Aaah, the pairing of two foods that harmoniously go together like peanut butter & jelly, or macaroni & cheese, both pleasing to the soul and the palate. Kudos to the first person to combine each of those classics, BTW. Here, we offer our suggestions of more unusual tasty duos that work into a healthy diet. Most items are basic grocery staples that you can find at the corner market. Warning – taste buds beware of surprise!
Blue Cheese & Pear
The slightly bold sharpness of blue cheese balances the mild sweet acidity of pear for a hearty and robust combo.
Examples: Anjou pear, crumbled blue cheese and chopped walnut salad drizzled with honey. Roasted bosc pear halves filled with Stilton, cranberries and slivered almonds. Bartlett pear and gorgonzola flat bread pizza with arugula.
Coffee & Meat
Coffee adds a rich earthy tone to meat, plus it contains natural acids that tenderize. Coffee accentuates the savory flavor of meat while balancing the pepper, chiles and sugars common in meat recipes.
Examples: Fresh coffee grounds and spice dry-rubbed pork loin chops. Add a shot of espresso to lean ground beef chili for a punch. Skirt steak marinated in chilled strong coffee overnight.
Eggs & Green Veggie
Breakfast marries dinner in this combination of protein, fiber and vitamins that can serve as a dish its own right.
Examples: Spinach and poached egg atop 7-grain toast w/ feta. Soft-cooked egg and potato-zucchini hash. Scrambled egg and asparagus with whole wheat noodles.
Figs & Pistachios
This match made in heaven jazzes up plain old bread or crackers and soft cheese for a filling snack with WOW appeal!
Examples: Diced figs and pistachios mixed with honey atop warm brie on a baguette. Fig jam with goat cheese and pistachios atop toast rounds. Fig halves filled with ricotta cheese and toasted pistachios, served with crackers.
Peanuts & Chilies
The heat and crunch from this duo add boldness to plain/mild items like tofu and starches. The intense spicy flavors fade while the satiety of peanuts last.
Examples: Peanut butter and sriracha sauce on a side dish of noodles. Finely diced peanuts and jalapeno with cayenne over a scoop of brown rice.
Pomegranate & Meat
The sweet-tart aspect of pomegranate plus the umami flavor of meat make for excellent sweet and savory entrées.
Examples: Glaze roasted chicken with reduced pomegranate juice. Beef chuck roast braised with pomegranate juice and dry red wine.
Prosciutto & Melon
Another sweet and savory blend that is a flavorful snack on its own or an addition to green salads.
Examples: Prosciutto wrapped honeydew slices with mint leaves. Caprese-style stacks of prosciutto, cantaloupe and mozzarella slices with basil leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Sauerkraut & Cheese
The creaminess of cheese with the bite of sauerkraut make for a tangy pair with crunch.
Examples: Grilled Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on rye sandwiches. Layered al dente egg noodles, shredded part-skim mozzarella and sauerkraut, baked as a casserole. Quesadillas made with low-fat cheddar, well-drained sauerkraut and thin Granny apple slices.
Strawberry & Tomato
These vitamin C packed fruits are light and refreshing. Strawberries subtly enhance the sweetness of tomatoes.
Examples: Strawberry and heirloom tomato salad tossed with basil and lemon juice. Strawberry tomato gazpacho. Roasted tomato halves topped with strawberry slices, fresh tarragon and oregano, drizzled with apple cider vinegar.
Vinaigrette & Fish
The acidity and herbs from vinegar-based sauces (plus fat from the oil) make for tender, flavorful fish.
Examples: Vidalia onion vinaigrette over seared or pan-fried tilapia and halibut. Citrus vinaigrette works with stronger fish like tuna or swordfish. Soy vinaigrette on chilled leftover salmon.