A List of Everything That's Been Called “the New Kale”

May  3, 2017

Yesterday, Claire Suddath of Bloomberg Businessweek published an article proclaiming that cauliflower is the new kale. Never mind that this specific claim is not even remotely new; in fact, it's an echo of a refrain I've heard too many times to keep track of.

There's nothing exactly wrong with the article, which details how chefs and consumers have gravitated towards this versatile crucifer. But the framing feels rote. Saying something is the new kale can often be more reductive than instructive about the way certain food trends develop. In a response piece for GQ, former Food52 editor Marian Bull poked holes in Suddath’s argument, explaining how tiresome this rhetorical gesture has become. Leaning on this particular construction reduces kale, in Bull's words, to "a meaningless, shapeless symbol." I share Bull’s skepticism and fatigue.

Cauliflower’s not alone. Many items—there’s a reason I didn’t say foods—have been christened the new kale over the past three years. If you’d like to grasp the inherent uselessness of drawing this comparison, peep at this list, arranged alphabetically, and count how many times your face contorts into a halpert.

What will be the next "new kale"? I’ve got no idea. Please let me know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ttrockwood
  • Amy Tarzwell
    Amy Tarzwell
  • BerryBaby
  • creamtea
  • marc510
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Ttrockwood May 4, 2017
There is no "next kale" because that moment in time was actually not about kale at all- it was about the general public realizing that a vegetable could be delicious and easy and versatile. That what they had considered a vegetable side (steamed broccoli) or salad (sad mixed greens with too much bottled dressing) actually could and should change to any of the easy and delicious options that suddenly became mainstream and popular and exploited by the press, restaurants and social media
Amy T. May 4, 2017
sorrel hopefully
BerryBaby May 3, 2017
The next vegetable trend, which I will start, CARROTS! Colorful full of vitamins, so many ways to prepare them, and orange! Let's also throw on orange peppers, purple cabbage. Orange and purple compliment each other and are opposite on the color wheel. I endorse a campaign for orange, purple and all colorful veggies except green. They can take a break. :)
creamtea May 3, 2017
marc510 May 3, 2017
For something being the 'next kale' because of its trendiness, avocado toast could be in the running. It is trendy and potentially healthy, but it probably isn't a good candidate because of its inflexibility -- it isn't a raw ingredient that you can make into chips, smoothies, salads, or dozens of other concoctions. On the other hand, that limitation hasn't stopped many of these other comparisons...

There was some buzz about cauliflower leaves a little while ago, but the buzz must have never elevated them to 'next kale' status. The leaves are delicious and probably nutritious, and since they are normally discarded in the fields or packing houses, they get anti-food waste points, but it's not enough....
Olivia B. May 3, 2017
Buckwheat groats!
Whiteantlers May 3, 2017
Chickpeas. If I have to see another recipe or article showcasing those little s.o.b.s, I will turn tangerines angry.😰
Lisa M. May 3, 2017
Yes! Chickpeas are everywhere, and I'd love to never see one again. I'm tired of seeing kale and avocado toast recipes everywhere, but at least I enjoy eating those.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 3, 2017
Yes - so tired of chickpeas & avocado. Also, put an egg on it mentality on everything and bam! you have a new recipe.
BadPickleTees May 3, 2017
Definitely Kohlrabi!