Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Fresh produce is taking center stage at summer BBQs and stealing some of the limelight from traditional cookout staples, like burgers and hot dogs. Going plant-forward, emphasizing vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, but still offering a proportionately small quantity of animal protein, is an easy way to incorporate color and optimize nutrition in summer dishes. 

Aramark, the largest U.S.-based food services provider, and the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, are kicking summer grilling into high gear by sharing a list of heart-healthy recipes and inspiring people to give new plant-forward menus a try this summer.  

Motivated by its mission to enrich and nourish lives and its Healthy for Life 20 By 20collaboration with the Association to improve the health of all Americans, Aramark launched a major plant-forward initiative to boost nutrition across its menus in colleges and universities, hospital cafés and workplace locations. The initiative has resulted in a 15% average reduction in calories, saturated fat and sodium, and 9% increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains across those dining location menus, where 30% of the main dishes are vegan or vegetarian.  

Aramark tapped into its network of more than 1,000 chefs, and the American Heart Association leveraged its national network of volunteer health and science experts, to compile a menu full of healthier twists on classic summer favorites. Taking a bite out of summer couldn’t be easier with a wholesome meal packed with fruits and vegetables everyone can enjoy. 

Main Course

  • Grilled salmon & panzanella salad: Full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, toss this salmon salad together in minutes—it’s especially delicious served right off the grill.

  • Grilled vegetable pizza: A crispy crust with a handful of summer veggies takes this family favorite to a new level. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Grill carrots, eggplant or any other fresh vegetables that will hold up to a grill’s heat. 

  •  Spicy shrimp and pineapple skewers: Ready in 15 minutes, this sweet and spicy meal was made for weeknights.

  • Vietnamese-style lettuce wraps with grilled shrimp, avocados and mango: Piled onto a platter, this impressive dish will wow your family. For a weeknight meal, serve with fresh avocado and mango, or grill them to enhance the sweetness of the mango and make the avocado even silkier. (Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association).

Side dishes


  • Beet ketchup: Taken from Aramark’s The Twisted Beet menu, this smooth ketchup is made with beets, cider vinegar and seasoning.

  •  Yogurt herb ranch dressing: Made with vegan Greek yogurt, this dressing is a perfect addition to any veggie tray at parties or large gatherings.


  • Blackberry cobbler: This traditional American dessert recipe is great for summertime family reunions and features seasonal, nutrient-dense blackberries (Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association).

  • Grilled fruit tart with spiced honey drizzle: Grilled Indian naan flatbread serves as the “crust” for fresh fruit tarts. Top with creamy yogurt sauce, grilled seasonal fruit, like peaches, garam masala-spiced honey drizzle and pistachios for an amazing summer dessert.  

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