You heard it here first – pulses are student approved!

USA Pulses has partnered with Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, from School Meals That Rock to share some of our newly created recipes with school districts across the nation. From Maine to California, several schools tasted these recipes and provided their feedback – giving you just a few more reasons to add pulses to your menu. 

Read on to learn more about these successful sampling events.


Park County High School, Livingston, Montana

Orange Sriracha Protein Bowl

The Orange Sriracha Protein Bowl was served in the high school and elementary school – students “loved” the recipe, according to school nutrition director, Michele Carter. She customized the recipe by including the spicy sriracha sauce on the side for her high schoolers. For the elementary schoolers, the recipe was served deconstructed – with the rice-pulse mixture kept separate from the chicken and the broccoli.


This recipe uses split peas, which were a new ingredient for some of her staff. She recommends reviewing the recipe with chefs and line cooks to make sure they are comfortable with it and offering training when using new ingredients.

USA Pulses has cooking directions for cooking split peas for a foodservice setting. Access these resources here.



Windham Middle & High School, Windham, Maine

In Windham, two recipes were tasted with students – the Farmer’s Meatball Grinder and Rockin’ Ranch Hummus. Students enjoyed these recipes!

Farmer’s Meatball Sandwich 

The Farmer’s Meatball Sandwich was served to middle and high schoolers during lunch. They were offered a sample of the sandwich – one meatball on a slice of baguette. Students absolutely loved this recipe – rating it a “1000 on a scale of 1 to 10” and asking for it to be served again on the menu!  

Since the taste tasting, the district has gone on to serve this recipe again! This time, for a board meeting catered by the school nutrition team.




Rockin’ Ranch Hummus

The district served the Rockin’ Ranch Hummus on their salad bar and the students loved it! They commented that it “tastes like Cool Ranch Doritos”! District school nutrition director, Jeanne Reilly, commented that the recipe would be perfect for salad bars, wraps or as a component of a lunch snack-style box.



Los Osos Middle School, San Luis Obispo, California

Three USA Pulses recipes were tasted with Erin Primer and her team in San Luis Obispo in California. They prepared Southwest Sloppy Joes, Cowboy Beans and Cornbread and Nacho Average Lentil Taco.

Southwest Sloppy Joes

The sloppy joes were a BIG hit! Students were offered the samples of the filling. When asked, the majority of students ranked the recipe as a “love it”. After tasting, Primer notes that the recipe could be used for tacos, nachos or sliders.


Cowboy Beans and Cornbread

Students also sampled the Cowboy Beans and Cornbread. Overall, there was a positive a response to this recipe. The school nutrition director notes that this recipe would be ideal if served as a side dish with chicken quarters, pulled pork or a BBQ themed menu.


Nacho Average Lentil Taco

Served on a tortilla chip, students at Los Osos Middle School tasted the Nacho Average Lentil Taco. This vegan recipe was a huge hit among students looking for more plant-based options! Students commented that she would eat this again if it were served on the lunch menu because it was a new and interesting vegan recipe!


For more recipes and inspiration for using pulses on your menu, view our recipe collection here. Stay tuned for more success stories!