Veg Eating at the University of Minnesota

As a student or visitor to the University of Minnesota, it may seem like plant-based food is hard to find, but there are actually tons of tasty options! Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or looking to cut back on meat, eggs, or dairy, this page will have you covered. Here, we list out veg options you can find within walking distance, no matter if you’re eating out, going to a dining hall on campus, or just headed to the grocery store. 

Near-Campus Restaurants

Price Range Key: 

  • $ – Generally under $8 per meal
  • $$ – Generally around $8-$12 per meal
  • $$$ – Generally over $12 per meal

West Bank

Hard Times Cafe: $

This all-vegetarian grunge themed cafe is open 6AM-4AM daily and serves breakfast all day as well as a mix of Mexican inspired and traditional American entrées. Bring cash though, as they do not accept credit cards. Note: Online menu may not be up to date.

Pizza Luce: $$$

Who doesn’t love pizza? This one is a little further from campus, but don’t worry! They offer free delivery. They have lots of vegetarian and vegan options, and offer vegan cheeses that can be substituted! There are also several vegan-upon-request appetizers, sandwiches, and pasta options.

Dilla’s Ethipoian Restaurant: $$

Highly recommended Ethiopian food. Plenty of vegetarian options here! Most are also vegan. 

Red Sea: $$

An Ethiopian Restaurant with a vegetarian section on their menu! Many vegetarian options are also vegan.

Flamin’ Thai: $$

A trendy Thai restaurant on West bank! All of their curries and stir fries come with the option of no meat or tofu (and it’s cheaper). Many of these menu items are vegetarian or vegan that way!

Plant-based Sofritas burrito bowl with chip and guac from Chipotle

Chipotle: $

If you’re looking for something quick, Chipotle has plenty of options! Almost all of their menu items can be made vegetarian or vegan just based on what ingredients you choose to put in. Pro-tip: If you opt for fajita vegetables instead of one of the regular protein options, guac is free.

Subway: $  (located in Blegen Hall lower level)

Fast sub sandwiches. Veggie Delite without cheese on Italian bread, sourdough, or a wrap is vegan. If the location offers them, Malibu garden patties and falafel are also vegan options for fillings. Vegan friendly sauces include yellow and brown mustard, vinegar, oil, sweet onion sauce, buffalo sauce, and Subway vinaigrette.

East Bank


Wally’s vegan menu items as of Fall 2019

Wally’s Falafel and Hummus: $

A favorite of students in the Dinkytown area. This Mediterranean restaurant has delicious falafel and vegetarian options, several of which are either already also vegan, or can easily be made vegan by omitting cucumber sauce. 

D.P. Dough: $$

Classic, hefty calzones that will leave you full for a while. This isn’t made clear on their website, but the Dinkytown location does have 2 vegan calzone options, as well as several vegetarian options. 

The Cove: $$

This poke bowl restaurant has vegetarian options in the form of picking tofu as your protein. Vegan friends should also avoid mayo in some of the sauces.

Qdoba:  $

Entrees from this chain can easily be made vegan if you’re looking for something quick! Pro tip: Guac is free and vegan.

Potbelly’s: $

Sub sandwich vegetarian option, The Mediterranean, that can be made vegan by omitting the feta cheese.

Mesa Pizza: $$

Pizza by the slice! There is a vegetarian section to the menu and a vegan option.

Stadium Village

Build-your-own Blaze pizza with plant-based cheese

Blaze Pizza: $

This place is known for it’s speedy personal pizzas. Their regular crust is vegan, and they offer vegan cheese, vegan chorizo, and a huge array of vegetable toppings!

Simpls: $

A cute, casual cafe with regular sandwich options and a rotating array of soups, many of which are vegan. Vegetarian and vegan options are clearly labeled. Pro tip: There’s an app called Plyo that earns you points for going to the UMN Rec center or other sporting areas. Points in this app can score you some discounts.

Vegan tofu burritos and sweet potato tempura roll. If you order the sweet potato tempura burrito ask for the vegan sauce.

Roti: $$

Fast-casual Mediterranean with unlimited toppings! A veggie lover’s dream. Most of their items are  build-your-own style, and after choosing falafel as your protein, everything else is already vegetarian! There are only a few toppings and sauces to avoid to make this meal plant-based. 

Afro Deli & Grill: $$

Fast-casual restaurant featuring African. Mediterranean, and American cuisine! Vegetarian options are identified in green on the menu, and many are either already also vegan or can be made vegan by omitting Tzatziki sauce, cheese, or mayo-based dipping sauces.

Noodles & Company: $

Noodles around the world! Japanese Pan noodles and Spicy Peanut Saute with tofu are vegan, and several other dishes can be modified to your dietary preferences using the website’s helpful menu calculator (linked in title).

