Eating vegetarian or vegan is becoming more and more popular. Whether you are eating a plant-based diet for health, environmental, or ethical reasons, I can guarantee there are tons of delicious food options on Appalachian State University’s campus. Here are some of my top picks at each dining facility:
Rivers Street Cafe (A.K.A. Upper Central, located in what is formally named the Roess Dining Hall): The Healthy Select area of Rivers Street specializes in vegan and vegetarian food. They always have favorites such as stir-fried vegetables, black bean burgers, and some variety of rice and beans along with a rotating entree. One of my favorite options is the curried chickpeas with brown rice. Along with Healthy Select, I also recommend checking out the customizable veggie burrito at wrAAPS, the vegetable roll at the grab-n-go sushi area, and, of course, the salad bar which offers vegan friendly protein toppings such as tofu and beans. Other stand-bys include baked potatoes, vegan chili, fresh-to-order sauteed pasta, and at least one vegetarian soup option.
Sanford Commons (A.K.A. Lower Central, also located in Roess Dining Hall): The main attraction for meat-eaters in this part of Central seems to be Chick-Fil-A, but there are tons of veg-friendly options too! A Sub Shop and Habanero’s Fresh Cantina both offer customizable burritos, wraps, sandwiches, and burrito bowls with delicious proteins such as hummus and beans along with fresh produce. Traditions also has at least one vegetarian or vegan rotating option, a fan favorite being the lo mein and tofu wings. There are also many self-serve options which can cater to a veggie diet such as the salad bar, pasta bar, baked potato bar, and a make-your-own-sandwich bar. If you need a pizza fix, the cheesy breadsticks are another delicious option, especially if you’ve had a rough day and need a treat.
Park Place at the Pond (Located in Trivette Hall): If you live on West Campus and don’t want to trek over to Central, Park Place has yummy options, too. If you’ve got time to wait, the Asian Bar is a delicious option where you can get a customizable entree with tofu and other veggies plus add a sauce such as General Tso’s and have it all served with an egg roll and rice or noodles. The Comfort Classics Hot Bar always has a rotating vegetarian or vegan option, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, they often have great sides. Pizza and the salad bar are always a solid option as well. Something which has been added in the past couple of years is the Vegetarian & Vegan Bar. With rotating options like homemade mushroom stroganoff and enchilada casserole, you are certain to find something filling.
McAlister’s Select (Located in Trivette Hall): This location is a little more limited than the one in the Plemmons Student Union, but you can still satisfy your McAlister’s cravings with favorites like the macaroni and cheese, veggie spud, nachos, salads, and the veggie sandwich. My personal go-to is the choose two option with half a Southwest Cobb Salad (sans chicken) and the veggie sandwich.
Cascades (Located in Plemmons Student Union): I cannot tell you how many times the beans and rice special has helped both my hunger and budget. With your choice of vegan beans and rice plus toppings, the world is your oyster. Other options include customizable burritos and sandwiches, as well as veggie hot dogs. The Blended smoothie bar within Cascades also serves up fresh-to-order juice, yogurt, and coffee-based smoothies.
McAlister’s Deli (Located in Plemmons Student Union): With a full menu and fast-casual style serving, this was always a treat for my friends and I when we lived on campus. Although it may seem to cater more towards vegetarians than vegans, with almost everything on the menu being served with a dairy product, a filling option is the taco salad with veggie chili and no sour cream or cheese. Vegetarian options include a super gooey grilled cheese sandwich, spuds, and salads, among other options. And of course, if you are a sweet tea person, you have got to try McAlister’s!