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Monday, April 22, 2019 — Houston, TX 70°

Servery Hacks: Eating vegan on campus

Illustration by Esther Tang

By Metinee Ding     9/12/18 12:35am

There are two rules to eating vegan in Rice’s nationally-renowned serveries: 1. Don’t try. 2. Okay, fine, you can try being vegan if you want to, but be warned that you’ll be eating salads five out of seven days of the week. That hasn’t scared you away? Okay. You’re ready.

If you’ve decided that the eco-conscious, animal-friendly and dairy-free lifestyle is for you, here is a comprehensive list of do’s and do-not’s at our beloved on-campus dining halls, straight from the guilt-free mouth of a very off-campus vegan.

  1. Serveries will not have dessert options for you – but never fear! Every servery has pre-packaged peanut butter cups. I really enjoy eating a serving of peanut butter after a meal. People definitely judge me for it, but what do they know? I’m just getting a good ol’ serving of protein, fiber and magnesium.
  2. If peanut butter isn’t your thing, but you still have a hankering for something sweet, try cereal. Most of the cereals in the serveries are accidentally vegan. Eat your serving with fortified soy milk to get some tasty B-12.
  3. I have a third dessert option for you Thresher and sugar consumers. If peanut butter and cereal aren’t your speed, try a frozen ice pop. Serveries won’t always have them, but if you’re lucky, you can track down a Cherry Italian Ice in the freezer section in your very own servery.
  4. Seibel Servery definitely has the best salad bar around – edamame, chickpeas, red onions, shredded carrots and more. I have a very particular salad recipe which I will begrudgingly share here. Step 1: add everything in the salad bar at Seibel to your salad. Step 2: look disapprovingly at the cheese offerings in the salad bar. Step 3: you’re done. 
  5. West Servery is not the best if you’re trying to craft a salad for yourself. It doesn’t have a ton of options (and it doesn’t have red onions, unfortunately). It does, though, often have a seaweed salad that is pretty tasty as long as you can get past the saline taste and spidery appearance. 
  6. Seibel has yummy curries and roasted vegetables most days in its vegetarian line. Arrive early – otherwise you might end up with soggy veggie friends.
  7. West’s vegetarian line will often (read: always) have some form of pasta. This is great if you are trying to carb-load for a big race day; it’s less great if you’re just trying to be a normal, sedentary person.
  8. North Servery: I’ve heard that recently North has been trying harder to appease those of us on our plant-based journey. With that in mind, North is a solid “meh,” but an improving meh. 
  9. South Servery: Big meh. So, bear in mind that if you aren’t from a select-few colleges, you might have to trek across campus to get a hearty, filling meal.
  10. Baker College Kitchen is a delicious servery, but there are so few options because it’s so itty bitty. Check the menu before going to make sure that it’s worth-your-vegan-while.
  11. This point is, in particular, for my friends at H&D: I know that we vegans may seem hard to please, what with our laundry list of dietary restrictions and we’re-better-than-you-because-of-our-cruelty-free-diet demeanors. However, please know that it’s not that hard to sate our veggie-based appetite. Vegan food can be delicious food! We need not always be relegated to a couple of curry or pasta dishes in the vegetarian line.

Most of all, don’t lose faith, new vegan children. People like to whine about how difficult it is to eat vegan in the serveries, but truly, our serveries are pretty great. As long as you aren’t super picky, you will be well-fed. Just be sure to take a multi-vitamin so that you can be a well-fed and healthy newbie vegan.

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