Being Veg at the University of Minnesota
Are you vegetarian, vegan, or just interested in cutting back on meat, dairy, or eggs? The dining options at the University of Minnesota may initially seem limited, but there's no need to worry! All you need to do is familiarize yourself with the thousands of vegetarian culinary delights offered by the various restaurants, grocers, and cafeterias right here on campus. Before you know it, you'll be feasting on mock chicken stir-frys, hummus sandwiches, vegan gourmet cookies, soy ice cream bars, and veggie burgers with French fries--all within walking distance!
If you’re stranded on the West Bank, you’re in luck! Do you like loud music and a punkish atmosphere? Hard Times Cafe, an all vegetarian, late-night restaurant, is the place for you! Jewel of India, the Red Sea, and Mediterranean Deli have delicious items ranging from vegetarian curries to Ethiopian cuisine and falafel sandwiches. Don't forget Pizza Luce, featuring non-dairy cheeses and crazy toppings that you won't find anywhere else!
Almost every restaurant on the East Bank has at least a couple of animal-friendly dishes, but a favorite among U students for good Chinese is the Village Wok which features an array of tofu, mock duck, and veg fish fillet specialties. Located in the heart of Dinkytown, Camdi, which specializes in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, has an all-vegan menu (inlcuding egg-free rolls and vegan "cream cheese" wontons) and Mesa Pizza By The Slice now has a vegan pizza option. With quick service, Noodles Inc. and Chipotle in the Stadium Village area offer reasonably priced food with Italian, Asian, and Mexican options. After studying over a frothy soy latte at Starbucks or a rich soy hot chocolate at Espresso Royale, drop by the popular night spots Annie’s and the Steak Knife for their veggie burgers and pita wraps. When you're on the go and need to get some grocery essentials like non-dairy Oatscreme or Tofutti ice cream, soymilk, veggie burgers, and vegan energy bars head to the House of Hanson or Harvard Market
St Paul Campus
The St. Paul campus has some veg-friendly hot spots, but definitely less than other parts of campus. So if you didn't pack a bag lunch for the day, you'll definitely want to drop by Lori's Coffee House which features a wide-array of great vegetarian soups like black bean and mung bean, sandwiches, and great coffee. Mim's Cafe is also famous for their amazing vegan falafel sandwiches. But if you’re in more of a rush, drop by the Gopher Spot convenience store to pick up an Amy’s Kitchen burrito, soup, and a bottle of Silk soymilk.
What about when you just want to grab a quick meal between classes and don't want to stop at the nearest dining hall? Finding a vegetarian meal on campus has never been easier. With the newly renovated Coffman Memorial Union comes a large selection of vegetarian food. If you are really in a hurry, the Gopher Express convenience store on the ground level of Coffman carries a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan wraps, soy milk and ice cream, "beef" jerky, as well as fresh fruit and other snacks. If you have a bit more time, try a hummus bagel sandwich at the Einstein Bros's Bagels, grab a Boca burger from Chick-Fil-A, or order a gigantic veggie burrito from Baja Sol Tortilla Grill.
If you're living in the residence hall, the University Dining Services (UDS) cafeterias will be your home base for eating, and with an array of vegetarian and vegan entrées you'll have plenty to choose from!
If you're looking to get a quick bite to eat before your 8am class, you can head right down to the cafeteria to try a variety of breakfast items including hash browns, oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar, cereal with soy or rice milk, toast with PB&J, fresh fruits, and orange juice.
For every lunch and dinner, a large salad bar is available with various veggies, tofu, hummus, “fakin’ bacon” bits, nuts, and sunflower seeds. Check out the vegetarian soup of the day (which happens to also be vegan most of the time), try some spicy chili, stack a Boca burger with all the toppings, or dig into a hot slice of vegan pizza with extra sauce and veggies (in select cafeterias only). UDS serves at least one vegetarian and vegan entrée daily, ranging from eggplant marinara to bean burritos with fresh guacamole and salsa.
If you notice that veg entrées aren't being served or the entrée is just a measly portion of steamed string beans, don't hesitate to notify the manager of the cafeteria. They are happy to accommodate your needs. CAA members are also working with UDS staff to continually improve the veg dining options for students, so please contact us if you would like any sort of assistance with your eating situation.
Are you going out on the town with a group of friends or that special someone? Do you think that eating vegetarian will limit your options when dining out? Whether it's vegan pizza delivered to your door step or a vegetarian version of that Chinese dish you loved as a kid, you can find it with the help of CAA's own guide to veg-friendly dining, VegGuide.org. With more than two hundred fifty local restaurants serving vegetarian and vegan food, you will probably have graduated before you've tried the entire selection these spots have to offer!
We all know that money can be tight as a college student, so you’ll want to also do some of your own shopping and food preparation occasionally. As you get your shopping list ready, take a moment to brainstorm ideas for meals by browsing through our recipe list for easy and cheap recipes that CAA has compiled.
Fortunately, all the grocery stores around the University carry great non-dairy milks, meat alternatives, vegan frozen dinners, and ethnic foods, besides their standard selections of veggies, fruits, grains, beans, and nuts. In recent years, the mega grocery stores Cub Foods and Rainbow Foods have added a health food section which features great vegan chips, dips, power bars, cereals, egg-free mayonaise and even non-dairy cream cheese and ice cream.
Additionally, be sure to check out the wide array of organic and natural foods, soy products, and bulk bins that the Seward Co-Op sports. Convenience stores on campus, Harvard Market East, House of Hanson, and Joe's Market have a variety of options including Amy's Kitchen frozen entrees, veggie dogs, Lebanese deli items, and much more!