Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Implementing Menus of Change this December

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 | 10:06 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments

with campus executive chef Tom Barton

As you may have already seen or heard, Northeastern is actively participating in something called Menus of Change. This initiative is a collaboration between the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America.

Menus of Change is built on twenty-four principles that revolve around sustainable eating and education about making healthier food and drink choices. Northeastern Dining has been involved with Menus of Change – and its companion educational initiative, the Menus of Change Research Collaborative – for well over a year. We typically focus on two principles a month. This month we are focusing on "Leverage globally inspired, plant-based culinary strategies" as well as "Serve less red meat, less often."

One of the exciting and unique things about all of the principles is that the schools participating in the initiative each interpret them slightly differently. A dish that we have on our menus that I think exemplifies these globally inspired plant-based culinary strategies is a turnip osso bucco. Osso bucco is traditionally a meat dish made with either veal or lamb shanks and slowly braised with wine, tomato, vegetables and stock. We have taken this same technique and applied it to certain vegetables, namely turnips and carrots. We like to use purple top turnips and leave the skin on for flavor and nutritional benefit. The turnips are first seared to give a nice golden brown color and, like the more traditional dish, slowly braised with vegetables, tomatoes, and vegetable stock until tender. We also do this dish with carrots and I have to say the results are stunning. Even those who don't like turnips (me included) have gone back for seconds!

Another example on the menus of actually both principles we are featuring is some of our "blended" dishes. Our version of blending involves reducing the amount of meat in something and replacing it with ground mushrooms. For instance, our meatloaf is a blend of 60% beef and 40% ground mushrooms. We are currently using this blending technique in many other dishes as well, including chili and meatballs.

More information on Menus of Change can be found on our website at and


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