Bwog Staff recommends some of their favorite vegetarian dishes near campus, whether you celebrate Meatless Monday every day or if you’re just looking for some good food that is coincidentally meat-free.
Location: Roti Roll
Palak paneer frankie. I go to Roti Roll at least once a week. It’s a snack; it’s a meal; it’s everything to me and I love her. The Palak Paneer is a go-to for me, and the combo of spinach and mild cheese has comforted my weary mind for years now. Roti Roll is the reason that my demons no longer have control over me.
And Roti Roll again (deservedly):
The chana masala frankie/mango lassi combo has saved my life on a number of occasions.
Shiro (Timtimo and Birsin are my usual sides—legume season!!!) If you haven’t been to Massawa yet, from the bottom of my heart: why. A veritable neighborhood staple (it’s been around since 1988!), it’s a place that doesn’t just have perfunctory vegetarian/vegan options: instead, the vegetable mains are the star. I eat meat, and their meat dishes are also very good, but why would I ever bother when their shiro main is right there and just… beyond words… I ate Massawa in the literal freezing cold, in their unheated outdoor dining space, during the peak of the Omicron wave because I will do anything for Massawa (okay it was also my birthday). It’s not necessarily an everyday staple—an entrée goes for ~$20, or probably more than you want to spend regularly on lunch—but it is so, so worth it.
Location: La Salle Dumpling Room
The vibes and the food here are immaculate. I have an unsubstantiated theory that Wu gets their dumplings from them, but who knows. They have a lot of really great veggie options that even meat eaters will enjoy. You can go with a couple of friends, order family style, and split the bill. My friends and I probably paid around $20 each. It’s one of those tiny, dark restaurants and totally worth the short walk.
Location: El Portón
Veggie fajitas. It was a brisk spring evening when I first stumbled into El Portón with my roommates. I was lost, but soon to be found. I was quickly presented with a sizzling mountain of mushrooms, onions, and peppers of all sorts… maybe it was the danger of the scalding cast iron that excited me… or was it the taste that delighted me… or was it the massive frozen margaritas… no it was definitely the fajitas…
The vegan bolognese. One of the dishes that I’ve missed most since forgoing meat is pasta with a nice warm bolognese sauce, and I was overjoyed to find out that Pisticci makes a pretty amazing vegan rendition of it. Note that Pisticci is on the pricier side, and they charge a couple dollars extra for the vegan version, but if you’re looking to go out for a fancy treat with friends, Pisticci definitely brings the vibes and the flavor.
Location: Charm Thai Express
Charm Thai has mock duck pad see ew! I had never tried mock duck before, and when combined with Charm Thai’s brown sauce, the dish scratches a savory-sweet noodle itch that I get every so often. The dish is ~$12, but they’re pretty generous with the portion size, and if you’re wanting to order some delivery, Charm Thai has gotten my food to me in under 30 minutes every time, which is pretty incredible.
Caprese sandwich. The standby of any vegetarian in an Italian deli. This sandwich gets the job done, every time, without fail, and for that, we owe her a lot.
Garlic knots. These are pretty cheap (a dollar and change for three), and they definitely hit the spot when you just want some comforting, buttery bread. Honestly, there have been many nights when I’ve just gotten a large quantity of these for dinner. I didn’t need anything else.
Location: Oasis Jimma Juice Bar
All of the smoothies that I’ve tried since first going to Oasis last year have been super fresh, and they offer many different combinations, so there’s something for every palate. If you’re in desperate need of a dose of fruit (the dining halls will leave you high and dry), this juice bar will certainly satisfy you and prevent any looming scurvy. It’s an especially refreshing treat in the hotter summer months.
Veggie Nem and Veggie Steamed Moon Dumplings. Admittedly, Saiguette doesn’t have the widest array of vegetarian dishes, but everything that they have is absolutely delicious. I was excited to finally try it when it reopened post-pandemic, and it was so worth it! The perfect balance of freshness and spice, Saiguette’s veggie options will leave you satisfied, both in terms of fullness and flavor.
I’m Captain Obvious. But, I think DIG is underrated. It’s like “healthy” comfort food. And you get so much bang for your buck. Those bowls are giant. Split them over two lunches or a lunch and dinner deal. (Also, I think they take CC dining dollars.) They have so, so many vegetable options and they’re all delicious. I highly, highly recommend the mac and cheese, the mashed potatoes, the tofu, the broccoli, and the sweet potatoes. Highest of praise.
Location: Dos Toros
Impossible beef burrito/quesadilla/etc. This protein option is expensive but very worth it. The impossible beef is beautifully spicy, nothing like other bland fake meat I’ve had. Add toppings of your choice (may I suggest getting multiple sauces), and congratulations, you just got the best thing at Dos Toros.
Moroccan lentil soup. This soup fucks. Pret is pretty good with veggie options but this is hands down their finest work. It’s hearty, it’s staying, it restores your faith in yourself.
Sesame tofu noodles. Oh my god I love these noodles. The tofu is griddled and crispy and smoky and delicious, and you can get all kinds of yummy vegetable toppings like pickled cabbage and bean sprouts. Me (a vegetarian) and my roommate (a vegan) get these noodles easily once a week, sometimes more, depending on how protein-deficient we’re feeling.
Location: The Health Nuts (99th and Broadway)
This is like your grandmother’s health food store. They have raw chips and supplements and organic body wash. But, the real kicker for me is their juice bar. I’m an LA girlie with a Pressed subscription, so I have intimate knowledge of being swindled out of your money for a smoothie. If memory serves me correctly, The Health Nuts’ juice/smoothies are a bit cheaper than a juice bar. I got some fresh orange juice when half my suite was sick and I honestly think it saved me from the germs.
Fruits n veggies via Max Pixel