There are some food combos that are destined for each other, like buffalo wings and ranch dip, ice cream and chocolate sauce, and bacon and eggs. Putting these foods together on a plate — or in your mouth — just seems second nature. But there are other food combinations that are a little more bizarre; foods that you wouldn't necessarily combine.
Celebrity chefs sometimes pair unusual ingredients in their dishes to instant acclaim or dismay. Love them or hate them, there are some crazy food combos out there that are mind-blowingly delicious — and they're often the foods you would think least likely to complement each other.
Whether you're an adventurous eater or prefer to go for tried-and-true combos that you know work for your tastes, checking out new food pairings is always fun. We've rounded up 20 unexpected food combinations that are sure to get your mouth watering — if not while reading about them, then definitely once you try them for yourself!
Meat And Cola
You might love a refreshing glass of ice-cold cola on a hot day, but how about cooking with it? It turns out, cola's great for cooking chicken, pork, beef, gammon, or even ribs. You can add cola to meat as it's stewing, sauteeing, or roasting to tenderize it and impart delicious flavor.
The leftover cooking juices can be reduced to make a deliciously sweet and sticky sauce that's particularly good with ribs, chicken wings, or pulled pork. Another way to use cola in your dishes is to marinate your meat in it before cooking. Don't marinade it for too long, though — we'd recommend no more than eight hours to prevent your meat from going mushy.
You'll find plenty of recipes online that include cola, such as this Coca-Cola carne asada. However, if you fancy just winging it, there's nothing to stop you from simply adding a can or bottle of it to your meat as it cooks and seeing what the end result is. The sweetness from the cola is almost certain to make your meat tender and delicious.
Beef Burger And Peanut Butter
Umm, say what? Beef burgers are supremely savory, meaty, salty, and delicious. Peanut butter is one of the world's favorite spreads, with its creamy, savory, nutty deliciousness. One day, somebody combined the two, and let us tell you, it was an epic idea.
It seems like the first time this combo was introduced was at a small fast food joint in Missouri. Sadly, it's now closed, but The Wheel Inn in Sedalia outside Kansas City drew diners from miles around with the Guberburger, a beef patty and peanut butter combo, in the early 2000s. If you happen to be in Sedalia, you'll still find restaurants serving up patties topped with peanut butter to this day.
Restaurants across the U.S. -- like Shake Shack with its secret menu — have since been combining peanut butter with beef burgers. Is it a bit weird? Well, yes. But is it exceptionally tasty? Also yes.
Avocado And Chocolate
You might already be familiar with this next combo if you've got an insatiable sweet tooth or if you're following a vegan diet. Combining chocolate with avocado may sound weird, but it turns out that the combo makes an insanely creamy and delicious dessert.
There are loads of recipes out there to try if you're looking to make a healthy chocolate pudding, but simply blending chopped avocado with melted chocolate is one of the easiest. The rich, creamy avocado blends beautifully with the chocolate of your choice to make a mousse-type pudding.
You could even use avocado combined with chocolate to make flourless fudgey brownies that are deliciously moist. Or try adding avocado to your chocolate milkshake for an even creamier texture.
Pickles And Ice Cream
You'll need to bear with us for this next food combo, as it definitely isn't one that's for everyone. Yes, pickles and ice cream may sound like something women typically crave when they're pregnant — hey, we're not judging! However, it turns out that combining the two actually results in something pretty delicious. Who'd have thought?
Salty, tangy, briny pickles and creamy, sweet ice cream might seem strange to you. But combining sweet and salty foods has been a thing since forever.
Of course, you might not want to add pickles to more inventive ice cream flavors, so we'd probably start out with classic vanilla. Or why not go one step further and make your own pickle-flavored ice cream?
Strawberries And Balsamic Vinegar
If you're a fan of strawberries for dessert, you may have seen this combo on restaurant menus or even tried it yourself at home. The sharp, acidic, savory flavor of balsamic vinegar actually enhances the sweetness of perfectly ripe strawberries.
This combo won't taste as lush if your strawberries aren't perfectly ripe, though. The ripest ones will be beautifully sweet, offset by the acidic vinegar, while unripe strawberries might be too tart.
Try combining the two ingredients in a salad to impress your guests or treat yourself to a strawberry and balsamic dessert. You could even whip up strawberry and balsamic vinegar ice cream!
