Spices and Flavor Trends for Your 2022 Menu

Jun 15, 2022

With a focus on healthy choices and variety, some inspiring food trends are on the horizon for 2022.

Going out to a restaurant is an experience we have been deprived of for the last few years, but in exchange, we have become more creative and experienced in the kitchen and are eager to experiment. When eating out in restaurants now, our taste buds are on high alert to define which flavor, spice, or herb made the drink or dish so we can try and replicate them with our home creations.

Recipes on the internet are available to accommodate our newfound foodie lifestyles. Let’s dive in and see some trends we expect this year.

Healthy Herbs and Spices

The priority of health has us focusing on three distinct areas–supporting our immune system, our gut health, and controlling our blood sugars. Throughout the history of the human species, every known culture has used the healing powers of herbs and spices. Here are a few of the more common spices used for health in many cultures.


turmeric spice
Turmeric spice
  • Cayenne chili peppers contain capsaicin. Studies link capsaicin to reducing pain signals to the brain and are used with arthritis pain and diabetes-related nerve damage. It also reduces the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria by reducing excess stomach acid.
  • Cinnamon adds a sweet taste without sugar. Research has linked cinnamon to lowering blood sugar levels, high blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
  • Garlic is a dominant ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which physicians highly recommend. Studies show garlic intake can help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Ginger is sometimes recommended by physicians to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, pregnancy-related and surgery stomach upset, and motion sickness.
  • Turmeric reduces inflammation linked to Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and arthritis. Studies also show turmeric has anti-cancer properties.


7 Popular 2022 Spice Combinations

Chefs who know the health benefits of some basic universal spices can combine them to create some fantastic dishes.

These are some of this year’s popular combinations with ingredients and uses that can make your cuisine spectacular:

  • Baharat: From Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and Turkey. There are many variations to add aroma, warmth, and sweetness. Ingredients include black and white pepper, allspice, coriander, paprika, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon.

Use to season lamb, chicken, and stews.

  • Chinese 5 Spice: (uses the balance of the five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy). Ingredients include star anise, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and galangal.

Use on fatty meats like duck, pork, and stews.

  • Ras El Hanout: North Africa and Moroccan. (means “head of the shop”) There are many variations of 12 to 30 different spices. Essential ingredients include black pepper, allspice, paprika, coriander seed, cumin seed, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, turmeric, and ginger powder.

Use to season chicken, couscous, lentil soup, and roasted vegetables.

  • Garam Masala: From India. Ingredients include cumin, coriander, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, mace, nutmeg, star anise, black pepper, and fennel seed.

Use in curries, lentils, vegetables, and stew dishes.

  • Harissa: North-West Africa, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Ingredients include red chili pepper, smoked red bell pepper or paprika, garlic, coriander seed, cumin seed, caraway seed, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Season and marinate grilled meats, spice up stews, couscous, and hummus. And scrambled eggs.

  • Herbs de Provence: Ingredients include rosemary, savory, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, and lavender.

Use in preparation of fish, chicken, and vegetables.

  • Za’atar: Levantine cuisine and Mediterranean. Thyme, sumac (or a little lemon zest), sesame, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper, marjoram, and savory.

Use to marinate fish and other white meat. Season salads, baba ghanoush (eggplant), and hummus, and add olive oil on pita bread.

Popular 2022 Flavor Trends

Exotic flavor trends lead the 2022 lists as a nice healthy balance to the spice trends. Vanilla, salted caramel, and milk chocolate are comforting flavors that will always stay popular. Still, some sour and exotic flavors are added to the lists this year.

Lemons, pink grapefruits, and pineapple are still popular, but flavors like lime, yuzu fruit (from East Asia), and clementine have made the list too. Passionfruit, tamarind fruit (from Africa), cranberry, and sour cherry additions create perfect fun drink options.

Yuzu fruit

Some herbal infusions are keeping things interesting in the drink department. Lavender, chamomile, and mint offer refreshing taste, improved focus, and relaxation.

Chefs are adding matcha and hemp for a distinguished, healthy flavor to many baking, drinking, and cooking combinations.

These ingredients provide health benefits like reducing inflammation, aiding digestion, and boosting the immune system. Manufacturers are adding these flavors to enhance the health benefits of kombucha, lattes, ice cream, soda, and yogurt.

Health and well-being seem to be the ongoing trend for 2022. Our kitchens are our science labs and are open to all sorts of possibilities and creations. There is something for everyone, and everyone has their take on what their original healthy cuisine will offer.


Menu Innovation from Synergy Restaurant Consultants 

If you seek professional consultation on your restaurant menu, please reach out to Synergy today!