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 and Triple Rock Social Club are the places for you! Hard Times Cafe is a late night, all vegetarian cafe and Triple Rock Social Club is a bar with plenty of vegan options ranging from vegan nachos to mock duck sandwiches (all ages allowed before 7 PM). Jewel of India and the Red Sea have delicious items ranging from vegetarian curries to Ethiopian cuisine. 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 a separate vegan menu (inlcuding egg-free rolls and vegan “cream cheese” wontons) and Mesa Pizza has a vegan pizza option. With quick service, Bun Mi Sandwiches, Noodles Inc. and Chipotle in the Stadium Village area (there is also one on the West Bank) offer reasonably priced food with Vietnamese, Italian, Asian, and Mexican options. Or try studying over a frothy soy latte at Starbucks or a rich soy hot chocolate at Espresso Royale.
St Paul Campus
The St. Paul campus has some veg-friendly hot spots, but there are fewer 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.
A large salad bar is available at lunch and dinner 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 wish to plan ahead, you can see the current dining hall menus here, which also offers a vegan filter on the left hand side of the page! 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.
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 three 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 recommend recipe sites for easy and cheap recipes.
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 and Joe’s Market have a variety of options including Amy’s Kitchen frozen entrees, veggie dogs, Lebanese deli items, and much more!