Greens beyond lettuce

Kale, arugula and other leafy greens are adding color to menus.

Published in FSD Update

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

You know you’ve hit the big time when there’s a commercial about you during the Super Bowl. Such is the case with kale. In magazines, on restaurant menus and in non-commercial foodservice operations, kale and other leafy greens are upping the nutrition factor of many dishes, especially soups, salads and sandwiches.

Kale

At Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., the dining services department has moved beyond serving the traditional collard and mustard greens. Kale is the star of several dishes, including a lentil, kale, sweet potato and sausage stew.

“It’s really good,” says Executive Chef Bill Claypool. “A lot of the seasoning is taken out of the preparation of the sausage. It gives the stew a lot of that caraway and chili spice. That, plus the kale and sweet potatoes play off each other very well.” The department also offers an Indian-style kale and chickpea salad, which is flavored with a curry that contains cumin, red peppers, coriander and garam masala.

John Williams, executive chef at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, in Madison, thinks kale is a great ingredient because of its nutrition factor.

“We’ve been using it a lot lately because it’s hearty and holds up well in the winter,” Williams says. “We’re using it in salads with acidic dressings so the kale breaks down a little bit. The salad almost has to sit for a little bit to let that acid attack the greens and make it a little more palatable.”

One example is the department’s grape and kale salad, which has a citrus poppy seed dressing. Williams likes this salad because the citrus and sugar balance the acidity, which works well with the kale. Kale also finds its way into a spicy vegan quinoa and kale soup that includes chickpeas, carrot, onion, celery, black quinoa and lemon juice.

“There’s zero nutrient value in lettuce,” Williams adds. “Your stomach is a machine. Lettuce breaks down very easily in your digestive tract. Kale and other greens like arugula and spinach take a little work to digest, which creates more energy for your body.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources