A Guide to Making Your Own Vegetarian Meals in the Dining Hall

by Jenna Byers

As a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find options as an underclassman at Syracuse — especially when limited to the dining hall meal plans. Normally, I tend to be a pescatarian, but after eating some crunchy scallops from the Ernie dining hall, I have become more of a vegetarian (at least when I’m at school). Below are some nutritious and tasty meals that will leave you feeling full and more satisfied than a bowl of Froot Loops. 

First off is a staple meal that is the best CoreLife creation of all time. Order a Tuna Poke Fire bowl and ask to substitute tofu for the usual tuna. Then, I like to add edamame and chickpeas for some more protein. If you’re feeling extra fancy and don’t mind dropping an extra $1.50 on a fried egg, that’s another great addition! Also, sliced almonds add a nice crunch to the bowl. Not only is this dish super filling, but it is also full of fresh and brightly colored ingredients. 

Next is Food.com located in Newhouse 3. If you feel like treating yourself to something other than the dining hall, but don’t want to spend as much ‘Cuse Cash as you would at CoreLife, this meal is perfect for you. All you have to do is order a veggie burger on a spinach wrap. I like to add provolone cheese, pesto, roasted red peppers, and cucumbers. Then, have them grill it, and boom – a delicious and protein-packed meal.

Okay, now that we’ve covered non-dining hall options, it’s time to use up these meal swipes in an effective way. One classic meal that we love is the tofu pasta dish. The vegan section of Ernie almost always has plain and unseasoned tofu as an option. This tofu is the equivalent of a damp sponge, so here’s what you need to do to change that. Bring some Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning to the dining hall and drench the tofu with it. Then, grab whatever veggies are available that night and add red pepper flakes. Finally, combine the tofu and veggies with some pasta in a bowl and now you have a well-balanced and flavorful meal. If none of the cooked vegetables look appealing, you can also load up on whatever veggies you like from the salad bar. I recommend chickpeas, edamame, and tomatoes.

These next two dining hall options are unfortunately only available on the weekends. First, we have the omelet station, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (warning: sometimes they close this station down early) on Saturdays and Sundays. I like to add cheddar cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers to our omelet. Next is a fried egg and avocado bagel. This was recommended to us by my friend Regina – so thank you Reg! All you need to do for this is toast your favorite type of dining hall bagel and then take an avocado from the vegan section. Afterward, you can ask the omelet station to make you a fried egg (or if you would rather not wait in the line, you can grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs from the salad section). Spread the avocado on your toasted bagel, add the fried egg (or slice up your hard-boiled eggs), and add on some salt, pepper, and Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s if you have it.

Just because the dining hall vegetarian options are terrible doesn’t mean your next meal has to be!

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