Plant-Powered Meals

The New York City Department of Education is committed to the health and well-being of every child, and proudly provides free, nutritious meals to all New York City public school students every day. The healthy food we provide helps students succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Every Friday, our school cafeterias feature a nutritious plant-based dish as the primary menu item. Many of these meals are made from scratch with freshly cut ingredients either on-site or in one of our local facilities.

Plant-based meals are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, helping to ensure that our students receive the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Plant-Powered Friday also exposes students to meals prepared in different, flavorful ways, encouraging students to make healthy food choices for a lifetime.

Students may also select from non-plant-based meal options, and milk is always available. Throughout the week, our menus also offer such plant-based options as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a hummus grab & go meal.

See our recipes for Plant-Powered Friday meals below to make these dishes at home and enjoy delicious and nutritious plant-based food anytime!

Visit our menu page to see what is being served.

Plant Powered School Food Recipes to try at home

3 Bean Chili

Yield: 8 Servings

Picture of 3 Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups Pinto Beans - If using canned, drain & rinse
  • 1½ cups Black Beans - If using canned, drain & rinse
  • 1½ cups Kidney Beans - If using canned, drain & rinse
  • 1½ cups Diced Tomatoes - If using canned, do not drain
  • 1 Yellow Onion - Wash, peel, small dice
  • 1 Green Pepper - Wash, peel, small dice
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper - Wash, peel, small dice
  • 5 cloves of Garlic - Peeled, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons of Cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons of Chili Powder
  • 1½ cups of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup of Water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley or Cilantro for Garnish

Method

  1. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables.
  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
  3. Add diced onions and peppers, sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown on the edges.
  4. Add chopped garlic and all spices, cook for one minute.
  5. Add in all beans, diced tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, and water. Bring to a boil stirring often to prevent burning.
  6. Once at a boil lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until 150◦ F.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to liking.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley and Enjoy!

This dish is best served over your favorite rice. We also suggest adding corn as a side vegetable to complete the meal.

This is a take home version of the Three Bean Chili recipe available in school.

Pasta Primavera

Yield: 8 Servings

WhiteBeanPasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound box Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
  • 1 small head Broccoli- wash, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Yellow Onion – wash, peel, halved, sliced
  • 1 Red Onion – wash, peel, halved, sliced
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers – wash, remove seeds, sliced into strips
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers – wash, remove seeds, sliced into strips
  • 1 pound Zucchini – wash, slice into ¼ inch half moons
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes, low sodium
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic – peeled, minced
  • 1 ounce Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of the following spices: Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Dried basil and Dried Oregano
  • Chopped Fresh Basil, for garnish

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all vegetables, spices, chopped garlic, and oil. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Transfer vegetables to sheet pan and roast in oven 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 150°F for 15 seconds.
  5. While vegetables are roasting, cook pasta according to box instructions.
  6. Once both pasta and vegetables are done mix together.
  7. Garnish with chopped basil and enjoy!

This dish is best served with white beans to add a plant based protein to the meal!

This is a take home student recipe version of the Pasta Primavera served in school.

Big City Bean Taco

Yield: 10 Bowls

Plate of school food with low fat milk, stewed beans, zucchini with corn, an apple, and a whole wheat tortilla

Ingredients 

  • 6 cups Black Beans – If using canned, drain and rinse
  • 1¼ pounds Zucchini – Wash, cut into half moons
  • ½ Red onion – Wash, peel, small dice
  • 10 oz Mushrooms – Rinse & slice
  • 10 oz Corn – If using canned, drain and rinse
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon each of: Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Curry Powder
  • 10 Soft Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • ½ cup Salsa
  • Chopped Cilantro, for garnish

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦ F
  2. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine Black Beans, Zucchini, Red Onion, Mushrooms, Corn, Oil, and all spices, making sure to mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly onto a baking sheet.
  5. Cook in on at 350◦ F for 20-25 minutes or until 150◦ F. Vegetables will be softened and slightly browned.
  6. Assemble tacos in order as followed: 1 each Whole Wheat Tortilla , 1 cup of Veggie Mix, 1 tablespoon of salsa

This is a take home version of the Big City Bean Taco recipe available in school.

