Best Fresh: Mediterranean Mezze Plate—Morrison Healthcare
Created based on an ask for more trendy, plant-forward patient menu options, this dish will be also show up in retail and doctor dining as part of a new “Greek Out” pop-up restaurant.
Best Plant-based: Hearts of Palm “Crab Cakes”—Aramark Healthcare at the Cleveland Clinic
Part of a new plant-forward menu that’s caught on fast, these faux crab cakes (can we call them krabby patties?) are “something patients and guests never expected from a healthcare location,” says Chef Josh Ingraham, who creates this seafood-fakeout with hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, panko, vegan mayo, seasoning, fresh herbs and flavor-packed jalapeno honey jam.
Best Special Diet: Dysphagia-friendly empanadas—Hormel Health Labs
For those with swallowing disorders, these empanadas are safe—and savory, too. Ingredients include bread dough made with turmeric and a mix of seasonings plus beef puree and thickeners developed for people with dysphagia.
Best Sustainable: This seasonal stunner includes hyper-local greens and more from a student-run freight farm on the Stony Brook University campus.
Romaine lettuce, green beans and cherry tomatoes are topped with a blood orange vinaigrette and candied pumpkin seeds (from last year’s pumpkin carve!)
Best Roast: Fresh Fennel-stuffed Porchetta—HHS at Havasu Regional Medical Center
HHS Director Trula Hepner says this catering menu item with the “heavenly crunch on the skin” has “won the hearts and filled the bellies of many happy folks.” Ingredients include pork belly, fresh fennel (fronds and all) and a lemon-rosemary-sage rub.
Best Traditional: Shrimp and Fried Grits—HHS at Blossom Grill at Magnolia Regional Medical Center
The best qualities of really good grits—creamy yet crispy—come together in this dish with buttermilk-parmesan grits, baked, cut into cubes and breaded in cornmeal. Add Cajun shrimp and a white wine cream sauce for a truly down-home plate.
Best Vegan: Vegan “Salmon” with Ginger Rice and Vegetables—Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Soy sauce, nori sheets and beet juice transform firm tofu and roasted sweet potatoes into vegan “salmon” in this Asian-inspired plate from the culinary team at SRHS. Ginger rice and vegetables complete the feast.
Best Beans: Bean and Mushroom Enchilada—TouchPoint in Manhattan, KS
The melty, cheesy goodness of an enchilada is made even better with power-protein beans and meaty mushrooms, whirled in a food processor into refried bean texture then rolled into white corn tortillas and baked until toasty.