Updated

Mediterranean-inspired cuisine

(Family Features) Just like forward-thinking culinary artists, many at-home chefs seek out the next trendy flavor to provide friends and family gathered around the table. When pondering which trend you'll dive into in the future, consider incorporating tastes from an especially influential international location - the Mediterranean Sea region.

Considered by the experts at Les Dames d'Escoffier International (LDEI) in the organization's 2018 Trends Report to be one of the most influential parts of the world on the American food scene, flavors from the Mediterranean Sea focus on a diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Take this Hummus recipe, for example, which involves processing a host of beans, seeds and seasonings to create a light, smooth dip to serve with anything from vegetables to crackers.

Because the fare is typically lighter, small bites and salads such as this Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad provide easy-to-prepare versions of Mediterranean cuisine. Incorporating vegetables (tomatoes and basil) along with the salty, milky flavors of feta cheese makes the salad a distinctly Mediterranean dish.

As trends continue changing, growing and spreading, the experts at LDEI continue to provide updates from the food world.

LDEI is a worldwide philanthropic organization of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The invitation-only membership, composed of 2,300 women in 40 chapters across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality.

Find complete 2018 Trends Report survey results and expert panel insights by contacting info@ldei.org. For more information, visit LDEI.org or find LDEI on Facebook.

Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International

Servings: 15-20

  • 8 medium size tomatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch strips
  • 1 block (8 ounces) feta cheese, sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 2 small packages fresh basil, leaves picked off stems
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. On large platter, arrange slices of tomato and feta so they overlap. Place basil leaf between each tomato and Feta slice. Repeat.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Hummus

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International

Yield: 2 cups

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Drain garbanzo beans reserving 1/2 cup liquid.
  2. In food processor, process garbanzo beans, garlic, sesame oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until incorporated. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl. Add garbanzo liquid and process until smooth.
  3. Scoop mixture into medium bowl, add black sesame seeds and mix gently. Serve with drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.