MyBurger: $$

A classic burger joint! Though not listed on their online menu, the Stadium Village location offers the Impossible™ burger! You must specify to omit mayo and butter on the bun to make this option vegan.

Chipotle: $

If you’re looking for something quick, Chipotle has plenty of options! Almost all of their menu items can be made vegetarian or vegan just based on what ingredients you choose to put in. Pro-tip: If you opt for fajita vegetables instead of one of the regular protein options, guac is free.

Burger King: $

This fast food chain now offers an Impossible™ version of their classic Whopper! The Impossible™ Whopper is vegetarian, but you must specify to omit mayo to make it vegan. If you are worried about cross-contamination from meat products, request a non-broiler method of preparation, as per their website. Pro tip: Burger King fries are vegan as well. Go wild.

Papa John’s: $

Regular crust is vegan by default! Thin crust has milk as an ingredient. Any vegetarian regular crust pizza can be made vegan by omitting the cheese. Pro tip: The garlic dipping sauce is already vegan!

On Campus 

CMU Minnesota Marketplace: $$  (Located on the ground floor of the Union)

If you find yourself hungry and on East bank, check out the food court on the ground floor! Here you can get bagels with hummus or dairy-free cream cheese at Einstein Bros Bagels, build your own salad at Greens to Go, or get Mediterranean fare at House of Hummus by Chabad. The marketplace also has general convenience store style food items, and a rotating restaurant option called Meta Flavors that focuses on providing vegan and vegetarian options—currently called Tavolino – Fresh Italian Fare!

Jamba Juice: $ (located on main floor of CMU)

Fresh, delicious smoothies! Many of their listed menu items are plant-based already, and labeled that way. Several other options can be made vegan by asking for substitutions or to leave certain things out.  

French Meadow Bakery & Cafe: $$ (located in UMN rec center)

Offers several vegan smoothie options, a few vegan bakery items, and some vegan soups! Perfect for post-workout snacking.

St. Paul Campus

Mim’s Cafe: $

Delicious, inexpensive, Mediterranean food right off of the St. Paul campus! Almost all entrees have veggie or falafel options. This restaurant is also connected to Lori’s Coffee House, a bright space for good coffee, tea, and espresso. 

Finnish Bistro Coffee & Cafe: $$$

A little further off campus, but definitely still within walking distance. This cute little cafe features a homey feel, periodic live music, and now a vegan menu! 

Subway: $  (located in St. Paul student center)

Fast sub sandwiches. Veggie Delite without cheese on Italian bread, sourdough, or a wrap is vegan. If the location offers them, Malibu garden patties and falafel are also vegan options for fillings. Vegan friendly sauces include yellow and brown mustard, vinegar, oil, sweet onion sauce, buffalo sauce, and Subway vinaigrette.

On Campus Convenience Stores

Gopher express celebrating world vegan month with an array of plant based snacks

East Bank – Coffman Memorial Union

Located right by the Starbucks in the Cube, CMU has it’s own convenience store called the Gopher Express. This store carries a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian snacks, and each item has a label identifying it as vegan or vegetarian. 

West Bank Skyway

Similar to it’s East Bank counterpart, Gopher Express West is a quick place to pick up snacks during the school day. Items generally have labels associated with them that clearly indicate if something is vegetarian or vegan. 

St. Paul Student Center

If you find yourself in St. Paul and in need of a snack, the student center has it’s own convenience store, the Gopher Spot, on it’s ground floor. If something is vegan, it is generally labeled as such. Here you can find veg options ranging from chips to soup to soy milk to soylent.

In Residence Halls

Middlebrook, Sanford, and Centennial residence halls feature their own convenience stores, called a C3 Market. These stores are open late and feature simple grocery items such as frozen prepared meals, soymilk, and canned goods. they also sell snack items, many of which are vegan-friendly or “accidentally vegan.” These stores all also carry dairy free ice cream!

Pro tip: Students with a meal plan get a limited amount of FlexDine, which can be used here. 

Residence Halls

If you’re living in the residence hall, the University Dining Services (UDS) cafeterias are your home base for eating. Relying on the dining halls for food can be hard on any diet, but especially so if your options are more limited. Here are some plant-based dining hall survival tips!

Where to find menus

You can check here online daily for a somewhat accurate representation of what’s available at each dining hall. 

There should be a hot vegan entree option at every meal, but if you notice the vegan option is just a measly portion of vegetables, don’t hesitate to shoot the manager of the cafeteria an email! They’re generally happy to accommodate student’s needs.

Additionally, if nothing prepared in the line is working for you, you can ask for a frozen meal. This isn’t well advertised, but it is an option. You should also be able to get a veggie burger at any of the grill stations, and can ask for a vegan dessert item in dining halls without dairy free soft serve machine. 

