Black-eyed pea “caviar”
The Bama Dining team at the University of Alabama welcomes spring with this fun “caviar” of black-eyed peas, roasted corn, diced tomato, red onions and jalapeno.
Loaded potato salad
Bama’s potato salad comes fully loaded, inspired by a baked potato, with crispy bits of bacon, hardboiled eggs, mayo, mustard and housemade pickled relish.
Pickled green beans
The perfect tart snack of pickled veggies doubles as fresh table décor for Bama Dining.
Also at the University of Alabama, versatile puff pastry is wrapped around fresh spinach leaves, cream cheese, Parmesan and mozzarella, then gets baked until golden.
Spicy chickpea salad
Morehead State University’s Aramark Sous Chef Brittani Ratcliff combines a few key ingredients to make this sassy side: chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, lemon juice, oregano, Tabasco, cumin, fresh oregano, diced cucumber, celery, green and red peppers.
Stony Brook University’s culinary crew showcased chef and author Edna Lewis with this creamy hominy casserole, shown here with roasted beets.
This salad by Metz Culinary Management at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus in Millford, Delaware, incorporates sweet strawberries into a pretty plate with a sesame-glazed chicken breast, mixed greens and shredded carrots.
This classic Cobb—with the protein-packed elements of eggs and cold cuts—is part of Chartwells Higher Ed’s new ghost kitchen program.
Slaw on the side
Chef Jason Hull of Marin (Calif.) Country Day School is big on gardening with the students, then showing them what an impact the fresh produce can have on school lunch.
Garden salads to go
Also at Marin Country Day School, these super-fresh salad cups are ready for an outdoor adventure.
Fast break fries
At the University of Houston, UH Dining/Chartwells created these fries for watching basketball, but we can see them graduating into summer events, too. Hearty potato wedges are topped with chopped brisket, kimchi, purple cabbage, green onions and chipotle-ranch sauce.
Rice and beans
This iconic Cuban side dish is served at Florida State University’s Suwannee Room by the Aramark team. Alongside slow-roasted flank steak (ropa vieja), this is a taste of Havana.
Morrison Healthcare’s Corporate Executive Chef Sahina Dizon “plants” this edible garden of puffed wild rice “dirt” with fresh veggies, cucumber yogurt, peppercorn ranch and balsamic dipping sauce.
Salads take the stage
Another dish from Morrison’s Dizon, this nutty mushroom-barley salad is packed with nutrients and makes a hearty addition to the picnic plate.
At the University of Florida, the Sodexo culinary team rolls street corn in butter, smoky spices and a sprinkling of parsley and cotija cheese.
This veggie platter from the Sodexo team at the College of William & Mary has so much going for it: housemade pickled red and green okra, cucumbers, fresh carrots, bell peppers, radishes, cauliflower and broccolini with mustard greens and onion dip.
Red Bliss potato salad
The Sodexo crew at the University of Vermont combines Red Bliss potatoes with a very herby vinaigrette for an elegant classic.
Baby kale slaw
Also at the University of Vermont, kale is finely shredded and tossed with a zippy light mustard seed dressing.
Black-eyed pea and corn salad
From Sodexo’s line of plant-forward recipes, this salad is a colorful—and nutrient-rich—addition to the picnic table.
Wild rice and Black Beluga lentil salad
This salad by InHarvest makes the most of lentils, an underrated pantry star that instantly ups the nutrition on a side dish, which is combined with a garlicky green goddess dressing.