Greens beyond lettuce

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

Published in FSD Update

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.


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

Managing Your Business
business ladder climbing illustration

Recruiting talent is only half the battle for Mike Folino, associate director of nutrition services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Once he’s attracted good employees, providing clear opportunities for advancement can help retain them—but knowing when to bring up the topic in conversation can be tricky.

Prior to hiring

Folino likes to touch on advancement during the initial interview process, but the extent to which he does so changes case by case. “I have had interviews where we knew right away that we needed to discuss our structure and...

Ideas and Innovation
woman surprise

When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

But as with my own household chores, there are no magical elves making sure the business of feeding students, seniors and hospital patients is done, and done well. Foodservice...

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

FSD Resources