Eggs And Maple Syrup
Though this next food pairing isn't that strange, it's still one that sparks debate and seems to divide people whenever it comes up. When you think about it, eggs and maple syrup aren't really a weird combo. After all, maple syrup is often served with pancakes or french toast and bacon, with eggs on top or on the side.
You can take your eggs-and-maple-syrup combo to a new level by combining egg yolks with the syrup to create a delicious sauce for your pancakes. Or why not poach an egg in maple syrup — it's surprisingly good.
Drizzling syrup over your scrambled eggs is another way to enjoy this combo, and it's actually pretty tasty. You could even combine the syrup with the eggs before scrambling them.
Apple Pie And Cheddar Cheese
If you haven't tried this classic combo yet, you're missing out. Apple pie and cheddar cheese together is an oldie but a goodie.
Most of us have tried eating slices of apple with cheese. It's an excellent flavor combo. So why not go one step further and combine fresh baked apple pie with sharp cheddar? Surely, it couldn't be anything but delish.
This combo is actually pretty ancient, thought to have originated in England in the 1600s. Today, topping apple pie with cheese seems to be a bit of a polarizing topic. Although you'll find this served across the U.S., it's most common in New England.
While you could simply top your pie with a slice of cheddar cheese, either as is or melted under the grill, you could take it one step further. Baking cheese into the crust of your apple pie is another way to elevate this sweet and savory dessert.
Chips And Chocolate
Love it or hate it, chips and chocolate are a classic combo that seems to divide foodies around the world. In the U.S., you could once find Lay's chocolate-covered potato chips. We miss them dearly, and we know many of you do, too.
There's just something about the salty-sweet combo that revs up taste buds and has us drooling for more. Lay's wasn't the original creator of the chocolate and chips combo, though. People were drizzling chocolate over their potato chips way before the company bagged and started selling the sadly now-extinct snacks. The good news is that you can always make your own at home if you miss the pre-packaged version.
Ramen And Peanut Butter
Ah, instant ramen. The food of the gods, students everywhere, and anybody who's ever been hungry late at night after a few beers. It makes sense that this latest combo takes an instant classic and amps up the volume.
As anybody who has ever had chicken satay from their local Chinese restaurant knows all too well, peanut butter with absolutely anything is usually a winning combo. So why not upgrade your instant ramen by mixing in peanut butter, some chili flakes or a dash of sriracha, and an (optional) splash of soy?
The result is a creamy, salty, slightly spicy sauce that's irresistible. You can use whatever peanut butter you prefer, as crunchy and smooth both work. You don't need to limit this combo to packs of instant ramen either — it also works great with regular ramen or any noodle dish.
Halloumi Cheese And Honey
Honey and halloumi is a flavor combo we just can't get enough of! Halloumi is sharp, salty, and delicious — even if it is a bit squeaky. Honey is sweet, sticky, and utterly yummy. So it makes sense the two are a flavor match made in heaven.
Combining cheese with honey might not seem like the most obvious choice, but trust us when we say that once you've tried halloumi with honey, there's no going back. It's a slippery, sticky slope.
Our favorite way to enjoy this combo? Mix some honey with chili flakes or paprika — smoked paprika works too. Then drizzle the combo over halloumi and pan-fry until golden. You can also pan-fry the halloumi, then drizzle the honey mixture over to serve, if you prefer.
Bacon And Banana
Nobody really knows where the bacon and banana pairing originated, but it's often associated with the King himself, Elvis Presley. Elvis loved nothing more than a bacon, banana, and peanut butter sandwich, and who are we to argue?
The sweetness of banana, salty hit of perfectly crispy bacon, and creamy nuttiness of peanut butter are a timeless combo. You might say they're a match made in heaven.
If you think combining bacon with bananas sounds weird, okay, you're not alone. Yes, it is a bit weird, but it works. You could wrap bananas in bacon to enjoy this delight, top toast with slices of banana and crispy bacon, or pop bacon and bananas on a pizza base for something a bit different from your usual margherita.
Steak And Blueberries
If you're not a steak lover, chances are you've never come across this combo. Even if you do have a carnivorous side, you may think blueberries with your rump steak sounds just a bit... weird?
Fruit sauce with steak is nothing new, and you'll find loads of blueberry-based sauce recipes to complement whatever type of steak you're cooking. Though blueberries are sweet, they're not overly sweet, and they're just the right amount of tart to enhance the rich, savory flavors of the meat.
Don't fancy blueberry sauce with your rump or fillet steak? You can also combine the two ingredients to make a sweet and savory steak and blueberry pie.
