Processed Meat Product Swap for Health Care

The Physicians Committee

Processed Meat Product Swap for Health Care

Many of your patients will remember the 2015 World Health Organization declaration that processed meats are carcinogenic to humans and red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans. Adding more plant-based foods to your menu will mitigate against the health risks of meat product consumption by increasing fiber and other protective compounds, making it ideal for disease prevention.  

The 2016 Food Service Director Healthcare Census shows growing patient and customer interest in vegan options and in global cuisines. You can serve both of these interests with delicious options like falafel, hummus, and pulse-powered pastas. Patients who protest the lack of carcinogens on the menu might be interested in a tasty swap, either in the form of replacement products or the recipes below.

Looking for products? We’ve got you covered:

Check out these recipes and nutritional information!

Replace Hot Dogs with Falafel Sandwich


Falafel Sandwich

50 Servings


  • 8-1/3 quarts chickpeas, cooked or canned    
  • 5 cloves garlic cloves, pressed        
  • 2-1/3 tablespoons bread crumbs        
  • 1 quart celery, minced        
  • 3 cups onions, chopped        
  • 5 teaspoons cumin, ground        
  • 5 teaspoons turmeric        
  • 5 teaspoons cayenne pepper        
  • 4 cups, 3 tablespoons tahini        
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) lemon juice        
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) water        
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper        
  • 3/4 tablespoon basil        
  • 25 whole-wheat pitas, halved        
  • 1-1/2 gallons lettuce        
  • 100 slices tomato slices


  1. Mash the chickpeas. Mix well with garlic, bread crumbs, celery, onions, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Roll into golf-ball size balls and fry in 350 F oil until golden
  2. Blend sauce ingredients until creamy paste is formed.        
  3. Fill each half pita with two falafel balls, 2 ounce ladle (1/4 cup) sauce, 1/2 cup lettuce, and 2 tomato slices.

Nutrients Per Serving

Calories 412 kcal; Saturated Fat 2.5 g; Iron 6 mg; Protein 16 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Calcium 163 mg; Carbohydrate 52 g; Vitamin A 635 IU; Sodium 169 mg; Total Fat 18 g; Vitamin C 11 mg; Dietary Fiber 13 g

Replace Pepperoni Pizza with Powered-Up Pasta with Chickpeas

Powered-Up Pasta with Chickpeas

Makes 10 1-cup servings


  • 1 pound whole-grain spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped green peppers
  • 3/4 cup chopped red tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3.5 15-ounce cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, green pepper, and tomato and sauté until tender.
  3. Add cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, paprika, and chili powder and toss to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until aromatic.
  4. Add drained chickpeas and toss to coat.
  5. Add tomato sauce, soy sauce, and salt and mix to combine. Cook for 5-10 minutes until heated through. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer.
  6. Combine cooked pasta and chickpea tomato sauce and serve.

Nutrients Per Serving

Calories 307 kcal; Total Fat 3.44 g; Saturated Fat 0.48 g; Trans Fat 0.00 g; Cholesterol 0.00 mg; Sodium 385.40 mg; Carbohydrate 60.87 g; Dietary Fiber 10.18 g; Sugars 2.80 g; Protein 12.44 g; Vitamin A 590.88 IU; Vitamin C 17.95 mg; Calcium 73.46 mg; Iron 3.81 mg

Recipe from DC Central Kitchen

Replace Pancake and Sausage Sandwich with Golden Apple Oatmeal

Golden Apple Oatmeal

50 servings


  • 1 1/2 gallons apples, fresh or canned, diced
  • 1 gallon 100% apple juice, unsweetened
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 gallon uncooked rolled oats

1. Combine apples, apple juice, and water in steam kettle or saucepan. Bring to boil.
2. Add salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Stir in rolled oats and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until oats are soft and creamy.
4. Turn heat to low, cover oats and hold until ready to serve, or place into sprayed hotel pan for steam table.

Serve 1 cup (8 ounces)

Each portion provides:  1 grain/bread and 1/2 cup fruit

Nutrients Per Serving

Calories 180; Percent Calories from Fat 10%; Total Fat 2.0 g; Saturated Fat 0 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 290 mg; Total Carbohydrates 37 g; Dietary Fiber 5 g; Sugars 16 g; Protein 4 g; Vitamin A (100 IU) 2%; Vitamin C (3.6 mg) 6%; Calcium 4%; Iron 10%

Recipe from Fruit and Veggie Quantity Cookbook – Revised Edition Oct 2011, from NH Obesity Prevention Program, DHHS, DPHS

Replace Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Hummus Sandwich


Lemony Hummus

50 servings


  • 4 1/2 quarts plus 3/4 cup garbanzo beans, cooked or canned, low-sodium
  • 2 1/2 ounces garlic cloves, smashed and macerated with salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt (to macerate garlic cloves)
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 5 ounces tahini (optional)
  1. Make the hummus in a small food processor by combining all the ingredients and pulsing until smooth.
  2. Add more water is needed.

Serve with 6 ounce scoop. Each serving provides 1 ounce meat/meat alternate.

Nutrients Per Serving

Calories 222 kcal; Saturated Fat 1.15 g; Iron 1.42 mg; % of calories from fat 34.14%; Protein 7.78 g; Cholesterol 0 g; Calcium 35 mg; % of calories from saturated fat 4.55%; Carbohydrate 30.31 g; Vitamin A 2 mcg; Sodium 337 mg; % of calories from sugar 4.23%; Total Fat 8.69 g; Vitamin C 4.21 mg; Dietary Fiber 5.53 g

Recipe adapted from Novato Unified School District and chef Hollie Greene.