At Pennswood Village, senior-living residents have been asking for a greater variety of sustainable and plant-forward options for the past few years, and the culinary team has certainly delivered.

Produce-centric, made-from-scratch fare such as date quinoa salads, red lentil Bolognese and stuffed peppers is a fixture on the menu, as is a Julia Child-inspired take on beef bourguignon that has crossover popularity, made with carrots, rutabaga, parsnips and a mushroom medley. “It appeals to everyone, not just people who are looking for plant-forward or vegetarian items,” Back of the House Dining Services Manager Jim Thoma says. “Everybody enjoys this because it is the classic recipe.”  

Pennswood Village has also added more ethnic cuisine, such as Hungarian potato soup and a Middle Eastern lentil salad. “We literally have 12 to 13 different countries and continents on our menu,” Executive Chef Steve Plescha says.

For dishes that do use animal proteins, Plescha is sourcing higher-quality products such as chicken high in omega-3 fatty acids from a nearby farm as well as local, sustainable seafood.

“My [seafood] purveyors are really on top of it,” he says, noting that almost a third of the fish Pennswood Village serves comes from sustainable fisheries.

As plant-forward interest continues to grow, Plescha also hopes to incorporate CBD-infused entrees or sides. “That's something I'm really interested in, and I'm going to do my homework before I bring it out,” he says. “Whether it's for inflammation or, you know, just all-around wellness.”