Back in the day of our great-great grandparents, the idea of smearing peanut product and fruit spread together was probably unheard of. Okay, maybe you can’t find this fact in any history textbook ever published, but it’s a pretty good guess that this classic flavor combination wasn’t always in existence.
These days, the flavor combinations are wilder, and the ideas more creative and exciting than ever. But it takes experimenting with these to find your new PB&J.
So give these wild food combos a try: you may find yourself compulsively eating bacon dipped in peanut butter and sprinkling salt on all of your chocolate desserts.
1. Hot Sauce & Cauliflower
Hot sauce and chicken wings is something we all know well, but how about your favorite veggie slathered with the stuff? You’d be surprised just how tasty it can be. For a way to enjoy it, check out this recipe for cauliflower “popcorn.”
2. Miso & Butternut Squash
It’s not an ingredient you may be used to eating or cooking with, but miso paste is a versatile ingredient whose umami-rich flavor you should get to know ASAP. The salty, savory punch of miso combined with sweet, nutty butternut squash creates an especially delicious balance of flavors that hit all the taste buds. Try it out in this roasted butternut squash soup with miso, lime and coconut.
3. Avocado & Chocolate
The power of chocolate is evident in this combo as the potentially disturbing flavor of avocado is hidden by the complex flavor of cocoa. Instead, the avocado adds a silken texture that brings a new level of richness to dishes like these chocolate truffles.
4. Sriracha & Peanut Butter
This savory update to peanut butter and jelly introduces sriracha to the party, whose bright, vinegary spice cuts through the creamy peanut butter. The easiest way to enjoy this combination is to drizzle the sriracha right on top of peanut butter and then top it off with a fried egg (recipe here). Other variations show off this killer duo in a spiced up Thai-style peanut sauce that brings a kick to your favorite chicken or noodle dishes.
5. Strawberry & Basil
Maybe the idea of combining an herb rarely seen outside of Italian cooking and a fruit that epitomizes the sweetness of summer is odd to you. True, it’s a strange combo, but the peppery nature of basil is in fact an ideal complement to the floral and sweet strawberry. It’s also incredibly refreshing, especially when infused into a frozen strawberry lemonade (feel free to make this a “mature” drink and spike it with a dose of vodka).
6. Goat Milk & Caramel
The tanginess of goat milk cuts through the sickly sweetness that is often the downfall of caramel. And for those of you that are thinking you need to purchase a goat for milking, the good news is goat milk can be bought at Trader Joe’s! Check out how well the two go together in this caramel candy recipe.
7. Mango & Chili
Literally spice up mango with the addition of chili powder, whose subtle heat brings just the right kick to the decadence of mango. A squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt brings the whole thing together in this recipe, channeling the popular street snack versions offered in Mexico and Vietnam.
8. Broccoli & Cheetos
It may sound like your weirdest drunchie, but broccoli and Cheetos is basically the classic broccoli and cheese combo with added crunch and artificial coloring. Keeping with the tradition of using a cheese sauce, this recipe from Saveur introduces the Cheetos by adding them lightly crushed as a topping.
9. Chocolate Milk & Salt
It can be as easy as adding a sprinkle of salt to store-bought chocolate milk to discover how well salt and chocolate go together. The salt actually enhances the flavor of the chocolate when added in just the right quantity. If you want to get gourmet with it, try whipping up this hot chocolate with salted whipped cream and experience how great this combo is both hot and cold.
10. Cheese & Jelly
Just as sriracha replaced the jam in PB&J, cheese replaces peanut butter in this sweet and savory medley. Whether it’s having an array of jams with your cheese plate or combining the two into an ooey-gooey grilled cheese, the pairing of fruit spreads and cheese is one that you’ll quickly become hooked on.
11. Olive Oil & Ice Cream
Made famous by Mario Batali at his NYC restaurant Otto, olive oil gelato is a surprising hit. The olive oil brings a level of smoothness that you wouldn’t think rich ice cream or gelato needs, but actually really does. The flavor isn’t overpoweringly olive-y or savory, but instead adds subtle complexity to the base flavor, which is often vanilla (though chocolate-olive oil renditions are tasty, too). See what all the fuss is about and try a scoop at your favorite gelato spot or make it at home.
12. M&Ms & Pizza
Unlike broccoli and Cheetos, which just sounds like a drunchie, M&Ms on pizza is the perfect example of an actual drunchie/munchie. That being said, there’s something addictive about crunchy chocolate M&Ms and plain cheese pizza, and pizza combined with anything is a win at the end of a night anyway.
13. Pomegranate & Meat
The entire category of meat is applicable here because pomegranate goes well with everything from pork chops to lamb to flank steak. The sour-sweetness of pomegranate juice or pomegranate molasses works well in any simple marinade, and for added flavor, a sprinkling of seeds on top of the cooked dish.
14. Sesame & Chocolate
Sesame and chocolate is like an adult version of peanut butter and chocolate. Sesame seeds bring a more complex, savory flavor than peanut butter does, especially if lightly toasted beforehand. Combined with chocolate, the familiar nutty flavor is present, but with a little extra oomph. A good way to try out this combo is to whip up a batch of sesame and dark chocolate cookies.
15. Ramen & Cheese
It’s a college kid’s dream come true: instant ramen and cheese. It doesn’t get much easier or more delicious than this update to the old elbow macaroni and highlighter-orange, powdered cheese combo. Try out any variation of mac n’ cheese you love with this recipe as the base and you’ll be good to go for lunch, dinner, and desperate 3 am drunchies.
16. Bourbon & Pickle Juice
Don’t discount this odd pairing before you try it. Head to any bar and order a pickleback and what you’ll get is a shot of bourbon and a chaser shot of pure pickle juice. The sour brine of the pickle brings just the right savory kick to the bourbon, with an addicting quality you just can’t put your finger on. More importantly, it kills the burn of your bourbon shot unbelievably fast and you’re left with the delicious aftertaste of pickle juice. Most efficient way to get drunk ever.
17. Champagne & Fried Chicken
There’s an entire restaurant dedicated to this food duo, which takes the idea of wine and food pairings to an entirely new and awesome level. Feeling like you want something a little less filling than beer with your fried chicken? Or looking to bring some daintiness to a meal that epitomizes primal eating? Then champagne is the right choice for you.
18. Peanut Butter & Bacon
We can thank Elvis for introducing the world to the magical combination of peanut butter, bacon and banana. We’ve now come to realize anything is better with bacon and that still holds true when it’s used with peanut butter. Check out this banana bread recipe that incorporates bacon and peanut butter and lets you enjoy this combo for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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