Black Bean and Plantain Power Bowl

Yield: 10 Bowls

Black bean rice bowl

Ingredients

  • 5 cups Stewed Black Beans (see recipe below)
  • 5 cups Cilantro Rice (see recipe below)
Stewed Black Beans 
  • 5 cups Black Beans – If using canned, drain and rinse
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – Wash, small dice
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper – Wash, small dice
  • ½ Red Onion – Wash, peel, small dice
  • ½ Yellow Onion – Wash, peel, small dice
  • 1 bunch Cilantro – Wash, chopped
  • 1 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/8 cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ Tablespoon Cumin
  • ½ Tablespoon Salt
Cilantro Rice 
  • 5 cups cooked Brown rice
  • 1 bunch Cilantro – wash, chopped
  • ¼ cup White Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic – peel, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

Method – Stewed Black Beans 

  1. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables.
  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add diced onions & peppers sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown on the edges.
  3. Next add in tomato sauce, black beans & spices to the pot. Bring to a boil stirring often to prevent burning.
  4. Once at a boil lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until 150◦ F. 

Method – Cilantro Rice 

  1. Prepare Cooked Brown Rice
  2. In a bowl Mix together cilantro, vinegar, oil, garlic, spices
  3. Next mix cilantro vinaigrette with brown rice

To Assemble 

  1. Once both items, layer in bowl ½ cup Cilantro Rice and ½ cup Stewed Black Beans
  2. Garnish with Cilantro and Enjoy! 

This dish is best served with Roasted Plantains and Pico de Gallo to complete the meal.

This is a take home version of the Black Bean and Plantain Power Bowl recipe available in school.

Mediterranean Chickpeas

Yield: 10 Servings

Mediterranean Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) – If using canned, drain and rinse
  • 1 Yellow Onion – Wash, peel, small dice
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic – peeled, minced
  • 1/8 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon each of: Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Dried Basil
  • 2 cups of Tomato Sauce
  • Chopped Fresh Basil, for garnish

Method

  1. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables.
  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté until fragrant and beginning to brown on the edges.
  3. Add chopped garlic and all spices, cook for a minute.
  4. Next add in tomato sauce and chickpea to the onion and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil stirring often to prevent burning.
  5. Once at a boil lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until 150◦ F.
  6. Garnish with Chopped basil and Enjoy!

This dish is best served over your favorite Rice or Whole Wheat Pasta. Add roasted broccoli & cauliflower as a side vegetable to complete the meal!

This is a take home version of the Mediterranean Chickpeas recipe available in school.

Zesty Chickpea Stew 

Yield: 10 Servings

Zesty Chickpea Stew

Ingredients 

  • 6 Cups Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) – If using canned, drain & rinse
  • 1 Yellow Onion – Wash, peel, small dice 
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic – peeled, minced 
  • 1/8th Cup Vegetable Oil 
  • 1 Teaspoon of the following spices: Ground Cumin, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Turmeric, Red Pepper Flakes.
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce 
  • 2 Cups of Tomato Sauce 
  • ½ Pound Carrots – wash. peel, cut large dice 
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries 
  • ½ Pound Zucchini – wash, trim, cut large dice 
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley or Cilantro for Garnish 

Method

  1. Wash, rinse, and cut all vegetables. 
  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and carrots, sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown on the edges.
  3. Add chopped garlic, zucchini and all spices, cook for one minute.
  4. Next add in tomato sauce, soy sauce, dried cranberries and chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil stirring often to prevent burning.
  5. Once at a boil lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until 150◦ F.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and Enjoy!

This Dish is best served over your favorite Rice, We also suggest adding roasted cauliflower as a side vegetable to complete the meal! 

*Please note this is a take home student recipe version of NYC DOE OFNS’s Zesty Chickpea Stew (VE-007)*