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Vegetable Subgroup Requirements: Have Beans Got You Baffled?

School Cafeteria Posters: 1 Great Tray from Learning ZoneXpressRecent implementation of changes to the National School Lunch Program as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the impact that is having on the school community has been headline news. While students may be complaining that they’re hungry, that is just one of many challenges school foodservices around the country are facing.

A new requirement calls for all vegetable subgroups to be served each week and it seems clear that some schools know that they must serve them to be compliant, yet don’t necessarily know what to serve, particularly with the dry beans and peas subgroup. At a recent professional conference, one teacher lamented that plain garbanzo (chickpeas) were served to students and were promptly thrown away uneaten. It’s not surprising in the least bit. Perhaps what we need is a little “bean-spiration” so to speak…

Here are just a few ideas for finding great bean and pea recipes:

  • Recipes for Healthy Kids, a competition that challenged teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, parents, and other community member to develop tasty, kid-approved recipes has a whole slew of dry bean and pea recipe ideas like Tuscan Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup, a Fiesta Wrap, and Vegetable Chili Boat. The best part is that the recipes are listed two ways: for home (6 servings) or school lunch (50-100 servings).
  • Pinterest is another great option. Use the search function to search for specific types of beans, browse the photos to find inspiration, and click through to find recipes. Or if you have a Pinterest account, pin recipes as you find them online and keep them organized on a pin board dedicated to beans and peas. Pinterest is a great place to find unconventional uses of beans – cookie dough hummus, anyone? Just note, you’ll likely have to do a little work to scale up the recipes for the quantities needed for foodservice.


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