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Switch Up Your Summer Menu with Plant Forward Recipes from Aramark and the American Heart Association

Summer is when fresh fruits and vegetables shine. With the right ingredients, healthy, plant forward meals (those with vegetables-as-center-of-the-plate, with smaller portions of meat) can be colorful, creative, delicious, and packed with nutrients.

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Aramark collected plant forward recipes from its network of chefs, and the AHA leveraged its nationa ...

Aramark collected plant forward recipes from its network of chefs, and the AHA leveraged its national network of experts, to create a plant forward summer menu everyone can enjoy. (Photo: Business Wire)

Aramark (NYSE:ARMK), the largest U.S.-based food services provider, and the American Heart Association (AHA), the nation's largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, are working together to improve the health of Americans 20% by 2020, through healthy menu and recipe innovation and health awareness and education programs.

Currently, as part of its Healthy for Life 20 By 20 commitment with the AHA, 30 percent of the main dishes Aramark serves across its dining operations in Healthcare, Higher Education and Business Dining are vegan or vegetarian. Aramark has also partnered with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to conduct plant-based culinary trainings for its chefs, to enable them to create innovative recipes that center on foods including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

Because more and more people are enriching their diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils and seeds, Aramark collected some plant forward recipes from its network of more than 1,000+ chefs, who are responsible for serving nearly two billion meals each year, and the AHA leveraged its national network of experts, to create a plant forward summer menu everyone can enjoy.

Photos of the recipes can be downloaded here and a list of proven summer tips that pack a plant forward punch can be found here.


Hearty and tasty, you won’t miss the meat on this burger! These savory Portobello mushrooms absorb the smoky flavors from the grill.

(Serves 6)


1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup bottled BBQ sauce

4 large (about 14 oz.) portobello mushroom caps (no stems), cleaned

Cooking spray

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

6 hamburger buns

6 green leaf lettuce leaves, washed

12 tomato slices



In sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat oil and add onion. Sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.


Add BBQ sauce to onions and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 1 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Cover and keep hot for service.

3. Preheat char-grill to medium-high.

Coat mushrooms with cooking spray; sprinkle with garlic powder.


Grill mushrooms until fork-tender, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and slice 1/4 inch.


Top hamburger bun with sliced mushrooms, 2-3 tablespoons BBQ onions, lettuce, and tomato. Serve.


A cold, tomato-based and veggie-filled soup — perfect for warmer weather. Blended cucumbers and green peppers provide filling fiber and olive oil serves up healthy fats.

(Serves 4)


1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 small green pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

3 cups V8 100% Vegetable Juice, Regular

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 small garlic clove, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


1. Stir in a medium bowl: juice, cucumber, pepper, onion, oil, vinegar, garlic and hot pepper sauce.

Place half of the juice mixture in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetable juice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with additional chopped vegetables, if desired.

Recipe Tip: For a faster, chunkier gazpacho, you can just stir the ingredients together, without blending, and then refrigerate.


Shredded kale, red cabbage, carrot and green onion tossed with a tangy honey-lime vinaigrette.

(Serves 6 as a side dish)


2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. honey

1 1/2 tsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

3/4 tsp. granulated sugar

3/4 tsp. fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 cups fresh kale leaves, washed, tough stems removed, sliced 1/8”

1/2 cup fresh red cabbage, cored and shredded

1/2 cup fresh carrot, peeled and shredded

1/4 cup green onions (scallions), trimmed and sliced 1/8” (white and green)


1. Combine vinegar, mayonnaise, honey, cilantro, sugar, lime juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended.

Add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat.

3. Cover. Keep chilled for service or use as directed in recipe.


This Hearts of Palm Salad, with Roasted Corn & Avocado, is one of the recipes developed by Aramark chefs during the plant-based culinary workshops with HSUS, and is plant-based take on crab salad.

(Makes 6 servings)


5 ounces thawed frozen whole kernel corn (about 3/4 cup)

¾ teaspoon plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

5 cups romaine lettuce cut into 1-inch pieces

5 cups baby arugula

12 grape tomatoes

1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber

18 slices avocado

Hearts of Palm Salad (recipe instructions below)

6 lemon wedges

18 seasoned baguette crisps (sometimes also called bruschette or bruschetta toasts)



Toss the corn with ¾ teaspoon oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the corn is lightly browned. Let cool. Season to taste.

2. Whisk the lemon juice, ½ cup oil and salt in a small bowl. Whisk again just before using.

Mix romaine and arugula. Divide among 6 serving bowls. Arrange the following clockwise on top of each:

•   2 tablespoons roasted corn

•   2 tomatoes

•   ¼ cup cucumber

•   3 slices avocado


Drizzle each with about 3 tablespoons lemon mixture.


Top each with the following:

•   about 1/3 cup Hearts of Palm Salad

•   1 lemon wedge

•   3 baguette crisps

6. Serve immediately.

Hearts of Palm Salad

2 cans (about 14 ounces each) whole hearts of palm, drained (about 12 pieces)

2/3 cup diced celery

2/3 cup diced red bell pepper

¾ cup sliced green onion

5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 ¼ teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Pulse the hearts of palm in a food processor until mixture resembles flaked crabmeat. Drain.

Combine the flaked hearts of palm, celery, red pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.


Cauliflower will become your new favorite vegetable as it is used to create a pizza crust brimming with more fiber and nutrients than dough. With this creation or any of the other ideas in the tips, pizza is turned from an indulgence into a healthy option.

(4 Servings)


Cauliflower Crust

1 large head cauliflower (roughly chopped)

4 egg whites

1/4 cup shredded, fat-free mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sauce and Toppings

1/2 cup canned, no-salt-added tomato puree

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup shredded, fat-free mozzarella cheese


For the cauliflower crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat them with cooking spray.

Trim and discard the leaves from the cauliflower. Roughly chop the cauliflower florets. Add to the bowl of a food processor in batches, pulsing until the mixture resembles couscous. (The key to getting the correct consistency is to not overload the food processor.) Measure out 4 cups of the cauliflower and transfer to a medium bowl. (See tip for ways to use the extra cauliflower.) Into the bowl, add egg whites, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir to combine.


Divide the cauliflower mixture over the 2 prepared baking sheets—aim for each “pizza” to be a 7- to 8-inch oval or circle, using a knife or a spatula to spread the mixture into this size.


Bake cauliflower crusts in the oven until edges are totally golden, around 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

For the sauce and toppings:

Reduce the oven to 425°F.


Make the tomato sauce: In a small bowl, combine tomato purée and spices. Reserve.

3. Prepare all the vegetables. Warm oil in a small nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and, stirring constantly, cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

When the cauliflower crusts are finished, divide tomato sauce between each pizza, swirling into the middle of each pizza. Top with basil leaves, the cooked vegetables, and cheese. Bake in oven until cheese melts, about 5 to 7 minutes.


Remove pizzas from the oven. Use a large spatula to carefully remove pizza from parchment and transfer to each plate. Cut each one into quarters and serve.

Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.

For more plant forward tips and recipes, visit or join the conversation on Instagram.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Aramark

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, state-of-the-art healthcare providers, the world’s leading educational institutions, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 270,000 team members deliver experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives every day through innovative services in food, facilities management and uniforms. We operate our business with social responsibility, focusing on initiatives that support our diverse workforce, advance consumer health and wellness, protect our environment, and strengthen our communities. Aramark is recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE, as well as an employer of choice by the Human Rights Campaign and DiversityInc. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


Erin Noss, 215-409-7403

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