Bertrand Weber, director of Culinary and Nutrition Services, Minneapolis (Minn.) Public Schools (MPS), found inspiration for his district’s hummus recipe while dining at a local restaurant that is a member of the MPS True Food Chef Council, a partnership with the local culinary community. This group works with Weber’s department to teach children culinary skills, develop recipes and promote healthy eating. "My wife and I eat all around the Twin Cities at our True Food Chef Council restaurants. One day, I tried the beet hummus at Wise Acre Eatery and knew it would be our next True Food Taste Test," recalls Weber. With the restaurant’s recipe in hand, Weber and his staff worked together to create a school nutrition version of the electric pink hummus that features beets as the star ingredient.
Andrea Northup, MPS farm to school coordinator, explains the True Food Taste Test: "Minneapolis schools have a taste testing program three time per year. We offer a new dish with the goal of exposing students to new things. Forty-five schools participate, and 18,000 kids get a sample!" she says. Beet hummus proved to be a perfect recipe for the taste test, given children’s general lack of experience with both beets and hummus. To ease student concerns, Northup and Weber featured a small cup of the hummus paired with a more familiar item. "When we did our original taste test, we used a whole-grain corn chip from a local manufacturer; next time we used carrot and celery sticks. Now, they grab those straight off of the salad bar!" says Weber.
To build even more student buy-in, True Food Taste Tests
also feature contests to name the new recipes. A sixth-grader at one of the district middle schools created the winning name, and UnBEETable Hummus
Read more about chickpeas, get some creative hummus recipes and more HERE