Cheese is a versatile favorite on menus year-round, whether as part of a sandwich, on top of a burger, melted on fries or nachos or myriad other uses.
One of the most popular forms of cheese that foodservice operators can incorporate into their menus is queso—a Mexican-inspired cheese sauce featuring some spicy heat. It is often served as a dip for fries or chips, or as a topping on nachos or burgers. Foodservice operators around the country and across industry segments, from grab-and-go convenience stores to high-end restaurants, have discovered a range of applications for this gooey, tasty treat.
Queso is particularly popular at colleges and universities, where it appears on 15.9% of menus, according to Ignite menu data. That compares with 7.3% penetration on foodservice menus overall.
National Queso Day—Sept. 20, 2022—presents an ideal opportunity for foodservice operators at college and university venues and other non-commercial operations to leverage the popularity of this ingredient and create recipes or promotions that help drive awareness and generate excitement.
Maggie Maggio is a Culinary Dietitian with the Land O’Lakes Culinary Center specializing in K-12 and C&U foodservice and shares insights on how queso can be used in non-commercial operations.
“Not only can C&U foodservice operators incorporate queso into a wide range of dishes and offer you a ton of versatility from a single SKU, but queso itself can form a base for experimentation,” says Maggio. “Consider mixing in some bacon bits, for example, or blending it with salsa as a dipping option.”
Land O’Lakes Foodservice, which makes multiple varieties of high-performance cheese sauce products for commercial and non-commercial foodservice programs, offers a variety of on-trend recipe suggestions that students of all ages will love.
“Our Queso Bravo® Cheese Dips are a finished queso product that’s ready to eat once heated in our easy-to-use pouch,” notes Maggio. “While great on their own, with only a few simple steps and add-ins you can customize them for a variety of on-trend applications for students.”
Consider this recipe for Aloha Queso, which features Land O Lakes® Queso Bravo® Yellow Cheese Dip, mixed with pineapple tidbits and chopped, cooked bacon. This Polynesian twist on traditional queso could be offered on menus with plantain chips or as a topping for chicken, for example. For another tasty mash-up of culinary styles, try the Mexi-Melty Philly Recipe, a spin on the popular grilled beef sandwich that features Land O Lakes® Queso Bravo® White Cheese Dip .
Land O Lakes® products are versatile and easy to use and can easily be cross-utilized in multiple menu items. That helps operators control their inventory, while enabling them to create menu items that have broad appeal and bring students together. In addition to their product line, Land O’Lakes Foodservice has a team of culinary experts like Maggio who are available to answer any questions operators may have and offer inspiration to think outside the box.
Make queso a part of the regular menu today and promote it on National Queso Day
This post is sponsored by Land O'Lakes Foodservice