze and accompany with tzatziki sauce for a cooling effect.
- Turkey Pad Thai: This stir-fried, rice noodle dish takes inspiration from the streets of Thailand. Tangy and salty with a hint of sweetness, it comes together in a bed of green onions, toasted peanuts, shredded carrots and bean sprouts, topped with slices of turkey medallions tossed in peanut oil.
Serving dishes with protein as the centerpiece is a simple way to meet demand for gluten-free fare. Start with a better-for-you meat like turkey that’s not only full of functional health benefits, but also a canvas for flavor. While eating patterns change, if the flavor is right and the food is nutritious, diners can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2020.