Bowls are all the rage! According to DoorDash, Canada’s most ordered to-go dish during the first half of 2020 was a burrito bowl – a hearty and comforting menu option. To capitalize on this trend and create memorable dishes, chefs add decadent ingredients like cheese, especially during the colder months. Cheese not only makes for a filling bowl, but it can also be offered as an extra to help increase your average bill.
The winter bowl trend is an opportunity for restaurants to maximize the ingredients they already have on hand and optimize profit margins by combining them with premium additions, like cheese. Discover our top tips for cooking up gourmet dishes using cheese to create satisfying flavour and texture combinations.
Winter bowl basics
According to Chef Beall, a winter bowl is more than just a simple meal salad. It needs to be a hearty dish that features a variety of textures and flavours. To transform a bowl or salad that’s already on your menu, all you need to do is replace the greens with legumes or grains (rice, couscous, quinoa). Seasonal veggies are also a good option, such as grilled squash, root vegetables, broccoli, rapini, or kale. Finally, adding a warm element (meat, topping, or cheese) is essential to deliver THE comforting touch people are craving for.
In this Grilled chicken and quinoa bowl inspiration, root vegetables and quinoa offer a satisfying consistency that pairs beautifully with Mozzarina di Bufala cheese, creating contrasting flavours and textures with the grilled chicken.
This customizable dish can easily be adjusted to incorporate ingredients you already have, and can be prepared to suit a lunch, dinner, or takeout menu. It also saves on prep time and simplifies your overall service.
For pizzerias, creating a bowl is as simple as replacing pizza dough with another base. You can keep the cheese, meat, and other toppings, and create a dressing based on a dip or vinaigrette you already have. Throw in a premium ingredient, like a specialty cheese, and voila – you have a trendy dish on your menu!
Elevate your winter bowls with cheese
Add a warm cheese – perfect for chilly temperatures!
Warm ingredients add contrast and a touch of comfort to any dish. Cheese that performs well when exposed to heat, like feta, Haloumi or even Paillot de Chèvre, can be added to a bowl in several ways, including fried or baked in the oven.
In this falafel bowl inspiration, Paillot de Chèvre enhances the flavours of the dish and complements the falafel’s crisp texture with its creaminess. It also creates an impressive visual effect!
Another way to add crunch to your bowls is with breaded Haloumi cheese croutons: a savoury twist on a classic salad topping, as featured in this revamped Caesar salad inspiration.
Save time without compromising on flavour
When it comes to bowls, customers are particularly fond of goat, feta, and Parmesan cheeses.1 These cheeses are available in various formats designed for foodservice, including grated and crumbled, which are perfect for speeding up food prep.
Other ready-to-use cheeses can also enhance a dish’s presentation while adding a distinct flavour. Parmesan cheese petals or Bocconcini pearls add a sophisticated touch without overloading the prep team. In this grain salad inspiration, Chef Beall combines bold and familiar flavours by adding in these two cheeses. The fresh, milky taste of the Bocconcini cheese pearls pairs well with many flavours, leaving lots of room for creativity.
Go big on contrast
20% of consumers prefer more gourmet and well-garnished dishes.2 Winter bowls are the perfect opportunity to cater to these preferences with different toppings and textures.
To add a complex and comforting touch to a bowl, the creamy texture of cottage cheese can be contrasted with the crunch of chickpeas and quinoa, as featured in this roasted chickpea bowl inspiration.
Top things off with a creamy sauce or dressing
Sauces can enhance and balance out a bowl’s diverse flavours, and incorporating cheese can elevate its texture and heartiness. The goat cheese sauce in this Buddha Bowl inspiration and the feta in this Caesar dressing inspiration are perfect examples of how cheese can add a rich, creamy touch to winter bowls!
Experiment with international flavours – a trend that’s all the rage!
75% of consumers say they enjoy trying flavours from other cultures and countries.3 Get inspired by different cuisines from around the world, then mix global cuisine with cheese to create out-of-the-box pairings. You can also combine this trend with one of Gen Z’s preferences (a generation that now represents one-quarter of diners!) by creating a burrito bowl.4 In this inspiration, classic Mexican spices pair well with the nuttiness of our old yellow Cheddar Shred, creating a dish that appeals to all kinds of palates.
Make sure to include vegan options
According to a 2020 study by researchers at Dalhousie University, 600,000 Canadians identify as vegan, and that number is continuing to grow. Check out this spicy cauliflower bowl inspiration, which features our Dairy-Free Mozzarella Flavoured Shred for richness and balance. It’s the perfect product for creating delicious vegan bowls!
To make any bowl vegetarian, simply replace the meat with cheese. In this bibimbap (Korean bowl) inspiration, the traditional beef strips have been replaced with slices of marinated Fior di Latte cheese. It’s an easy way to adapt your menu to customers’ diverse preferences!
When putting together a comforting winter bowl, it's all about balancing flavours and textures. No matter your customers' preferences, contact your Saputo Foodservice representative to find the perfect cheese for your menu.
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1 Technomic, Q4-2019 – Q4-2020
2 Technomic, Canadian Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 2020
3 Technomic, Canadian May 2020 Omnibus consumer survey data, 2020
4Upserve, “Generation Z Food Trends and Eating Habits”, 2019