Tips in the Dining Halls

Every dining hall on campus has features that make it unique, but here are some tips that are relevant across the board.

  • Every dining hall has a soy milk or almond milk dispenser, which is great for anytime cereal. If these are empty, don’t be afraid to notify staff that they’re in need of a refill! 
  • Each dining hall has a pasta option, and the classic red sauce is vegan
  • Salad bars are always a good option to find veg foods. Fried tofu is occasionally available there, and it’s fantastic.
  • Check out the soup options each day. There are lots of tasty vegan or vegetarian soups! Double check that the label matches what’s actually in the pot though. These are often the last labels to be updated.
  • PB&Js are always available in every dining hall and a good staple.
  • Breakfasts tend to be pretty repetitive with their vegan option. There is always oatmeal, toast, fruit, and usually a tofu hash of some kind.  If you have a two-,meal-a-day plan or less, breakfast is likely the easiest to handle on your own.
  • If you’re at a dining hall with a vegan soft serve machine, mixing vanilla soft serve in with chocolate soy milk results in something like a frosty or a chocolate milkshake.

Dining Hall Veg-Highlights

  • Sanford always has a completely vegan stir fry station with tofu, vegan chicken, and grains like quinoa, as well as a vegan soft serve machine. They always have always has brown rice and additional vegan entrees. They also occasionally rotate vegan flat bread pizza onto the menu. 
  • Bailey is likely the least accessible unless you happen to live in St. Paul, but tends to have varied vegan options for lunch and dinner, and will sometimes have treats such as vegan pancakes or french toast at breakfast.
  • Pioneer is the newest and largest dining hall on campus. Vegan option here tend to be good if they haven’t run out. There is a vegan soft serve machine here as well, and they’re also known to have vegan chocolate chip cookies.
  • 17th Ave dining hall has a vegan waffle batter machine! They also have a completely vegan entree station, as well as other vegan options (soup, sides like potatoes, veggies)
  • Middlebrook has it’s own sandwich station and a vegan soft serve machine (when it’s working). There are also usually multiple vegan entree and side options.
  • Comstock is probably one of the smallest dining halls and therefore has the fewest options across the board, but it is in a really good location if you have classes in the east bank mall area. There are usually multiple vegan side options here and at least one vegan entree.

Middlebrook, Sanford, and Centennial also have C3 Markets attached to them which have a variety of vegan snacks foods available!

Off-Campus Dining

Want to get off campus for a bit? There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants around the Twin Cities! Resources for finding these restaurants can be found in numerous lists online, like this one

The UMN CAA student group goes on monthly dine-outs as well to explore off campus options. Join us!

Some current favorites: 

  • J Selby’s – ($$$) An all plant-based restaurant with vegan versions of classic comfort foods
  • Thai Garden – ($) Amazing Thai food with plenty of vegan options and adjustable spice. Very inexpensive, especially for tofu as the protein choice. And, it’s right off the green line!
  • Parkway Pizza – ($$) Pizza parlor with several vegan pizza options (complete with vegan cheese!) including a vegan meat-lovers! Pro tip: if you’re feeling up to it, try out the Pizza challenge, if you can finish a large (vegan) meat-lovers pizza in 30 min or less on your own, it’s free! 
  • Trio Plant-Based – ($$$) A black-owned, fully plant-based restaurant specializing in vegan soul and comfort food 

Grocery Shopping

In recent years, grocery stores have caught on that demand for plant-based food is only increasing, and now supply non dairy milks, vegan cheese, mock meats, plant-based frozen meals, vegan pizzas, dairy-free ice cream, butter, yogurt, and more. This is all in addition to staples such as a variety of grains, beans, nuts, vegetables (frozen and fresh), breads, pasta, and fruits.

The main grocery store near the Dinkytown area is the Dinkytown Target. Since this is a small Target and used by so many students, some options may be limited, but you can certainly still find staples here. The stadium village area is very close to a Fresh Thyme, which has more selection and produce, but can be a little more expensive than Target. 

Further from campus, there is a Trader Joe’s off the green line near US Bank Stadium, and the Seward Co-Op is on West Bank, which has quite a selection of organic produce and bulk bins. 

If you have a car or a friend with a car, mega grocery stores like Cub foods and Target are accessible. In recent years, these stores (Target especially) have added countless veg items to their shelves and even entire plant-based sections that make eating vegan so much easier.  

If you’re not sure what to get or even just looking for some inspiration, check out the CAA recipe archive for some cooking ideas!

Note: Menu/grocery ingredients may have changed since this list was made. UMN CAA is not responsible for any food illness or other grievances that may be caused as a result of this guide.

Last updated: 11/24/2019

Get Involved

Subscribe to our weekly update:



Veg Resources

Upcoming Events