These recipes combine what some may consider unusual ingredients, with brilliant results. These recipes combine what some may consider unusual ingredients, with brilliant results. These recipes combine what some may consider unusual ingredients, with brilliant results. (Photo: FTG)

6 unlikely flavor pairings that are so wacky, they actually work

Pumpkin in your tortillas? Orange juice on your carrots? They sound unusual, but that's what makes them amazing.

Ever sit down for dinner, taste something fantastic, and ask the cook, "What's in this stuff?" Sure you have. But have you ever been surprised by the answer?

Sometimes the secret to the best meals you've ever had is an ingredient you would never have thought to use. On the surface, these recipes seem unusual. But one bite, and you'll be sold on these ingenious flavor combinations.

Orange-glazed carrots

orange-glazed carrotsThis side dish has spring written all over it. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

Along with being vitamin- and mineral-rich, carrots have a natural sweetness that make them among the world's most versatile foods. Israeli Kitchen contributor and vegetarian food blogger Jerry James Stone found a way to combine carrots, a favorite side dish of his, and an item most people have strictly at breakfast time – orange juice. The result is a simple side dish that's hearty enough to eat for dinner but that also satisfies your sweet tooth.

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for orange-glazed carrots.


Pumpkin tortillas

pumpkin tortillasPumpkin is more than pie, front-porch decor and snackable seeds. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Fear not the pumpkin – even in your tortillas! Pumpkin puree is one of those foods that can be dressed up in any way you fancy: As a main course for dinner, or punctuated with warm, sweet spices for dessert. In this case, Israeli Kitchen's Sarah Berkowitz, herself a pumpkin skeptic, found pumpkin to be the best filling for her tortillas. Why? "The pumpkin acts as a creamy mashed potato-like filling, just a whole lot more flavorful," she says.

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for pumpkin tortillas.


Chocolate chip dessert hummus

chocolate chip hummusThis sweet hummus puts a fun spin on snacking. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Among our ever-growing base of foodies, chefs and home cooks who follow the Israeli Kitchen, we've yet to find anyone who doesn't like hummus. So it just seems natural that someone would have the audacity to turn it into a dessert. Well, someone did, and the verdict is ... perfect! Turns out that ground chickpeas can be easily complemented with natural sweeteners like dates and chocolate chips and combine to make a fabulous and delightfully different dessert or snack dip.

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for chocolate chip dessert hummus.


Cranberry zucchini bread

cranberry zucchini breadWhether you're a home gardener or a farmers market frequenter, this sweet bread is the one to try. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

We can't think of one occasion where this sweet bread with a healthy dose of vegetables wouldn't be appropriate. The sweet and just-tart-enough flavor of the cranberries is a great balance to the hearty yet smooth flavor of the zucchini. Topped with a light icing, this bread will delight even the most veggie-averse among us.

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for cranberry zucchini bread.


Chocolate zucchini cake

chocolate zucchini cakeFile this under "ingenious ways to hide green vegetables in your favorite foods." (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Time for the portion of our program where we let you in on a little secret: Zucchini is magic! It makes itself almost undetectable in this cake because it softens when baked. That's why you see so many recipes in our Israeli Kitchen that feature zucchini (see above). This recipe is a real guest pleaser and one of the best examples of having your cake and your veggies in one dish.

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for chocolate zucchini cake.


Cherry salsa

cherry salsaSweet and spicy converge in this delightfully simple salsa recipe. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

What's a sweet, whimsical fruit like cherries doing in my salsa? you might be thinking. To that, we say, just give it a try. As the weather warms up, you'll start seeing cherries at your local farmers market. That's the perfect time to start experimenting, and this recipe makes experimenting super-easy. As far as how – and where – to eat it, the chef himself has some suggestions.

"It's great as chips and dip, but this salsa can do so much more," Stone says. "It's wonderful on a burger or my personal favorite, in a grilled cheese sandwich."

Read our Israeli Kitchen recipe for simple cherry salsa.

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