Certain flavor combinations might sound strange or impossible at first, but the taste buds know better. It all comes down to a molecular level. That’s right, this is a chemistry equation. The pairings we’re loving right now all have chemical compounds in common, linking them together to either enhance certain aspects or cancel out others. The important part is that trying these flavors is fun in a double-dog-dare-you kind of way.
Apple + Lavender: The tart sweetness of apple meets the calming hint of lavender, which gives it a little bite. Try it out for breakfast with this B&B recipe.
Mushroom + Apricot: Mushrooms are known for their earthy flavor, but they come to life with the bouncy highs of apricot. The two make an excellent sauce.
Butternut Squash + Pear + Kale: Not only is this a cozy combination, but this trio is also very nutritious. The squash is broken down into a soft, sweetened state while the pear gives you a little texture. Kale, when steamed, changes flavor, losing most of its bitter edge. Try it in a bowl for lunch!
Chocolate + Chipotle: Sweet and smoky, this combo will be difficult to stop eating, especially if it’s packed inside of a cookie! For options on sugar substitutes, click here to learn how to replace the white with applesauce. >> Read more: Get the Skinny on Brown Sugar
Cheese + Honey: If you want to get a little fancy in the kitchen and not break a sweat, try a version of this recipe with a soft cheese on a crunchy crostini, drizzled with honey.
Cumin + Cinnamon: For a colorful side dish, cumin and cinnamon collide over carrots. Add some sweet maple syrup for the glue, and voila!
Mango + Goat Cheese: Goat cheese is the go-to guy for pizzas, burgers, salads and more. So when it pairs up with a rich, sweet mango, be prepared to chew slowly with your eyes closed. Namaste.
Avocado + Coffee: Bring these two together in smoothie form. A ripe avocado mixed with your favorite milk, a few drops of vanilla extract, ice cubes to cool, and of course, espresso or brewed coffee. Click here to see more green smoothie recipes.
>> Read more: Avocados and Weight Loss: What's the Connection?
Wasabi + Sweet Potato: Savory combines with spunky in this mashed potato recipe. The wasabi lights it up, and it doesn't take much!
Salmon + Yogurt: This one is difficult to imagine, but very easy to put together. Who knew yogurt could be a topping instead of the base?
Ginger + Vinegar (+Honey): Vinegar might not be your thing, but this flavor combination acts as a go-to home remedy for sore throats and head colds. It goes down smoothly, cleansing the palate on the way with no weird aftertaste. Willing to try it now?
Banana + Carrot: Sounds like a baby food combo, but mature taste buds will love this, too! Carrots actually have a sweet side and do well in a banana bread mix. This one is only 172 calories per slice! Click here to try a coconut banana bread recipe.
>> Read more: How Skinny Swaps Stack Up in Flavor
Parsnip + Pear: What’s a parsnip, you ask? It’s a root veggie that looks like a white carrot, but softer. When roasted, it sweetens up, but keeps its peppery identity. A juicy pear is also gritty in texture, making the combo the epitome of an opposites-attract relationship. They're often seen together in soup form, but you can try them roasted, too.
Raspberry + Chipotle: Tart, tangy, smoky and hard to put down, this combination will make your mouth water, and it’s beautiful to look at, too!
Pineapple + Bleu Cheese: A citrus punch of pineapple meets the rich, earthly presence of an aged cheese. Try pineapple slices or puree with bleu cheese crumbles on water crackers with a glass of your favorite white wine. Cheers!