Unusual food combinations have a way of expanding culinary rules and bending the mind for what flavors go together. While these unusual food combinations may sound weird, they actually are foods that work together in an unexpected way. In fact, these food combinations could be a new go-to favorite.
Want to challenge your brain and taste buds? Shake things up with these surprisingly good food combinations.
10 Unusual Food Combinations
These 10 unlikely, weird food combos can actually work. They may seem off putting at first glance but are worth a fair shot… At least once!
1. Peanut Butter and Pickles
No cold cuts for a sandwich? No problem with this pantry staple sandwich of peanut butter and pickles.
This unusual combo can work by pairing the briny, crisp taste of pickles with the oily texture of peanut butter. It can be kept simple with adding these in between any bread or elevated with grilled peanut butter pickle sandwich. Or, take it a step further by adding potato chips inside the sandwich.
2. Unusual Ice Cream Combinations
Instead of chocolate sauce, fruit or whipped cream, try these unexpected ice cream combinations to wake up your taste buds.
• Ice cream and olive oil. This combination works because the olive oil adds extra creaminess and a slightly savory touch to vanilla ice cream. Olive oil can be added while making ice cream or lightly drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream. Take it a step further by making rosemary and olive oil ice cream or olive oil gelato.
• Ice cream and soy sauce. This savory, salty condiment can actually pair well with vanilla ice cream. In fact, soy sauce and ice cream can be a fairly common pairing in Japan. The strong salty flavor paired with sweet, creamy ice cream combines with a caramel-like flavor that many claim is delicious.
To start with this pairing, add just a small drop or two to ice cream. If the flavor is not strong enough, add a drop or two more until desired caramel like flavor is reached.
3. Cheddar Cheese and Apple Pie
Cheese in a fruit pie? Yes, this combination actually works well together with cheddar cheese in an apple pie.
The cheese adds a slight salty compliment to the sweet apples. Cheddar cheese can be worked into the pie crust, or the cheese can be added into the apple filling like in this apple pie with cheddar cheese recipe.
Cheese and apples can be paired together for another unusual food combination: grilled cheese with applesauce. The concept is the same as apple pie; the cheese and apples provide a pleasingly salty and sweet combination.
4. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon
Elvis Presley famously made the peanut butter and banana combination popular for a sandwich, and some suggest bacon was also added occasionally. Whether Elvis indeed added bacon or not, many have now claimed peanut butter, banana, and bacon as a surprisingly winning combination for a sandwich.
For this combination, the bananas add a layer of sweetness that is balanced with earthy peanut butter. The bacon adds a salty, umami flavor that balances it all together.
5. Fruit and Meat
Fruit and meat can go well together in a few different ways. Meats served cold can be paired with fresh fruit like on a charcuterie board, or cooked meat can be complemented with a fruit-based sauce.
Examples of fruit and meat combinations can include:
6. Weird Watermelon Combinations
Watermelon is a refreshing treat by itself, but it can be elevated by contrasting it with different textures and flavors. For example, a simple way to enhance the flavor of watermelon is to gently sprinkle it with salt.
Other watermelon combinations include:
• Pairing cut up watermelon with chunks of feta cheese. The feta adds not only a salty flavor but a contrast in texture. This combination can be elevated by making it into a salad with additional ingredients such as red onion and fresh mint.
• Watermelon with fresh herbs. Fresh herbs add contrast in flavor to sweet ingredients. Fresh chopped mint can easily go with any fresh fruit, including watermelon. However, another lesser-known fresh herb combination using watermelon can be with fresh minced basil. Simply sprinkle chopped basil in with cut-up watermelon for a delicious, refreshing flavor combination.
Fresh dill can also be paired with watermelon when incorporated into a salad, like in this watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, and dill recipe.
7. Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar
Another weird fruit combination can be strawberries and balsamic. The balsamic can actually make the sweet strawberry flavor pop. The key is to not use too much balsamic to overpower the strawberry flavor.
Pair strawberries with balsamic in the following ways:
• Strawberries can be added to green leafy salads and paired with a balsamic vinegar dressing
• Fresh strawberries can be tossed with a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar and optional few spoonfuls of granulated sugar.
• Balsamic macerated strawberries with basil can be used as a topping for yogurt, ice cream or oatmeal
• Strawberry balsamic bruschetta can be a fun summer appetizer
8. (Hot) Honey and Pizza
There are many unique pizza combinations, but does honey on pizza work? This unusual food combination will surprise you with how they can, in fact, pair well together. Hot honey, or honey infused with chilies, drizzled on pizza adds a slightly sweet flavor and extra heat.
According to tastecooking.com, hot honey can be an ideal combination with pizza because the hot honey helps cut through the fat from the cheese and other toppings like pepperoni. Hot honey and pizza has taken off as a winning food combination, and many pizzerias across the country offer hot honey added to pizza.
If you do not have hot honey, regular honey can still be added to the pizza. For example, cheese and honey pizza recipe simply combines mozzarella, fontina, and ricotta cheese with a few tablespoons of honey for a balanced salty and sweet pizza combination.
9. Broccoli and Cheetos
The humble Cheeto paired with unlikely broccoli is hardly a combination you would think to find at a high-end restaurant. However, that is exactly how this unusual food pairing came about from chef Koketsu’s New York City restaurant Park Avenue. It ended up becoming a crowd favorite at the restaurant.
The good news is you do not have to travel to New York City to try this unusual food combination. Broccoli and cheetos can be made at home using the same recipe that chef Koketsu created.
10. Grape Jelly and Scrambled Eggs
Jelly with toast for breakfast everyone is familiar with... But grape jelly with eggs? This combination can work together because the jelly balances out the savory egg flavor. To try this combination, start small by adding a tablespoon or two to scrambled eggs. The key is to not overwhelm the dish with too much sweetness.
Fun fact: Some cultures believe this food pairing is beneficial for lactating women to promote milk production. However, anyone can eat this unusual, but tasty, food pairing.
Bonus! Peanut Butter and Scrambled Eggs
Speaking of scrambled eggs… Peanut butter is another weird food combo that just seems to work. (Maybe separate from the aforementioned jelly…)
After scrambling the eggs, simply drizzle peanut butter atop for a nutty flavor and added healthy fat. Feel free to enjoy as is or add a touch of hot sauce, salt, black pepper, or other favorite seasonings.
The combo flavor is so unique, it might just give a classic peanut butter and jelly a run for its money!
Recapping Unusual Food Combos
Many fun and unusual food combinations appear to not go together at first glance, but somehow are delicious together. In order for these weird food combinations to work, flavors and textures are contrasted. For example, many unusual food combinations pair sweet and savory ingredients such as vanilla ice cream and soy sauce, cheddar cheese and apple pie, or grape jelly and scrambled eggs.
Food combinations can also pair varying textures such as peanut butter and pickles or broccoli and Cheetos. Some pairings may help cut a fatty ingredient like pairing honey and pizza or peanut butter, bananas and bacon.
The varying flavors and textures of each food come together to meet in the middle and create a tasty balance. The key is to not use too much of one ingredient to overpower the other flavor to truly enjoy these unusual food pairings.