01. Spiralised vegetables


This year vegetables are moving on up when it comes to their place on the dinner table. Sad side dishes (boiled peas included) are being replaced with mains that see veg being used in new and unique ways. Think cauliflower steaks to spiralised vegetable pasta and more. In addition to the obvious nutritional benefits, it’s ideal for those sticking to low-carb or paleo diets.

Try it here: Meatballs with zoodles at Kcal

Al Mamoura building B, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thur 8am to 10.30pm, Fri 10am to 10.30pm, Dhs42. Tel: (02) 8849476. Taxi: Al Mamoura Building, Muroor Road. kcalhealthyfastfood.com

02. Fermented foods


Age-old methods of food preservation are gaining popularity because of new research that shows items like sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt are loaded with good bacteria for your stomach. Plus, the strong flavours are popular with young chefs looking to push taste buds.

Try it here: Kimchi at Korean eatery Manna Land

Manna Land, Golden Tower, Muroor Road, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, daily 11am to 11pm, Dhs20. Tel: (02) 4466860. Taxi: Near  Al Mamoura Building. mannalandkorean.com

03. Seaweed


Dubbed the new kale, seaweed is the next super food in the making. We’re not talking about the paper-thin sheets used to wrap up sushi, but rather the actual fresh ocean vegetable. It tastes of umami (the Japanese ‘fifth sense’ that is best described as a strong, savoury flavour) and has super-concentrated micronutrients such as iodine and zinc.

Try it here: Seaweed medley salad at Koi

The Collection, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thur 6pm to 12.30am, Fri and Sat 12.30pm to 1.30am, Dhs55. Tel: (02) 6783334. Taxi: St Regis Saadiyat. koirestaurant.ae

04. Ancient grains


Substituting white rice with healthier options has never been easier to do. While everybody knows about quinoa, why not try freekeh? The roasted wheat grain is a staple in the region, so it’s easily accessible, and has a slightly smoky flavour. With twice the amount of fibre than quinoa, it’ll keep you full for longer too.

Try it here: Freekeh with shrimp at Yildiz Palace

Al Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 12.30pm to midnight, Dhs40. Tel: (02) 6650901. Taxi: Behind Sheraton Khalidiyah Hotel. yildizpalace.com

05. Smoothie bowls

Smoothie bowl

While the juicing trend isn’t going away anytime soon, smoothies are now being served in bowls instead of mason jars. The trend actually makes sense because you can now load up your otherwise liquid meal with hearty toppings like granola, seeds or fresh fruit – making it more substantial and filling.

Try it here: Smoothie Bombs consist of a tube of five super-food balls ready to crumble on top of your smoothie bowl for added nutrition.

Dhs69, thesmoothiebombs.com

06. Pulses

Cafe Bateel

The United Nations declared 2016 to be the Year Of The Pulses. Why? Because the underrated kitchen staple (think chick peas, dried beans, dry peas and lentils) is full of nutritional benefits and the crop is surprisingly sustainable to grow. Get on board with a meatless meal that will keep you surprisingly satisfied.

Try it here: White bean soup at Café Bateel

The Galleria, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Abu Dhabi, daily 8am to 11.30pm, Dhs36. Tel: (02) 6712284. Taxi: Galleria on Al Maryah Island. bateel.com

07. Ube


The culinary world is waking up to the flavours of the Philippines. Traditional dishes from the island country are starting to make an appearance at hip restaurants in the United States, especially the vibrantly coloured ube tuber. The purple root vegetable is typically used in sweet dishes (cakes, doughnuts, buns and more) but can also be used in savoury items as well. Here at What’s On we are rather partial to the smooth coconuty flavours of ube halaya pudding – it’s similar to creamed sweet potato mash but tastes so much better.

Try it here: Ube halaya at Philippine House Restaurant

Al Falah Street, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, daily 7am to 11.30pm, Dhs5. Tel: (02) 6416126. Taxi: near the National Cinema Building

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