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Top view from directly above of a small copper pot of chicken and sausage gumbo made with fresh okra and tomatoes. Gray background on cutting board.

February is a special time to pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled against adversity while contributing so much to the world. Foodservice operators can pay their respects with delicious dishes that showcase the cuisine of the African diaspora. Here are a few produce-centric recipes to add to menus or offer as LTOs.

  • Gumbo. A traditional Creole and Cajun stew thickened with chopped okra, this dish combines core soul food ingredients like shrimp, chicken, sausage, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and celery. Simmer until flavors deepen and serve over herbed rice.
  • Shrimp & Grits. Make this classic Southern dish more delicious and nutritious with added ingredients such as green onions, chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, or bell peppers. Don’t forget
    the cheese!
  • Stewed Greens. Made with a variety of different hearty greens (collards, mustard, turnip, dandelion, beet, spinach, or kale), chefs cook them down with pork fat then add brightness with vinegar, lemon juice, and heat with chile flakes. Perfect with ribs.
  • Sorrel Punch. This brilliant red beverage is made by brewing dried hibiscus flowers like tea. With added sweeteners, alcohol, or served plain, your customers will love to toast the holiday month with this traditional West Indies drink.

Seasonal Produce Checklist:

  • Ready-Set-Serve Chopped Collard Greens
  • Ready-Set-Serve Shredded Cabbage
  • Ready-Set-Serve Onions
  • Ready-Set-Serve Trimmed Green Beans
  • Markon First Crop Tomatoes (Red & Green)
  • Markon First Crop Chile Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Okra
  • Plantains
  • Hibiscus/Sorrel
  • Black-Eye Peas
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Corn/Cornbread
  • Jollof Rice
  • Fonio
  • Peanuts

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.