Watermelon And Salt
When it's hot outside, there's nothing like a refreshing slice of juicy watermelon to help you cool down. If you're visiting the southern United States, you might find your watermelon served with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
This is a strange combo, but it works! Watermelon has faint bitter and tart notes, especially if your melon is underripe. Salt helps bring out the sweetness but also brings all the water in the fruit to the surface, so every bite is sweet and juicy.
You only need a tiny sprinkle of salt to enhance your watermelon, and flaky salt is the best kind to use, though table salt also works in a pinch. You could also try lemon or lime salt or even a spicy salt like ghost pepper salt.
Mango And Chilli
Lovers of Asian food might not find this next combination that unusual, as it's pretty popular in Asian cuisine. Those who haven't come across the pairing before might still think it's pretty out there, though.
Combining sweet and spicy foods makes for a powerful flavor punch that wakes up your tastebuds. You could make a spicy chili mango sauce or salsa, or try adding mango to a pot of veggie chili. You can even combine these two ingredients for dessert: try sprinkling chili powder over fresh, ripe sliced mango and serving as is or with vanilla ice cream.
Peanut Butter And Sriracha
Forget PB&J; the new craze is PB&S — for some of us, anyway. Subbing Sriracha for jelly is actually a great idea.
This spicy sauce is still sweet, just not as cloyingly sweet as some jams can be. Yes, Sriracha is pretty spicy, but the creamy butter cuts through some of that spice. Give it a go in your next sandwich! You could even add some extra interest with pickles.
Don't fancy it in a sandwich or on toast? Try combining peanut butter with Sriracha, soy, and a little lime juice. It's the perfect satay-style sauce for noodles, a stir-fry, or grilled chicken.
Butternut Squash And Miso
Miso makes almost everything it touches taste amazing, thanks to the wonderful umami it packs. So why not add some of its salty magic to sweet roasted butternut squash?
The natural sweetness of the butternut squash pairs perfectly with the miso's salty, deep umami flavors. You can use any kind of miso you like, too, from red to white or a combination. You're not limited to butternut squash either — miso is great with any sweet squash.
Try slathering your squash with a layer of miso before roasting it in the oven. Or add some miso to your butternut squash soup for a comforting treat on cold fall and winter days.
Ice Cream And Soy Sauce
Ice cream and soy sauce? We have to admit, we thought this flavor combination sounded too odd to be good. It's true that it's an intense flavor that's not for everybody, but for those who can handle it, it's really tasty.
First up, the ice cream has to be vanilla; rich and creamy, yet with a subtle flavor. The umami of soy sauce pairs well with the creamy sweetness of the ice cream. Start with a tiny drizzle of soy sauce, though, as any more can be overpowering.
Strawberries, Sour Cream, And Brown Sugar
Some people think that this is a strange combination, but we don't think it sounds that weird. Strawberries and cream are a classic flavor combo, and sour cream is no exception.
The tangy sourness of the cream contrasts with the sweetness of ripe strawberries and adds a creamy coolness that's irresistible. You can take this combo one step further by adding brown sugar.
Try dunking a strawberry in sour cream, then dip the resulting concoction in brown sugar for a delicious sweet crunch. Yum! You could also use white sugar, but there's something about brown sugar that complements the strawberries perfectly.
Steak And Pomegranate
If you thought that the steak and blueberries combo was tasty, wait until you try steak with pomegranate. The tart, sweetness of pomegranate adds an extra burst of juicy flavor to the salty, savory steak.
Many Middle Eastern recipes use fresh pomegranate or pomegranate molasses as a marinade for meat. You can use any cut of steak for this, from sirloin to ribeye.
Whip up a fruity pomegranate sauce for your next fillet steak, or make a warm steak and pomegranate salad using pomegranate seeds. Combining pomegranate with balsamic vinegar makes a delicious sweet and sour dressing.
Chocolate And Beetroot
Like avocado and chocolate, beetroot and chocolate are a popular flavor combo used in baking. As well as being good for you and high in fiber for a healthy gut, beets also add moisture and sweetness to baked goods.
Add them to brownies, cakes, cupcakes, or even cookies to ensure your baked goods don't dry out. They add a delicious earthy flavor, too, and incorporating them in a recipe makes it easier to bake without breaking your budget, as they're usually affordable to buy.
You'll need cooked beetroot to make baked goods, so you can either buy cooked beets or pick up raw ones and cook them at home. Once the beets are blended into your recipe, their texture should be virtually undetectable.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.